Carnegie Mellon University

Financial Assistance Related to COVID-19

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds & 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 received Higher Education Emergency Relief Grant Funding (HEERF) through the U.S. federal government's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act or HEERF I), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA or HEERF II), and the American Rescue Plan (ARP or HEERF III) to help mitigate financial impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Portions of this funding are designated for awarding emergency grants to eligible students requiring financial assistance. These emergency grants are not considered taxable income and do not need to be repaid.

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. 

Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF)

The HEERF Programs make emergency grants available to assist eligible students with any component of their cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, technology, health care (including mental health care) and/or child care.

October 2021 Update. Due to an overwhelming response to our outreach at the beginning of the fall semester, the university is now awarding funds only to those students who have demonstrated exceptional financial need

Upon receipt and processing of applications, student emergency grants will be awarded to students based on their demonstrated financial need, degree level, or individual circumstance. In awarding HEERF emergency student grants, the university is required to prioritize emergency grants to students who have demonstrated exceptional need.

Students requiring additional financial assistance should reach out to their HUB liaison to discuss their specific needs. 

Effective May 24, 2021, eligibility for HEERF student emergency grants has been extended to all CMU students (including international and DACA students) who were enrolled on or after March 13, 2020, the date of declaration of the national emergency due to the coronavirus.

The HEERF Programs provide students with options to utilize their student emergency grants.

Students have the option to (1) apply student emergency grant aid to unpaid charges on their student account; or (2) receive a direct payment based on their student account refunding preferences. 

Students who elect to receive a direct payment are strongly urged to utilize electronic refunding. In doing so, they will have access to their grant aid up to 14 days faster than those receiving paper checks.

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 funding options use the Student Emergency Support Funding Request form to receive and process 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 2021-2022 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, complete the electronic Student Emergency Support Funding Request form noting any COVID-19 specific impact. Please call the Office of the Dean of Students at 412-268-2075 to speak with a staff member if you have questions or need assistance completing the form.