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Panther Parents Association
February 2017 Issue

Parent and Family Liaison's Message - Cabin Fever | Spring Career Fair | Internship HelpCareer HelpSurvey | Holiday Buses | Inclement Weather Policy |  The BridgeOCC Challenge - Leadership Development | Family Weekend 2017Summer Sessions Registration | Commencement Reflections | Pitt Advantage Grant | FAFSA: Step-by-Step | PittPay News | Did Ya Know? | Emergency Notifications | Save the Dates

Parent and Family Liaison's Message

Sandy's Message
Do you ever remember telling your student, "Go to your room!”  This winter, you may need to tell them to “Get OUT of your room!”   

Despite cloudy winter weather, PITT and Pittsburgh offer a wealth of opportunities for students to get out and enjoy their surroundings.  Inspire your Panther to get adequate amounts of exercise, and embrace winter.   Review these tips so that you can prepare for meaningful conversations if your student shows signs of “cabin fever.”  
  • Take advantage of Pitt’s new sports dome for recreation opportunities.
  • Take a Hike
  • Take a friend to PPG Place for ice-skating and hot chocolate (Hurray - it's closing soon!)
  • Check out the Student Events Calendar for a wealth of activities.     
  • Attend a free or reduced-cost cultural event through Pitt Arts!
  • It’s never too late to join a student organization – or start one! 
  • Experience exceptional artwork and horticulture, explore history, or dig for dinosaur bones at one of our local museums – FREE for students with a valid PITT ID.  
The weather forecast may call for clouds and cold, but we predict fun for Pitt students this winter!  

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know at 412-624-8548 or


Sandy Talbott
Parent and Family Liaison

Spring Career Fair
February 15 - 17

Career Prep Week
February 6 - 14 | WPU

Spring Career Fair
February 15, 16 & 17 | WPU  (exact date depends on student's major)

Advice for Students Looking for a Job or Internship 

Start now!
Advise your student to:
  • Research companies they are interested in. They'll make a better impression when they know what the company is doing and how they might fit in.
  • Be patient and persistent. Set aside time every week to check job and internship postings on Handshake, research employers in their field and send out resumes.
  • Tell everyone they know what type of job they are looking for, and follow up with every lead they are given. You never know who may have contacts that could lead them to the job or internship they want.

Help Us Help Students Find their Career Passion (and a Job!)

“I recall my college experience and how helpful it was to have professionals who encouraged and mentored me along my journey.  This was a great opportunity to repay their efforts and kindness to the next generation of professionals.  I even got to see my daughter at the event!” 
-Tommy W., recent Networking event attendee, and father of a Pitt student
The next Career Development and Placement Assistance Networking event is for students who are interested in Public Service, Human Services and Education careers.  If you are professionally employed in any of those fields and would like to encourage students by sharing your career experiences, please attend an on-campus networking event on Wednesday, February 22.  For additional details and to register, click here.


Please help us determine what information is most useful to parents and families by completing this survey!
Buses Home for the Holidays
Students can arrange for spring break transportation to many metropolitan locations.  Click here for details.
Pitt’s Inclement Weather Policy
Please read (and encourage your student to read) Pitt’s Policy on Extreme Weather Conditions. In individual circumstances, faculty may cancel individual classes.  Students should check syllabi for faculty contact information in case of cancellation.

The Bridge: College Prep and Leadership Academy

Your college-bound student can join us for a week-long summer program for high school leaders. They will have the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and learn more about the college application process! Register here.
Bridge flyer

Outside the Classroom Curriculum Challenge- Leadership Development

Julia Qian, | Graduate Intern | Office of Parent and Family Resources
What does it mean to be a leader? Why is leadership one of the most important skills that students should gain? How can parents facilitate student leadership? experience?   

From July 2016 through April 2017, the Office of Parent and Family Resources will feature Pitt’s Outside the Classroom Curriculum (OCC) program and discuss how your students can achieve each of the 10 goals. To complete the entire curriculum, receive the green OCC cords (combination of blue and gold!), and be recognized at the annual Honorary Society Induction Ceremony, students must complete 68 requirements. February is the month of Leadership Development. 
In order to achieve the Leadership goal area, students should fulfill at least six requirements below.
  • Complete leadership training for a minimum of 16 hours.
  • Attend three leadership workshops or seminars.
  • Serve in a leadership role for an organization (on or off campus), and reflect on the experience.
  • Hold a leadership position (elected or appointed) in an organization (on or off campus) and reflect on the experience.
Students can build networks through various student organizations and shadow positions that interest them.  Parents can support students’ quest to become leaders by encouraging them to visit the Office of Cross Cultural and Leadership Development (CCLD) on the sixth floor of the William Pitt Union. CCLD offers a variety of leadership programs ranging from personal to organizational to civic. From Emerging Leaders to the Hesselbein Global Academy, the office is committed to meeting your student leadership development needs.

