Panthers Forward is a new model for reducing the burden of student debt while supporting student success. Launched by the University of Pittsburgh, this model involves reducing a participating student’s federal loan balance and connecting each student participant with Pitt alumni to offer a supportive professional development network. In return, participants are encouraged to “pay-it-forward” to the program after they graduate so that other students have an opportunity to receive the same kind of support.
The University, local communities and the general economy benefit when Pitt students and alumni have more financial freedom and stability. All contributions to the program will be reinvested to support future students of the program.
Students benefit in several ways. A few of these are:
1. They lower their overall debt burden, which can help strengthen their financial freedom and credit score.
2. After they graduate, they have the freedom to pick a monthly donation amount to Panthers Forward that works best for their current financial needs.
3. They gain access to a dedicated support network of Pitt alumni and exclusive events, such as to one-on-one coffee chats and larger professional development opportunities hosted by the University.
4. They learn firsthand the impact that giving can have in supporting someone’s future.
Each grant is capped at $5,000. If your federal loan is less than $5,000, then your grant amount will be for the balance of your loan. If your federal loan is more than $5,000, then your grant amount will be for up to $5,000 to offset some of your federal debt.
The award will go towards up to $5,000 of a participating student’s 2019-2020 federal loans. The University will disburse this award directly to the loan provider shortly after students graduate from Pitt.
We ask participants to consider making monthly donations once they graduate from Pitt. This will be done via a special Panthers Forward giving page on PittGiving, which will be made accessible to participating students once they have graduated.
Sustaining the program relies on participants honoring their monthly pledge. However, members of Panthers Forward can and should modify their monthly donation total to better align with their changing financial needs.
As part of the Panthers Forward experience, we have created an exclusive Panthers Forward Mentor Committee to connect with student participants to support their professional success. The Panthers Forward Mentor Committee will share their experiences, perspectives and advice with students in the program.