Carnegie Mellon University

Spring 2021 Housing Considerations

  • The move-in period will occur from January 23 to 31, 2021. A 14-day modified self-quarantine period will be expected of all residential students upon arrival. While in modified quarantine, students may not attend events or classes on campus, or leave campus. Activities such as picking up food from a campus dining location or exercising outdoors will be permitted so long as physical distancing is maintained and (except in the case of outdoor exercise) a facial covering is worn. Learn more about the modified quarantine period for all students.
  • All bedrooms will be assigned as single-occupancy, with no more than four students sharing a bathroom fixture set.
  • All first-year students living in university housing are required to have a dining plan, regardless of whether or not their assigned space has a private kitchen. Given that the vast majority of upper-class residential students in spring 2021 will be assigned to apartments with private kitchens and off-campus hotels, there will not be a meal plan requirement for upper class students. However, to prevent spread of the virus, all common area kitchens will be closed throughout university and Greek housing. As such, upper-class students living in university accommodations without access to a kitchen are strongly encouraged to maintain some level of meal plan (though it is not a requirement). More information is available on the Dining section of this page.
  • All residential students will be required to take at least one test for COVID-19 during the modified quarantine period upon arrival. In conjunction with our university-wide testing strategy, residential students will likely be required to test regularly throughout the Spring semester. This is being required to prevent spread of the virus, especially among asymptomatic individuals.
  • Isolation housing will be required for any resident who becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, and quarantine housing will be required for any residential students who were in close contact with such a student during the previous 14 days. Isolation or quarantine housing will be required until a student is cleared by University Health Services, a time period that generally will be up to 14 days or longer depending on symptoms. Isolation housing provides a private bedroom/bathroom living space which a student must remain in at all times during the isolation period, meaning all engagement with university coursework will be done via remote learning. Meals will be delivered to the living space, and regular virtual support check-ins will be provided by University Health Services and Student Affairs staff.
  • You will be expected to follow all of the other expectations in “A Tartan’s Responsibility” as well as all of the community health mitigation strategies put in place by the university (including those outlined in this FAQ).
  • Move-out for the Spring semester must occur no later than noon on May 19, 2021, for non-graduating students, and noon on May 24, 2021, for graduating students. Summer housing will be available for students who seek it. Details regarding move-out and summer housing will be made available in April 2021.
Personal belongings should be limited in size and quantity in the case that a mid-semester move out is necessary due to changing conditions. Please only bring essential belongings that you can easily take with you at move-out. 

Please reference the list of acceptable and prohibited items in the residence halls.
A Welcome Kit will be in your room prior to your arrival which will include:

  • Two CMU branded facial coverings
  • Personal-size hand sanitizer
  • Personal-size anti-bacterial wipes
  • Thermometer
  • Giveaways
  • Information about Winter Welcome programs
  • Information about COVID mitigation expectations and resources

To rent a Microfridge, call 1-800-525-7307 or visit mymicrofridge.com. It costs $159.99 for the spring semester. Orders are on a first-come, first-serve basis so place your order as soon as you can.

Housing rates do not cover personal properties. Students should consider getting their own personal property insurance. National Student Services Inc. (NSSI) has been providing renter's insurance to Carnegie Mellon students for years. Get a quote through NSSI's website for full information on pricing or coverage. The university does not assume liability under any circumstances for a student's personal property, and students are strongly encouraged to have some form of personal property insurance.
In the unlikely event that a room needs a repair, place a work order request. If the request is an emergency, contact Service Response at 412-268-2910.

If you are locked out of your room, there are multiple ways to gain access. For residents in Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak, please see options 3 and 4.

  1. You can utilize the CBORD Mobile ID app to receive a six-digit temporary lock-out code. You must be near your lock and logged into the CMU-Secure WiFi on your mobile device to activate the app. Make sure you push the hashtag (#) button on the keypad before entering the six-digit code. Follow the instructions to download the app. This app can also be used to unlock the main entrance to your residence hall.
  2. If your phone is not available, visit the Access Housing website to acquire the one-time use temporary lock-out code.
  3. Call the Housing Services office (412-268-2139) at the Residence on Fifth Monday through Friday during business hours (8:30 am - 5 pm) to receive a temporary access code. For residents in Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak, please call to make an appointment to come to pick up a temporary key if you are locked out or have lost your original key. Do not come to the office for a temp key until you are instructed to do so.
  4. If no other options are available, contact University Police (412-268-2323) after hours for lock-out assistance.
If your lock does not display any lights when you press the # symbol, the batteries need to be replaced. Please call Housing Services office (412-268-2139) at the Residence on Fifth Monday through Friday during business hours (8:30 am - 5 pm). When the Housing office is closed, call the Service Response Center at 412-268-2910. Please be specific about what the lock pad is displaying when the service technician answers.

