The 2024-2025 FAFSA is now live. Learn more about FAFSA Simplification changes, what you can expect, and the current timeline.
Carnegie Mellon will not begin receiving FAFSA records from Federal Student Aid until sometime in March. Therefore, if you have questions about your FAFSA, please contact Federal Student Aid directly.
Graduate Financial Aid Process
Meeting the cost of a graduate education is a significant investment; however, CMU is committed to making it financially possible for graduate students to enhance educational development and reach their career goals.
To apply for federal financial aid for the 2024-2025 academic year, follow the process below.
Timeline: Available January 1
Preferred Deadline: As soon as possible once it opens
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required if applying for federal financial aid programs, such as an Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan or Graduate PLUS Loan. Submitting the FAFSA as quickly as possible after it opens supports the timely delivery of financial aid offers and disbursement of aid as it allows financial aid staff time to collect and process any supporting documentation that may be required.
Receive Offer Letter
Timeline: June/July (if application is complete)
Once the student's application is complete and all required documents have been submitted, a financial aid package will be determined. The student will receive an email notification that a financial aid offer is available in their My Student Aid portal. If a student's circumstances change, then eligibility will be re-evaluated and the student will receive notification that a revised offer is available. Students may provide access permission for another individual to view their award letter through My Plaid Student (MPS).
Accept, Reduce or Decline Loans
Timeline: After offer is received
Deadline: Loan funds will not disburse until this is completed
In order for any financial aid funds (scholarships and/or loans) to disburse to a graduate student's account, the student must accept or decline all federal loans included in their financial aid award. The amount of awarded loan funds may also be decreased. This simple process can be completed in the financial aid portal via Student Information Online (SIO).
Complete MPN & Entrance Counseling
Timeline: After award letter is received
Deadline: Loan funds will not disburse until these are completed
All first-time Federal Direct Loan borrowers are required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete an online entrance counseling session. The session provides information about borrower rights and responsibilities. CMU is notified when a student has completed entrance counseling. Students who completed a federal entrance counseling session while at CMU, do not have to complete another one.
Apply for PLUS Loan (if Desired)
Timeline: After June 1
Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are available to graduate and professional students, allowing a graduate student to borrow on his/her own behalf up to the standard graduate cost of attendance less other aid received to assist with educational expenses. A Grad PLUS Loan is a non-need based loan provided by the Department of Education to creditworthy graduate students. Learn more.
Title IV Authorizations
Timeline: Following completion of MPN & Entrance Counseling
Students who are offered and/or receive Title IV funds (federal grants or federal loans) should complete Title IV Authorizations in SIO by selecting 'Financial Aid Permissions' under the 'Finances' tab. When the amount of Title IV funds is greater than the cost of tuition, fees, housing, and dining charges, the credit balance is refunded to the borrower. By completing their authorizations, students designate whether excess funds are held as payment for future semester charges or applied to non-institutional charges. Otherwise, excess Title IV funds are refunded directly to the borrower and any student account balance remaining will be due from the student.
Timeline: Financial aid funds disburse (or are applied to your student account) according to your semester of study or loan period
Grant and scholarship funds disburse as early as June 25 for the fall semester, November 25 for the spring semester, and March 25 for summer sessions.
Loan funds disburse as early as 10 days before the first day of class for the loan period. View loan disbursement dates. Keep in mind that the amount of federal loans credited to the student account will be less than the total amount borrowed due to origination fees.
Submitting Supporting Documents
If we are unable to finalize a student's financial aid offer due to needing additional documentation, a Financial Aid Alert email will be sent to the student requesting the required documents. Until the entire application process is completed and all required documents are submitted, our office may be unable to finalize a student's financial aid offer. Students may log in to their My Student Aid portal to view documents that have been received by our office. View instructions for submitting missing documents.
Teacher certification students at the graduate level should be aware that federal regulations classify them as a grade level 5 undergraduate student for Federal Direct Student Loan purposes. Teacher certification students are, however, considered a graduate student by Carnegie Mellon for academic purposes.
2023-2024 Financial Aid
If you're interested in applying for financial aid for the 2023-2024 academic year, follow these instructions.