Carnegie Mellon University

Financial Assistance Related to COVID-19

Federal CARES Act Relief Fund & Tartan Emergency Support Fund

Carnegie Mellon recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has created financial hardships for many students and families. We also realize that the breadth of such impacts may vary, and so whatever the situation, we want you to know that CMU is here to listen and to help however we can. This webpage is dedicated to providing information about emergency support for students and families who have experienced financial disruptions as a result of COVID-19. 

The university was allocated $5,735,086 from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to help mitigate financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of the allocated amount ($2,867,543) is available now to eligible CMU undergraduate and graduate students in the form of emergency grant aid that does not need to be repaid to the university. The second portion of money from the CARES Act will be available to the university later this year. Carnegie Mellon is committed to ensuring that the funding it receives from this federal initiative will be used to support students and student-facing activities during this challenging time.

The Tartan Emergency Support Fund (TESF) has been established through the generosity of alumni, friends of the university, Undergraduate Student Senate, Graduate Student Assembly, and student organizations to provide enrolled CMU students with emergency funds to assist with unforeseen expenses related to pandemic disruptions. 

CARES Act Relief Fund

CARES Act emergency grant aid is available to eligible CMU undergraduate, master's and doctoral students to cover expenses for housing, food, technology, health care, and child care. These funds, which are outside the financial aid that is usually offered by the university, will be given directly to eligible CMU students who complete the simple application process. Upon receipt and processing of applications, CARES grants of $250 to $1,000 will be awarded to students based on their degree level and previously demonstrated financial need. Students requiring additional support, including for technology needs, should reach out to their HUB liaison to discuss additional resources. 

Eligibility Requirements

Important Update: Effective June 17, the Department of Education requires students to be eligible for federal financial aid in order to receive CARES emergency grand aid.

CARES emergency grant aid will be awarded in accordance with federal, state and institutional rules and regulations. Carnegie Mellon will process applications from students who meet the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate, master's or doctoral students enrolled in a degree-seeking program at CMU in spring or summer 2020 (including those who graduated in May 2020)
  • Updated: Effective June 17, U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are eligible for federal financial aid as described in Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA). To verify your eligibility, Carnegie Mellon asks that you submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For more information on how to apply, see our financial aid application instructions for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Students who incurred expenditures related to housing, food, travel, technology, health care, and/or child care resulting from the COVID pandemic

Students who are not eligible for a CARES emergency grant will be considered for other sources of emergency funds, such as the Tartan Emergency Support Fund (TESF)

Tartan Emergency Support Fund (TESF)

The Tartan Emergency Support Fund was established through the generosity of alumni, friends of the university, Undergraduate Student Senate, Graduate Student Assembly, and student organizations to provide enrolled CMU students with emergency funds to assist with unforeseeable expenses related to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this fund is to cover unexpected circumstances needing immediate assistance, such as moving expenses, rent, food, medication, and other personal health and safety needs. Tuition costs are not eligible for TESF grants. The Tartan Emergency Support fund does not require repayment; however, students receiving these funds are responsible for any potential tax implications. This fund supplements the existing Emergency Student Loan (ESL) program administered by the Office of the Dean of Students. Both of these fund options will utilize the existing ESL form to receive and process requests. The ESL form is being used for student convenience allowing 24/7 submission and tracking of TESF requests.

Important Update: Beginning August 1, 2020

  • If you are not experiencing an immediate need (see above for details) and are eligible to apply and/or have applied for federal financial aid, you must first meet with your HUB Liaison to discuss your financial situation and total cost of attendance concerns (e.g., monthly expenses such as rent and utilities for the 2020-2021 Academic Year). Following this discussion, you may submit a TESF request and your HUB Liaison will contact the Office of the Dean of Students regarding any immediate needs that are COVID-19 related and eligible for TESF consideration.
  • Prior distribution of TESF grant funding will be considered should a student apply for future or repeat grants. Although we do not have a cap on funding per student, we are committed to preserving access to funds for students in need and may need to limit allocations.

To apply, either call the Office of the Dean of Students at 412-268-2075 to speak with a staff member or complete the online ESL application noting any COVID-19 specific impact.