For more information on how to operate your lock, please visit the Housing Services access webpage.
Each room is single occupancy for Spring 2021, therefore, no bed lofting or de-lofting will be approved.
All on-campus housing rooms are set up for traditional capacity (i.e. singles, doubles, or triples occupancy), even though they are being assigned as single-occupancy rooms for the Spring 2021 semester.  Housing is unable to remove or store extra furniture; students are expected to keep all furniture within their bedroom or apartment.
For health and safety reasons, students will only have access to the building to which they are assigned.
Most lounges in Housing facilities will be available for use during the Spring semester, although the amount of furniture has been de-densified to promote physical distancing. Some of the other shared amenities, such as common kitchens, exercise rooms and makerspaces, will be closed. Students are asked to maintain social distancing at all times when in the lounges.
All mail and packages for campus housing residents must be addressed and sent to the individual's Student Mail Code (SMC) box. Mail and packages include anything sent through the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon Prime, etc. No mail or packages of any kind should be sent directly to the street address of the residence hall or apartment building. Housing Services bears no responsibility for the damage, theft, or removal of any packages that are sent directly to the building addresses. In order to ensure that your packages and mail are safe and secure, you must send it to your SMC code address.

All mail and packages should be addressed as follows:
Your Name
5032 Forbes Avenue
SMC ####
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Housing works with the FMCS division of Custodial Services to clean the residence halls (excluding Fairfax, Webster, Shady Oak and hotels which are leased buildings and cleaned by their respective management teams. They are required to meet CMU's level of cleaning expectations).

  • All buildings will be cleaned seven days a week by Custodial Services staff from 9 am until 7:30 pm. Custodial Services staff will also be doing enhanced daily cleaning of common restrooms and disinfecting high touch areas.
  • Traditional residence halls and Greek chapter houses will have communal bathrooms cleaned twice a day. Students in these spaces will be assigned to specific bathroom fixtures (sinks, toilets and showers). Students will be required to only use their assigned fixtures, which will be assigned upon move-in.
  • During the semester, the Custodial Services staff will conduct enhanced deep cleaning of common bathrooms and common spaces.
In an effort to mitigate in-person contact and support physical distancing, Custodial Services will not be cleaning private spaces after move-in. Students in semi-suites, suites, apartments and hotels will be required to clean their own private/semi-private bathrooms. Students should acquire bathroom cleaning supplies prior to arriving on-campus as Housing Services does not supply them for private spaces.
In an effort to mitigate in-person contact and to support physical distancing, Custodial Services will not be cleaning personal spaces after move-in. Students in semi-suites, suites, and apartments will be required to clean their own private/semi-private bathrooms. Students should acquire bathroom cleaning supplies prior to arriving on-campus as Housing Services does not supply them for private spaces.

Financial Considerations

Yes. Students living in suite, semi-suite, traditional, Greek and hotel housing will be charged the lowest common room rate, which is the traditional double rate of $4,605 per semester. Students living in an apartment will be charged the studio apartment double rate of $5,362 per semester, which is the lowest apartment rate in our system.

Housing contracts started January 27, 2021.  Any student who has an extenuating circumstances or who is leaving the university due to a leave of absence or withdrawing from the university should send an email with details regarding your situation to rmassign@andrew.cmu.edu.  Housing refunds for any student approved to be released from their housing contract will be prorated based on the day that the request was made or the date that student completely vacated the room.

It is our plan to maintain continuity of services throughout the semester. If conditions change, we will communicate with the relevant students and families about any changes to our operations, including financial considerations.

Dining Plan Requirement & Meals

Yes, all first-year students living in university housing are required to have a dining plan, regardless of whether or not their assigned space has a private kitchen. This requirement is in keeping with the university’s long-standing practice in support of the first-year experience. This includes first-year students who join a Greek organization, who can select either the Green, Blue or Red Traditional Meal Plan.
Given that the vast majority of upper-class residential students in the spring 2021 semester will be assigned to apartments with private kitchens and off-campus hotels, there will not be a dining plan requirement for upper-class students. However, to prevent the spread of the virus, all common area kitchens will be closed throughout university and Greek housing. As such, upper-class students living in university accommodations without access to a kitchen are strongly encouraged to maintain some level of dining plan (though it is not a requirement).

The available dining plans and associated costs may be found on the Dining Services website. First-year students may select from the Traditional Plans as indicated on the site. 

Upper-class and graduate students may select from the Traditional or Community Plans.

DineXtra is a declining balance program that is available to undergraduate and graduate students and can be used at any on-campus dining location, Entropy+ convenience store, on-campus vending machine or off-campus dining partner. These funds can be purchased at any time throughout the semester in addition to a dining plan or just as DineXtra alone.

All dining plans will be available for use at the time of move-in. Students will be able to use meal blocks, FLEX and DineXtra dollars at a select number of dining locations on campus prior to the start of classes

More information about dining locations and hours of operation is forthcoming. 

The Dining Portal will be closed from November 19, 2020 – January 16, 2021, at which time no changes to your dining plan can be made. The portal will re-open during the designated change period beginning January 16, through February 26, 2021, at 5:00 pm.

First-year students may change to the Green, Blue, or Red Traditional Dining Plans. If you are living in the Residence on Fifth, Margaret Morrison Apartments or Fifth Neville, you will have the option to change to the Yellow Traditional Dining Plan. You are permitted to increase to another Traditional Dining Plan at any time during the spring semester.

