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University of Pittsburgh Announces Program to Reduce Student Debt

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The University of Pittsburgh is taking steps to address concerns of increasing debt burden on students.

On Tuesday, the university announced Panthers Forward, a new program to support students for a successful career and reduce student loan debt.

The program will initially accommodate 150 seniors and will add up $5,000 to the participating federal student loan balance. The initiative will also provide participants with an exclusive access to the network of alumni-mentors who are dedicated to supporting their professional success.

“Panthers Forward injects some much-needed innovation into the stagnant landscape of higher education financing,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “It’s a bold new approach that utilizes a pay-it-forward philosophy and the power of community to position students at the University of Pittsburgh for lifelong success.”

The University has collaborated with Altian Education, a firm founded by the alumni, for the program’s launch.

“Panthers Forward is not something we’ve seen before,” said Pat O’Donnell, Altian Education co-founder. “It is taking one of the most pressing issues facing students today — college debt — and creating a new option that’s more financially flexible, collaborative and professionally focused.”

The program is open to full-time students, who have received a federal loan to finance their education. They must be graduating from the university in the spring of 2019.

Applications for the program are being accepted through October 31, 2018.

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