International Student Emergency Fund

The International Student Emergency Fund provides emergency assistance to degree-seeking undergraduate, graduate, and professional international students with unexpected financial needs based on emergencies. 

Examples of Emergencies:

  • Medical emergencies or natural disasters impacting the student or student’s immediate family,
  • Victim of a crime or accident,
  • Loss of property or income,
  • Inability to obtain internships or travel freely due to unexpected events, outside the student’s control,
  • Other unanticipated educational expenses (beyond tuition or university fees)

The fund is not intended to cover the cost of tuition, but is instead meant to assist the student in need of finances to off-set living expenses, such as utilities, off-campus rent, food, medical care, etc.

Students who have obtained assistance from a similar fund in the past have expressed gratitude to Pitt for the assistance, such as:

  • “I feel really thankful to the International Student Emergency Assistance Fund Committee. I feel really blessed and encouraged to stay healthy and positive while experiencing the pandemic and social issues...Again, thank you so much for selecting me. I will use the fund wisely and re- turn my knowledge and skills to this community when I complete my education!”
  • “Thank you very much for the approving the emergency assistance fund. I really appreciate the assistance and the help during these tough times....Stay safe and healthy!”
  • "Thank you so so much. I can’t even explain how helpful the whole organization have been. I really feel blessed to be part of it. Please let me know how can I be useful in any form after the pandemic is over...It means a lot.”
  • “Thank you very much, really appreciate your help. Couldn’t be more proud of how the institution is helping students in this situation....Hail to Pitt!!”

History of the International Student Emergency Fund

The International Student Emergency Fund was created in 2023 to support international students through unexpected and dire challenges while they work to succeed at Pitt.  While this crucial program started in 2023 to take donations in an orchestrated fashion, it has been informally in existence for several years.

In the past, the Office of International Students used its own funding to support emergency needs of international students on an as-needed basis.

Then, in the summer of 2020, the University approved several large pots of money to be used for international students who were unable to travel home for the summer break. OIS led a committee to distribute those funds, both to undergraduate and to graduate students.

Later that year, during the winter holiday, OIS learned that quite a few students were concerned about food security over break when the Pitt Pantry was closed. At that time, they were able to officially set up a line item in the OIS budget to distribute small amounts of funding for food.

OIS Director Delo Blough said, “The account, until now, has been supported entirely through University funding, but we are aware that there is a much greater need than our budget can meet. Therefore, we are thrilled to be able to open it in this way. Hopefully, we will be able to see it grow over the next few years until we are able to provide a healthy response to those international students who are faced with unexpected emergency situations.”

Pitt Day of Giving

We hope you’ll be a part of Pitt Day of Giving and make your contribution to the ISEF today! Those with questions about the ISEF and/or international students in need of emergency funding should contact