Upper-class and graduate students may change to any other meal plan (Traditional or Community) on or before 5:00 pm on February 26, 2021. Students are permitted to increase their Traditional or Community plan at any time during the semester.

If you decide not to live on campus and need to cancel your dining plan, please complete the Spring 2021 Dining Plan Cancellation FormPlease note that canceling your housing assignment does not cancel your dining plan.

Health and Safety Expectations and Mitigation

It is of key importance you familiarize yourself with these mitigation strategies and protocols that will be required of all residents living in university housing this spring.

A 14-day modified self-quarantine period will be expected of all residential students upon arrival.

While in modified quarantine, students may not attend events or classes on campus, or leave campus. Activities such as picking up food from a campus dining location or exercising outdoors will be permitted so long as physical distancing is maintained and (except in the case of outdoor exercise) a facial covering is worn. On-campus errands including getting supplies from the University Bookstore or packages from the Postal Services package window will be permitted with adherence to physical distancing and wearing a facial covering. Attendance at health care appointments, including those for COVID testing, is also acceptable so long as the university’s mitigation requirements are followed.

For the purposes of some limited opportunities for social interaction, first-year students will form a “pod” with members of their floor community.

Upperclass students should discuss their move-in plans with their suitemates or apartment mates to synchronize the timing of their arrival quarantine periods to the degree possible.

Learn more about the modified quarantine period for all students.

The move-in period will occur from January 23 to January 31. We are not able to grant exceptions for early arrivals in order to ensure a safe, structured and appropriately-staffed move in process and in order to ensure that the residence halls have been fully cleaned and reset following Fall move-out and Winter Break.

The hybrid-learning approach allows for residential students to participate fully in classes using remote technology until their modified quarantine period on arrival is complete. Further, as was the case in the Fall semester, all courses will be taught as remote only for the first two weeks of classes beginning February 1.

Residential students will be required to complete daily symptom tracking, be evaluated if symptomatic, and participate in weekly asymptomatic Tartan Testing beginning in February 2021, contact tracing and surveillance as required by the university.

Residential students will be required to have the influenza vaccine and will be encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine, once available.

Face coverings must be worn at all times outside of private rooms in the residence halls. Residents will be encouraged to limit entering personal spaces of other residents and expected to engage in the recommended practices of self-hygiene and physical distancing in all residential spaces.

All common-area kitchens will be closed. Some amenity spaces (e.g. makerspaces, fitness rooms, computer labs, recreation rooms) will be closed; we have been in consultation with experts in determining which spaces can be safely maintained and which will be closed. Furniture in common spaces will be reduced and arranged to support physical distancing.

In general, gatherings (including RA programs) in social spaces will be limited and otherwise moved to remote delivery. The university empanelled a working group that included representation from Residential Education and Housing Services to create guidelines and expectations for student gatherings and programs campus-wide, and our strategy comports with those guidelines.

Isolation housing will be required for any student who becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, and quarantine housing will be required for any residential students who were in close contact with such a student during the previous 14 days.

Isolation or quarantine housing will be required until a student is cleared by University Health Services, a time period that generally will be up to 14 days or longer depending on symptoms.

Isolation housing provides a private bedroom/bathroom living space which a student must remain in at all times during the isolation period, meaning all engagement with university coursework will be done via remote learning. Meals will be delivered to the living space, and regular virtual support check-ins will be provided by University Health Services and Student Affairs staff.

With the exception of spring move-in (one helper), guests and visitors will not be permitted in housing facilities (including private rooms and community spaces such as lounges) as a means to mitigate community spread. Guests are defined as any persons not assigned to your same house community. This means that parents, family and friends – including other Carnegie Mellon students and residents outside of your assigned building – will not be permitted as guests during the Spring semester.

Housing works with the FMCS division of Custodial Services to clean the residence halls (excluding Fairfax, Webster, and Shady Oak which are leased buildings and cleaned by their respective management teams. They are required to meet CMU's level of cleaning expectations).

  • All buildings will be cleaned seven days a week by Custodial Services staff from 9 am until 7:30 pm. Custodial Services staff will also be doing enhanced daily cleaning of common restrooms and disinfecting high touch areas.
  • Traditional residence halls and Greek chapter houses will have the communal bathrooms cleaned twice a day. Students in these spaces will be assigned to specific bathroom fixtures (sinks, toilets and showers). Students will be required to only use their assigned fixtures, which will be assigned upon move-in.
  • During the semester, the Custodial Services staff will conduct enhanced deep cleaning of common bathrooms and common spaces.

In effort to mitigate in-person contact and support physical distancing, Custodial Services will not be cleaning private spaces after move-in. Students in semi-suites, suites, apartments and hotels will be required to clean their own private/semi-private bathrooms. Students should acquire bathroom cleaning supplies prior to arriving on-campus as Housing Services does not supply them for private spaces.

2020-21 Housing Availability

There is limited availability for residents to live on-campus. Interested individuals should email rmassign@andrew.cmu.edu to inquire.