Enrollment & Finances
Below are some resources to help you navigate your way through the beginning of your Carnegie Mellon education. If additional help is needed, please contact The HUB at firstname.lastname@example.org and an Assistant Director will answer your question or direct you to the appropriate office that can.
Course Planning & Registration
Plan Course Schedule
Prior to registration week, students may use the Plan Course Schedule tool in Student Information Online (SIO) to create proposed course schedules to share and discuss with their advisor.
Tuition & Fees
Health Insurance & Insurance Waivers
Carnegie Mellon requires that all students carry health insurance. University Health Services contracts with insurance companies to provide students with medical, dental and vision health insurance. For information regarding plans and premiums, please visit the University Health Services website. If students are already insured, they must submit a waiver to University Health Services. Waivers are subject to approval and must be returned to University Health Services by a certain deadline. Students can check to see if their waiver has been granted via Student Information Online by going to the 'Campus Life' tab.
University health insurance charges are included on student invoices and it is the student's responsibility to make sure these charges are paid by the due date on the invoice. Most departments do not pay health insurance fees for sponsored students. Students may set up a monthly payment plan administered through Tuition Management Systems in order to pay their health insurance charges. It is recommended a payment plan is set up in June before the start of the fall semester, as the first payment deadline is July 1, before the start of the fall term.
Any questions or concerns specifically related to health insurance should be directed to University Health Services at email@example.com.
Financial Aid Options
After discussing sponsorship and grant opportunities with their departments, eligible U.S. graduate students can look into federal loan options to help assist with unmet need. The Student Financial Services website contains in-depth information about graduate student financial assistance, including federal and private loan options, application procedures and deadlines for eligible graduate students. Federal loan funds are not available for international students. The majority of international students rely exclusively upon personal and family funds and/or departmental or outside sponsor funds to pay for the entire cost of graduate education.
Federal Aid Eligibility
A graduate student's federal aid eligibility is determined by a student's financial circumstances. While a student (and his/her spouse, if applicable) has the primary responsibility for paying for school, financial aid can bridge the gap between the total costs and the student's ability to pay.
Graduate Student Transition Loan
The Graduate Student Transition Loan is a no-interest, semester loan available to first-semester Carnegie Mellon graduate students only to assist with transitional expenses. GST loans may not exceed 75% of the student's monthly gross salary/stipend (exclusive of tuition). To obtain a GST Loan, students must contact their department to complete a transition loan form. An additional $25 processing fee will be deducted from the student's pay in semi-monthly equal installments each semester. Contact The HUB for more information. Note: Graduate students must receive tuition funding from their academic department in order to qualify for a transition loan.
Emergency Student Loans are made available through the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs. The Emergency Student Loan is an interest-free, emergency-based loan repayable within 30 days. Loans are available to enrolled students for academic supplies, medication, food or other unforeseeable circumstances. Students may apply for loans by stopping by the Office of Student Affairs or by calling 412-268-2075.
Billing & Payments
Student Account Invoices
Student account invoices are produced on the last day of each month. Students will receive an email notification from the Student Accounts Office when a new invoice has been produced and is ready for viewing on SIO. Payments for any new charges are due on the 15th of the next calendar month. Carnegie Mellon does not print and mail paper invoices.
Student Information Online (SIO)
Students can log in to SIO using their Andrew ID and password to view up-to-date student account information, enroll in Online Banking, invite a user to My Plaid Student, provide authorization for a third party to receive a copy of their student account invoice, and more.
Student Financial Obligations
Students are responsible for ensuring that all payments are made to the university by the due date shown on their invoice. Amounts not paid by the stated due date will accrue student account interest per the Student Financial Obligations. Interest will continue to accrue each month until the balance is paid in full.
Most departmentally sponsored students should expect that their department is in close communication with the Student Accounts Office regarding their sponsorship. If you have accrued interest and are expecting support from your department, please contact your department to ensure communication with the Student Accounts Office has occurred.
Externally sponsored students should complete the sponsor billing process by the semester invoice due date (Fall: August 15, Spring: January 15, Summer: May 15) so their student account does not accrue interest.
Monthly Payment Plan
Some graduate students take advantage of the monthly payment plan administered by Tuition Management Systems (TMS). The payment plan gives students the ability to pay amounts due to the university in convenient monthly installments. If a monthly payment plan is set up through TMS, contracted amounts will be credited to the appropriate semester invoice so the student's bill reflects any additional amount due. Learn more about the monthly payment plan.
