International Student Emergency Assistance Fund

International Student Emergency Assistance Fund

The International Student Emergency Assistance Fund is a fund created especially to address the needs of international students due to COVID-19 interruptions in travel life. The health and safety of our Pitt community, particularly our students, is paramount. The fund, to be administered at the direction of the Provost, will be used to provide financial support for degree-seeking students of the University of Pittsburgh with unanticipated and insurmountable expenses related to COVID-19 emergency situations that have resulted in students facing financial hardship. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may apply for funds when they have exhausted all other available resources.

Expenses Covered by the Fund

Examples of emergency expenses to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical necessities
  • Food insecurity
  • Unexpected transportation and travel expenses
  • Utility bills 
  • Housing
  • Financial hardship due to loss of student or parent employment, or significant reduction of wages/hours. Financial hardship could include inability to pay rent and/or utilities, food insecurities, etc.
  • Up to $1500 may be requested

Expenses Not Covered by the Fund

  • Tuition and fees
  • Non-essential personal bills such as: credit card, cable, etc.
  • Parking tickets, library fines, or other expenses mistakenly incurred
  • Funds for the replacement of lost or stolen items

Eligibility Requirements

Any international Pitt student may apply for emergency funds. Each applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Experience an emergency, accident, illness, or other unforeseen event among the “covered” examples above
  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time, degree-seeking student
  • Be an international student on a non-immigrant student visa
  • First-time applicants will be given highest priority

Applicants must complete all questions in full and submit a justification and supporting documentation as the situation allows. Examples of supporting documentation include but are not limited to:

  • Documentation showing loss of employment or significant reduction of wages
  • Copy of apartment lease or other evidence to show expected housing costs
  • Copies of most recent utility bills (electricity, water, etc.) to show expected utility costs
  • Eviction notice or rental bills
  • Utility bills 
  • Medical bills

Application Process

Students in need of emergency financial assistance are encouraged to submit the application. Questions may be directed to
Completed applications are reviewed by members of the International Student Emergency Assistance Fund Advisory Committee that includes representatives from Student Affairs, the Office of Financial Aid, the Provost’s office and the Office of International Services. Applications will be reviewed once a week and a determination will be made and communicated within 24 hours of that review.  

The maximum emergency aid allocation to a student will be $1500. Payment will be distributed as soon as possible consistent with University policies and procedures. Students should set up direct deposit in PittPAY.

How Do I Sign Up for Direct Deposit (eRefunds)?

  1. Log onto PittPAY from the Student PittPay Login at
  2. Select the eRefund tab.
  3. Enter your bank routing and account information
  4. Once you save the information, you will receive a confirmation email from PittPAY. 

Students should be aware that emergency funding may create a taxable event that could require reporting to the IRS by the recipient.

Appeal Process

Students may re-apply to the fund 14 days after their original request if their request was denied and their circumstances have changed. In addition to re-submitting the application, students must provide additional details and documentation to augment the original request.