Family Weekend 2017

Save the date now and make your plans to attend
Family Weekend, October 27-28, 2017.
More details to come soon!


Summer Sessions Registration

Summer Sessions registration begins February 13. There are many reasons for your student to take summer classes:
  • Take upper-level courses to complete their degree
  • Enroll in classes that fill quickly during the school year
  • Wrap up general education requirements
  • Focus on one class at a time to excel in tough courses
  • Pick up credits online
  • Choose a convenient session that works with summer plans
Learn more here.
Commencement Reflections from a Panther Parent Ambassador
By Deb Kraemer, '80 Electrical Engineering, Panther Parent Ambassador
Commencement is a time of celebration!  Read some reflections from a parent of two Pitt graduates and one soon-to-be graduate.  
As commencement approaches, so do a sea of emotions ranging from excitement and joy to relief, fear and confusion. Certainly, as parents, we are proud of our children and the milestone they have reached in graduation. But, as a seasoned Pitt parent, there is so much more to commencement than the emotion of the day. It is a time to look back and celebrate all that they have accomplished in the last few years. Clearly, we all have witnessed a transformation from the high school teenager to the college graduate that they are today. Most of us have watched our children become independent adults; either gradually throughout the past four years or what may have happened in an instant this semester! It is a special time. The relationship between parent and student molded into a heart-warming blend of parenthood, friendship, travel companion, and technical adviser. Take this time to really enjoy your relationship with your child.

My husband and I graduated from Pitt in 1980, neither of us attended graduation, much to our parents’ dismay. At the time, there was only the one University commencement ceremony and I was in a friend’s wedding that day, so we chose to skip commencement. Our parents never mentioned their desire for us to attend until years later.  We both would have attended commencement if we knew it was important to our parents. So, if you would appreciate attending the ceremony, please use our story and let your child know that it would please you. Most of us have had a hand in their support during their education so it is ok for you to make your wishes known! Please be prepared though, to accept their decision, either way. This is a time to celebrate!  Do not let your opinions hinder what your child has in mind for a perfect culmination of their studies at Pitt. Open communication and compromise is the key to find a mutually pleasing solution.
Since 1980, the University has grown in the number of ceremonies available for parents and students to attend which opens up many possibilities. Individual school ceremonies offer a smaller venue and a personalized ceremony where the students’ names are read and a (sample) ‘diploma’ is presented.  The University commencement is a beautiful celebration of all graduates and includes every school and discipline.

This year, as we close the chapter on being Pitt parents and we celebrate our daughter’s graduation (third Pitt student), I am happy that we have decided to attend all three of her possible ceremonies; Engineering, Bioengineering and Commencement at “The Pete.”  It may be a scheduling nightmare, but it will be worth it to us! Each celebration will be unique.

Prepare for high traffic, booked hotels and limited parking spaces…make plans today! Allow yourself twice as much time to get around as you normally would. Remember those move-in days four years ago and how busy Oakland was? Well, those freshmen are now graduating and there may be twice as many vehicles to accommodate families and guests. Try to look at all of it as part of the great experience to honor and support your child. Enjoy the moments, keep smiling, and don’t let the logistics of this special time interfere with the excitement and pride you are feeling for your student.

Commencement is not the end but the beginning of a new chapter in all of your lives. Keep it positive – for you and your child.  It doesn’t really matter if you don’t get the perfect seat, right? Isn’t every seat perfect since it is at the commencement to celebrate YOUR student?!  Also, remember that this may mark the last time you have to spend some time together; some students have accepted jobs in a different city.  Please keep this graduation time for happy thoughts, beautiful sentiments and special reminiscing.  Do not worry about parking, weather, and attire.  None of that is of greater importance than this time to spend with your son or daughter. Also, please make sure you record this special time and have fun with pictures of the graduate with the Pitt Panther statue, ‘Cathy’ (The Cathedral of Learning) and/or one of the stone University signs around campus. They may not be thrilled at the time of the photo shoot, but just a few weeks after commencement, they will appreciate photos so they so they can reflect on all of the late night study sessions, finals weeks, turning 21, favorite places to eat, study, and meetings with friends. The years your student spent learning and earning their degree included many life lessons as well! This is a time to celebrate and burst with pride! Congratulations to your Pitt Panther and to you too, Mom, Dad, and family!!

Pitt Advantage Grant

Students who complete the Outside the Classroom Curriculum OCC requirements are eligible to apply for the Pitt Advantage Grant.  This grant provides financial assistance for a study abroad experience, an unpaid internship or service learning project.  Check it out and encourage your student to participate!  March 1, 2017 application deadline!

