Access and Affordability

A university education is the instrument of social mobility and progressive social change—it can be life-changing for individuals and society. However, prospective students, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, sometimes simply cannot assemble the resources they need to give them an opportunity to access a great Pitt education. 

Ensuring access to—and affordability of—that education is a significant priority for the University and for Office of the Provost. The office is deeply committed to exploring new ways to address challenges and opportunities in allocating need-based financial aid and lowering student debt.

Pitt Success Pell Plus Program

In late February 2019, during her first year as provost, Ann Cudd promoted the launch of the Pitt Success Pell Match Program, a ground-breaking initiative to invest in students—both current students and prospective students across all five Pitt campuses—with the greatest need.

Today, through the Pitt Success Pell Program, students who qualify for the U.S. Department of Education’s Pell Grant program will see those federal funds matched, dollar for dollar, by the University. With the average Pell Grant award totaling $5,500, this match immediately reduces the total cost of a Pitt education for the roughly 5,700 qualifying students.

This not only makes a college education more accessible to eligible students from the start, but it also helps provide an avenue for students to focus their time on studies and University activities versus paid employment. And because it is a grant, it does not add to the burden of student loan debt after completing their degrees.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about eligibility and other aspects of the program at the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid's Pitt Success Pell Plus Program page.

Read news coverage of the launch and early milestones of the program, including the April 2023 Pittwire story "The Pitt Success program supported more than 1,000 students in the Class of 2023."

Provost Academy

As part of the Pitt Success Program, the provost also launched the Provost Academy, a new summer bridge program designed to set a student up for success in the first year. The Provost Academy strives to give students a head start on the learning environment at Pitt with a focus on making connections with university faculty, staff, and students through interesting academic projects and classroom learning, community field projects, resource/opportunity workshops, and evening social activities.

Through participation in the Provost Academy students will also become more familiar with the campus and the city of Pittsburgh, in addition to the academic climate.

Kessler Scholars Program

The Kessler Scholars Program at the University of Pittsburgh is part of the national Kessler Scholars Collaborative along with 15 other institutions. Together, these schools are transforming the undergraduate experience for first-generation college students. Students who join the Kessler Scholars Program are part of a powerful network of first-generation leaders, connected across multiple institutions throughout their undergraduate college experience and beyond.

TRIO McNair Scholars Program

The Pitt TRIO McNair Scholars Program, a grant funded program from the U.S. Department of Education, will provide a rich diversity of structured educational experiences that are designed to motivate, prepare, and support first-generation, limited-income, and underrepresented minority college students in their efforts to pursue postbaccalaureate degrees.

Student Success Hub

Coinciding with National First-Generation College Student Day in November 2022, the Student Success Hub was launched as a place where all students—but especially first-generation college students, students with limited income or Pell-eligible students, and underrepresented minority student populations—can find resources, programming, and advising to help them throughout their college career along with a network of campus collaborators willing to provide that help. Its mission is to eliminate equity gaps for at-promise students and build a campus where everyone can feel they belong.

University Educational Outreach Center

Launched January 2022, the University Educational Outreach Center (EOC) is dedicated to building more equitable pathways to college, including the potential to enroll at the University of Pittsburgh or other selective colleges and universities. Its mission is to serve as the epicenter for all University of Pittsburgh early academic outreach efforts. 

Pitt2Pitt Scholarship

The Pitt2Pitt Scholarship gives graduating Pitt undergraduates and Pitt alumni the opportunity to receive up to a $7,500 tuition scholarship per year when they enroll in a participating Pitt graduate or professional program. Eligible students are able to choose from the 80+ graduate and professional programs offering the Pitt2Pitt Scholarship, including flexible part-time, online, and hybrid options.

Provost’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship

The Provost’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship, formerly the Provost’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, provides dedicated time for research doctoral students (PhD or SJD) to focus full-time on finishing their dissertation during their last term of doctoral studies. The fellowship supports doctoral students who have exhausted existing sources of funding and anticipate completing their dissertation in the term in which they receive the fellowship.

Pitt's Fostering Independence Programming

Pitt is committed to helping former or current foster youth, starting with the application and financial aid process and then continuing to support their academic pursuits to ultimately lead to graduation. Pitt's Point of Contact, Stephanie Hoogendoorn, Director of Academic Affairs, can help students navigate existing services at Pitt’s five campuses and when needed, help locate additional resources. Reach out to Stephanie at or by phone at 412-383-5624 to find individual support.