Panthers Forward FAQ

 If you have questions about the Panthers Forward program, please see the FAQs below. If you still have questions, contact us.

 About the Program

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.
Panthers Forward gives participating students a new way to help reduce the burden to student loan debt—no interest rates and no third-party companies involved.
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.
The Panthers Forward pledge is a non-contractual promise to contribute both money and time in a manner that helps sustain the program and offers equivalent opportunities to future participants.

 Application Questions

Applications for the 2020 Panthers Forward class are now closed. The 2020 Panthers Forward Class can be seen here.
No. Participants must have taken out a federal student loan to fund their senior year to be eligible for the program.
No. Participants must have taken out a federal subsidized or unsubsidized student loan in the 2019-2020 academic year to be eligible for Panthers Forward.
No. At this time, only full-time students can apply to the program.
No. Panthers Forward is only available to graduating seniors at the Pittsburgh campus.
The application period for the 2020 Panthers Forward class is now closed.
Eligible Panthers Forward participants must be:
  • On track to graduate in 2020.
  • Recipients of a 2019-2020 federal subsidized or unsubsidized loan to help finance their senior year.
  • Full-time students at the University’s Pittsburgh campus.
  • In good standing with the University.
  • Active and engaged members of the Pitt community.
After applications are submitted by interested students, they will be reviewed based on a comprehensive process, involving two separate review committees composed of Pitt staff and faculty members.

 Student Participation Questions

Participants are pledging to provide financial and community support to future Panthers Forward participants.
We hope to announce awardees by October 25.
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.
No. Students can only receive one Panthers Forward grant.
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.
Once accepted into the program, Panthers Forward participants are lifelong members.

 Getting Involved

We welcome any alumni interested in learning about opportunities to get involved in Panthers Forward to contact us.
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.
Yes. We are happy to receive contributions to the program. You can make gifts in an amount of your choice to support Panthers Forward through this link.
No. We welcome gifts from any friend of the Pitt community. You can make a gift through this link.


If you have read the website and still have questions, please send us a note via our contact us and someone from the Panthers Forward team will respond to you soon. .