Bronze Panther statue with red flowers at its base
Features & Articles

Pitt to Extend Funding for COVID-Delayed Doctoral Students


For a number of doctoral students reliant on University funding as they complete their degrees, the challenges of pandemic life have come with a ticking clock as they near deadlines for that funding to run out, even as COVID-related restrictions, family challenges or health concerns have kept them from being able to finish research and writing.

Recognizing this situation, the University announced yesterday that PhD students who have passed their comprehensive exams and whose funding has run out will be eligible for an additional semester of support in academic year 2021-2022 through TA/TF/GSA/GSR appointments provided by their schools and departments. The extended funding will be available to all PhD students who meet the following five criteria:

  1. Have been delayed by COVID-19 pandemic-related issues (including, but not limited to, lack of access to labs, libraries or fieldwork; restrictions on human subjects research; restrictions on travel; interruption due to family or self-care responsibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  2. Have passed comprehensive exams
  3. Are making satisfactory academic progress
  4. Have been funded continually by appointments or fellowships for the past two years, not including summers
  5. Have exhausted their funding in spring 2021 or summer 2021.

Students who think they qualify are encouraged to learn more and to initiate their request for extended funding. Students will be asked to complete a short online form and describe how COVID-related factors have delayed their progress. The form will then require sign-off from the student’s advisor, department or program leadership, and dean’s office before being submitted to the Office of the Provost for processing.  The deadline to receive all signatures is May 20, 2021.

“Ensuring that our graduate students are able to complete their programs is central to the University’s mission,” said Amanda Godley, vice provost for graduate students. “The restrictions, inconveniences and anxieties of this past year have blocked progress for too many. By addressing this now, we can help them get back on track, at the same time as we also ensure that funding is available to support new cohorts of scholars who will join them.”