Carnegie Mellon University

Discover Pittsburgh.

Many of our graduate students live in off-campus houses and apartments in the many neighborhoods surrounding the university. Public transportation and university shuttle buses make nearby communities extremely accessible to the campus.

Considering Moving Off Campus?

Carnegie Mellon University encourages students to live on campus for their entire undergraduate journey, as we know that the residential experience significantly contributes to academic success, personal development, and graduating on time. At the same time, we recognize that some upper-class students chose to move off-campus. We hope the following resources will be helpful as you make your housing decisions for the next academic year.

This list of questions, as well as the On-Campus and Off-Campus Housing Checklist (pdf), can prevent you from incurring any unforeseen costs or from having any problems with your lease. Let us help you make the best housing decision for your next year of college!

Rent and Additional Costs

  • Is there an application or holding fee? If yes, what is the cost?
  • What utilities are included in the rent?
  • How much is the security deposit?
  • When is the rent due?


  • In case you plan to study abroad for part of the school year or summer, are variable lease options available (six, nine, or 12 months)?
  • Is individual lease liability offered?
  • How many people is this unit legally zoned for?
    In the city of Pittsburgh, it is illegal for more than three unrelated individuals to live together in a residential dwelling. 
  • Do you have a rental license on file with the city of Oakland?
  • Will I be able to sublet my unit in the summer or for study abroad?

Repairs and Maintenance

  • Will any repairs be made to the unit prior to move in?
  • How quickly do you make repairs when there is a work request or maintenance issue?
  • Do you take before and after pictures to help guarantee I get my security deposit back?


  • What type of security does the building offer?
  • What is offered for parking?
  • What appliances are provided and how old/new are they?
  • Who is responsible for yard maintenance and snow removal?
The cost of on-campus housing at CMU includes all utilities (gas, electric, water, etc.), amenities (fitness facilities, study space, practice rooms, convenience, etc.), and services (snow removal, cable and internet, cleaning, maintenance, campus security, etc.). This will not be the case with off-campus housing options. Use this checklist (pdf) to track additional costs for utilities and amenities beyond monthly rent.

The value of an on-campus residential experience cannot be understated. Learning, growing, and discovering take place outside of the classroom as much as it does inside one. At Carnegie Mellon University, Housing Services and Residential Education partner to create and deliver an extraordinary residential experience for our students, from robust programming for first-years, to traditions that make each housing community unique and special, to facilities and amenities that make the residential experience convenient and comfortable so that students can focus on being students. 

At the same time, we realize that the cost of a college education, including housing, adds up for both parents and students. Below is some cost comparison information we hope will be helpful when students are deciding where to live during the academic year and beyond.

CMU Housing Rates Compared to Other Universities

When compared to the average per semester housing rate of (1) Pittsburgh-based universities, (2) universities that share similar demographics (cost of living, urban setting, etc.), and (3) peer institutions across the country, Carnegie Mellon University is on par with its housing rates. Below is a side-by-side comparison of a couple of housing options:

Carnegie Mellon Rates Other Institutional Average Rates*
Prime Double Room $4,085 $4,471
Single $4,785 $4,688

* Other Institutional Average rates are compared to the 2015-2016 academic year rates of Carnegie Mellon's Peer Institutions.

CMU Housing Rates Compared to Off-Campus Housing Options

Carnegie Mellon offers a wide variety of housing options to students including prime and standard double rooms, suite-style, singles, apartments, and efficiencies. When compared to the average cost to live off campus in housing offered from management companies (over a nine-month period), Carnegie Mellon is not only competitive with its rates but also always includes utilities and a long list of other amenities, including the following:

  • all utilities, cable, and Internet
  • 24 hours a day campus patrol
  • a 24/7 community of support
  • fully furnished spaces
  • free shuttle and escort services
  • convenience to all academic buildings, the student center, and 34+ dining locations
  • laundry facilities
  • facility maintenance
  • access to practice rooms and community spaces
  • fitness facilities
  • janitorial services/cleaning
  • commuting via PAT transit

You can take a look at other off campus housing rates using our Off-Campus Housing website.

CMU Summer Housing Versus a Year-Long Lease

In most cases, off-campus housing options require students to sign a lease for a full year. Many students may not realize that they can live on Carnegie Mellon's campus during the summer months whether they are enrolled in classes or not and at a very discounted housing rate. 

Carnegie Mellon Summer Housing Rate
(a 12-week period)
Single $2,480 (or $827/month)
Double $1,840 (or $613/month)
Triple $1,600 (or $533/month)

When comparing on-campus summer housing costs to any off-campus option, the cost savings is quite significant.

Pittsburgh has a vibrant housing rental market due to the large number of colleges and universities located in the downtown and east areas of the city. Nearly all Carnegie Mellon graduate students live in off-campus apartments. Students are encouraged to start their housing searches as early as possible since the demand for housing in the communities surrounding Carnegie Mellon tends to be very high.

CMU Off-Campus Housing

CMU's Off-Campus Housing website allows anyone with an email address to browse listings. Many students have great success with finding housing from the companies and landlords on the Off-Campus Housing site. Please be aware that Carnegie Mellon does not visit or inspect any of the properties listed on the site.

As you prepare for your move to Pittsburgh, make sure to resolve or accommodate any existing obligations and anticipate new ones. You may find using a checklist helpful.

Some examples of things to consider:
  • Notify current landlord of lease termination
  • Schedule utilities to be shut off and paid
  • Submit change of address form to IRSDMV and USPS
  • Transfer car insurance to new address
  • Establish a budget
  • Visit Pittsburgh
  • Find an apartment in Pittsburgh (furnished/unfurnished)
  • Arrange for utilities and new service hookups
  • Establish moving dates
  • Recruit help as needed (friends, family, moving company)
  • Arrange for long-term storage as needed
  • Change voter registration and drivers license
  • Open new bank account in Pittsburgh
  • Obtain new renter's insurance
  • Consult available resources as needed*

* Keep a contact list and update it as needed

As you search for the right apartment, it is important to also consider information about utilities and residential services. This is one of the major differences between on-campus and off-campus housing; all utilities are included in the price of your room rate for on-campus housing.

The utility company that supplies utilities to your apartment or house depends on the area that you live in. You should ask your landlord or refer to the lease to determine which companies to contact.

Find out which services are included in the rental cost (paid by your landlord) and which are not (paid by you.) For utilities that are paid by you, you are responsible for setting up those utilities with the company and being there during the time of installation or set up.


Companies supplying electricity to residential customers in Pittsburgh:

Natural Gas

Ask your landlord which supplier serves your neighborhood:

Water and Sewage

Determined by neighborhood. Ask your landlord.

Garbage and Recycling

Determined by neighborhood. Ask your landlord.

Internet, Phone and TV

Competing companies provide Pittsburgh residents many options:

Most landlords and management companies in the Pittsburgh area require one-year leases for all of their properties and units. However, below are some companies who may be able to provide short-term or temporary housing options.

       Management Companies

       Short-term Rentals by Owner

Graduate Student Assembly and the Undergraduate Student Senate have partnered to offer all Carnegie Mellon undergraduate and graduate students free legal consultations. If you have legal questions regarding your current or future housing situation you can about signing up for a consultation on the Student Legal Consultation website.