FAFSA STEP-BY-STEP: News from the Financial Aid Office

Don’t forget to file your 2017/18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA!  

This year the FAFSA became available October 1, 2016. This is the first time in history that the form was available this early. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to apply by March 1, 2017 or earlier.  Please keep in mind that you will use your 2015 tax information. You will not be asked to use the 2016 tax information, so please be sure to review the questions carefully and report the 2015 tax information. If you can, please utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which is provided when completing the FAFSA.  A complete list of instructions is below.
The first step is to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application determines your eligibility for grants, loans, and work study. It must be completed every year. We do not require the CSS Profile Form at the University of Pittsburgh. If you are unable to meet the March 1, 2017 suggested filing date, you can still apply. However, full consideration will be given to those students who meet the suggested filing date.
 Steps to Apply for Financial Aid:
  1. Apply for or locate your FSA ID. The FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your applications. It will be used each year, so make sure to keep this in a safe place and do not share this information with anyone.
  2. Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  3. Review your Student Aid Report. Read your Student Aid Report for accuracy and to see if you have been selected for a process called verification. If you are selected for verification additional forms will be required before your financial aid can be finalized. The Financial Aid Office will notify the student of any additional information that may been needed. Student should review their Pitt Email on a regular basis.
  4. Manage your Financial Aid. Once you have completed your FAFSA information, the University of Pittsburgh will issue you an Award Notification
The Award Notification will advise you of the amount of financial aid you are being offered for the upcoming school year. New students to the University are issued a paper copy and an electronic copy and are expected to receive their award notifications at the beginning of February. Continuing students are issued the Award Notification electronically only and will begin to receive their award notifications after spring 2017 grades are reviewed. The Award Notification will allow the student to view the aid that is being offered. The student will need to take action to accept, reduce, or decline your aid. Grant and scholarship funds are automatically accepted. Loans and work-study funds will need to be accepted/reduced or declined. Please be sure to note that work-study funds are NOT subtracted directly from the bill.
  1. Notify Pitt Financial Aid about any other aid. If you are receiving non-University of Pittsburgh scholarships, fellowships, or other funding not listed on your Award Notification, please inform our office at or use the Information Update Form. This can result in changes to your financial aid package.
  2. Monitor your email account. Be sure to monitor your Pitt email account and your Student Portal. The majority of communications from our office will be emailed to students’ Pitt Email account.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office at: 412-624-7488 or

Education Tax Credit and PittPay News

2016 Form 1098T Available Online
IRS Form 1098T helps taxpayers determine if they qualify for an education tax credit or deduction on their federal tax return.  Students who consented to electronic delivery had access to their form very early in January and can continue to access it online to view or print it:  Visit, then select “Access My Record.”  Students who did not opt in to receive the form electronically were mailed a paper version in late January to their “home” address, but can now access the form online as well.  Receiving the form does not guarantee you are eligible for a federal tax credit or deduction.  The online IRS interactive tax assistant can help, or visit or consult with a tax professional.
Box 2 Reporting:  On the form, the University must report “payments received” in Box 1 or “amounts billed” in Box 2 for qualified tuition and related fees during calendar year 2016. The University reports “amounts billed” in Box 2, so Box 1 is intentionally left blank.  

The Student Payment Center is working hard to make your PittPAY experience more modern and streamlined. You will see significant improvements in April 2017 when the changes go live, including a mobile friendly format and self-service options to help families manage the student account more effectively. The Student Payment Center will communicate more about these changes over the next few months by emailing students at their email address.  Remind your student to share these notifications with you!

February 17th Payment Due Date
Please make sure spring term balances are paid in full by February 17th to avoid a $50 late fee and a financial hold that prevents your student from receiving grades and transcripts and registering for future terms. Authorized Payers can login to PittPAY to view Current Account Details to see if any spring term balance is due; students login from, then select PittPAY Login.

Did Ya Know? 

Did you know that you can access the electronic Parent and Family Resource guidebook anytime?  Additional parent resources like area restaurants, hotels, airport shuttle service, and more can also be found at

Emergency Notifications

Pitt has two main ways to notify our community of alerts including one for parents and families:
Emergency Notification System (ENS)
Students can register up to three third parties to receive emergency notifications by phone, email, or text here.
Crime Alerts
Users with a Pitt email address can sign up to receive text crime alerts.  Family members cannot receive crime alerts, however, they can view crime alerts, statistics, and other helpful information on the Pitt Police website.

Save the Dates 

The University of Pittsburgh
Division of Student Affairs 
Office of Parent and Family Resources
130 William Pitt Union
Pittsburgh, PA 15260 | 412-624-8548

Copyright © 2015 University of Pittsburgh, All rights reserved.

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