Students are responsible for making all payments for charges they accrued before they enroll in a payment plan. Student accounts are credited with the full budget amount of the plan with the understanding that students will continue to send their monthly payments to TMS directly to satisfy their budget plan amount. Students should review their Student Account Activity and Student Account Invoices in SIO for accurate account information.
Departmentally & Externally Sponsored Students
Departmentally Supported Students
Departmentally supported students will receive monthly invoice statements even if they are supported by a department. Students are responsible for paying any charges/fees that appear on their invoice and are NOT supported by their department by the date on the invoice. All students will be held responsible for any accrued interest in their student accounts. More detailed information is available on the Student Financial Services website.
Externally Supported Students
Sponsors are outside parties, such as embassies, companies, and community agencies, who pay Carnegie Mellon directly for a student’s educational expenses upon receipt of an invoice, with funds that did not originate with the student. Sponsored students should ensure that charges/fees that are NOT supported by outside parties are paid by the stated due date on the invoice. All students will be held responsible for any accrued interest in their accounts. View more information about Sponsor Billing & Third-Party Payments.
Refunds & Disbursements
Refunds can only be initiated by the Student Accounts Office. If a student is enrolled in Online Banking and has selected the electronic refund option, the refund will be automatically deposited to the designated bank account within three business days. Otherwise, students are notified via email after a refund check is generated and available for pick up at The HUB. Learn more about enrolling in Online Banking.
During the fall and spring semesters, the Student Accounts Office automatically generates refund checks to enrolled students when their student account indicates a credit balance greater than $25. However, when the student's credit balance results from one of the following transactions, an individual review of the student's account is done before a refund is released:
- Receipt of employee remission of tuition or payroll deduction
- Sponsorship from a third party
Please be aware that Carnegie Mellon will not issue refunds from a student account if the monthly payment plan for any semester is overbudgeted. The payment plan should only be used to pay for CMU charges, such as tuition and fees, in installments. Living expenses not billed by CMU should not be included in a payment plan. Other payment arrangements for living expenses should be made.
Loan disbursement dates can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
Payroll & Tax Information
Most stipends and fellowships (with the exception of Tepper School) are processed via the CMUWorks Service Center. Students with stipends or fellowships will visit the CMUWorks Service Center in person to present required documents and complete an I-9 form regarding level of tax withholding.
For graduate students receiving stipends from an academic department, most stipends are not processed until late September in the Fall term and January in the Spring term. Students cannot rely on earnings for set-up costs such as groceries, rent and/or security deposits upon arrival.
Visit the CMUWorks Service Center website for detailed payroll information.
U.S. and foreign graduate students should be aware of federal, state and local taxes that may be withheld from the graduate student paycheck. Taxes which are withheld will deduct from the gross amount of the payment on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, effectively reducing the amount of "take home pay" in each paycheck. Students should plan accordingly.
Taxation is complex and will vary according to (1) the type of payment received, (2) residency status in the state (Pennsylvania for most), (3) nationality (tax treaties may apply to some foreign students), and (4) other factors (such as marriage status and/or dependants). Therefore, it is not possible to provide blanket information that will apply to all students.
To become informed, reference helpful websites for the main taxation agencies:
- IRS (US Internal Revenue Service)
- State of PA Dept of Revenue for Individuals
- City of Pittsburgh Dept of Revenue
The CMU Finance Division provides some guidance regarding non-qualified scholarships.
In January, CMUWorks Service Center (and all U.S. businesses) will mail a W-2 form, which outlines the payment totals, taxes withheld and other deductions that occurred in the previous calendar year.
Foreign students should investigate and understand tax treaty implications and use services provided by the Office of International Education in March and April of each year. CMUWorks also offers information for non-resident employees (i.e. foreign students).
U.S. Taxation Terms & Definitions
Wikipedia provides some good information including definitions on income, sales and property tax.
Living Arrangements & Expenses
While Housing Services offers on-campus housing to a limited number of graduate students, Pittsburgh has a variety of affordable housing options, friendly neighborhoods, and easily accessible public transportation. The Graduate Education Office provides links to assist students, who are seeking housing in the communities surrounding the university. Links to transportation and dining information are also provided for students who choose to take advantage of the various options available.
Start-Up Living Expenses Upon Arrival
Generally speaking, graduate students should arrive with enough money to cover all living expenses for the first two or three months - even if receiving a departmental stipend. Start-up living costs may include, but are not limited to, rent and security deposit (usually one or two months of rent), furniture, bedding and kitchen supplies, groceries and toiletries, rent insurance, school supplies, computer and textbooks, etc. These items will easily cost several thousand U.S. dollars. Students should plan to pay for these start up expenses from personal resources without support from the university.