Financial Aid FAQs
SEE Below for RESPONSES TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT Financial Aid
What is new in financial aid for 2017-18?
We recommend that students remain informed of new requirements for the federal student aid programs. To learn more about the most recent changes that are in effect for the 2017-2018 academic year, click here. For changes specific to Carnegie Mellon University and/or Heinz College, please visit The HUB's website.
How can I find out how much I borrowed while I was an undergraduate?
You federal loan history can be found on the NSLDS website. You will need your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to view the information. If you do not know or have lost your FSA ID, visit here to retrieve it.
How do I apply for scholarships?
The Heinz College Office of Admissions gives scholarship consideration to every admitted student who indicates (within the application for admission) that they want to be considered for merit-based scholarships. The Admissions Committee reviews the information included within the application for admission to determine each student’s scholarship award. No separate application is needed unless otherwise stated in the scholarship's description.
How is the scholarship decision made?
Scholarship decisions are made by an Admissions Committee based on information included in the application for admission.
When can I expect to see my scholarship post to my student account?
Scholarships are posted to student accounts prior to the start of the semester for students who are registered for classes. Scholarships are adjusted as tuition charges increase and/or decrease.
What benefit programs are offered by Veterans Affairs (VA)?
The VA offers a number of programs to those who have served, as well as eligible survivors and dependents of veterans. A brief summary of each program can be found at the VA website.
How do I know if I am eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits?
The VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, New York determines eligibility. If you are unsure about your eligibility for a program, you should apply for education benefits to receive an official decision.
How do I apply for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits?
You can apply online by using the Veterans Online Application, VONAPP. You may also apply by contacting the VA at 1-888-GI BILL 1 (1-888-442-4551). The VA will provide you with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). When you receive the COE, provide a copy to CMU’s VA Certifying Official.
Does Heinz College participate in the G. I. Bill program?
Yes, Heinz College does participate in the G. I. Bill program. Students whose eligibility is determined by the VA as eligible to receive educational benefits can use those benefits while attending Heinz College.
Does Heinz College participate in the Yellow Ribbon program?
Yes, Heinz College does participate in the Yellow Ribbon program. Students whose eligibility is determined by the VA as eligible to receive Yellow Ribbon benefits can use those benefits while attending Heinz College. While the VA requires the school to place a cap on the number of students awarded Yellow Ribbon benefits, the cap at Heinz College is set high to afford as many students as possible Yellow Ribbon funding.
How do I know if I am eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program?
In order to be eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, you must be Post-9/11 G.I. Bill 100 percent eligible and:
- have served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of at least 36 months and were honorably discharged;
- were discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001; or
- are a dependent who received benefits transferred from an eligible Service Member
How much will I receive towards my education costs?
Veterans Affairs determines eligibility and payment amounts for most VA benefits. The Financial Aid Office determines the Yellow Ribbon program amounts using specific formulas. In some cases, all or most of the tuition and fees charged by the university could be covered through VA benefits and the Yellow Ribbon program.
Are Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits taxable?
No. Any veterans’ benefits paid under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should not be reported as income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You will not receive a W-2 from the VA.
Why haven’t my Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits been applied to my student account?
Payment can vary depending on processing times at the VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, New York. To inquire about your current payment status, please call 1-888-442-4551. If you have been approved for VA benefits, you will be assessed a penalty fee while waiting for payment from the VA. If you are not sure whether you have been approved, please contact the CMU VA Certifying Official.
What does the school need to certify my enrollment?
The CMU VA Certifying Official will need a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You must also be registered for the upcoming semester in which you expect to receive benefits.
How do I change the school listed for my benefits?
You can change your school choice by using the Veterans Online Application, VONAPP.
What do I do if I change my enrollment or enrollment status?
You must notify the CMU VA Certifying Official any time you change your enrollment or enrollment status. Any change in your enrollment may affect your benefit eligibility.
Who can I contact for additional information?
Related responses to frequently asked questions and additional information can be found on The HUB’s website.
What is work study?
Work study is a federal financial aid program that allows students to work at Heinz College or an approved off-campus employer to earn money to help pay for education-related expenses. Work study earnings are taxable.
How do I get a federal work study award?
In order to be considered for a work study award you must meet all of the following criteria:
- be eligible for Federal Financial Aid
- submit a FAFSA (Federal Application For Student Aid) for the academic year in which you are applying
How do I know if I am eligible for a work study award?
If you are eligible for a federal work study award, it will be indicated on your financial aid award letter.
Do I automatically get a work study award every year?
No. If you are eligible for a federal work study award, it will be indicated on your financial aid award letter each year.
How many hours per week can I work?
The amount of money that you earn cannot exceed your total award. You can calculate the number of hours you can work each week by following the instructions below:
- Step 1: Divide your total award by the hourly pay rate, and you will have your total available hours you may work for the academic year.
- Step 2: Divide this figure by the weeks you plan to work (for example, 32 weeks per academic year), and you will have the number of hours needed to earn your award.
Your award is broken into two semesters in order to help you budget your earnings.
Example (based on award amounts and hourly wages effective Fall 2017):
Total Award: $5,000, Award per semester: $2,500
Pay Rate: $15.00 per hour
$5,000 ÷ $15.00 = 333.3 hours
333.3 hours ÷ 32 weeks = approximately 10.4 hours per week in order to earn the total award.
You can use this formula any time during the year to calculate how many hours you need to work, or to determine if you need to adjust the amount of hours you are working so you do not exhaust your award prior to the end of the academic year.
What if I cannot find a work study position?
Heinz College makes employment under the FWS program reasonably accessible for all eligible students to the extent of available funds, and consults with nonprofit, government, and community‐based organizations to identify these opportunities. If you are unable to find a work study job, you may want to look at the variety of non-work study jobs also posted on Handshake, CMU’s jobs board.
Can I use my work study award for off-campus employment?
Yes. Work study jobs off campus (outside of Heinz College) need to be community service-oriented, and they require the employer to enter into a formal agreement with CMU. If you know an off-campus employer for which you want to work, contact our office to inquire about the Federal Community Service Work Study (FCSWS) program. The agreement may take several weeks to process, so it is best to begin the process as soon as possible.
What forms do I need to complete for FCSWS? What forms does my employer need to complete for FCSWS?
Required Student Forms:
Required Employer Forms and Materials:
- A detailed job description
- FCSWS Terms and Conditions
- FCSWS Hiring Form
- Verification of 501(C)3 status (if applicable)
- Required if the employer has never particiapted in CMU's FCSWS program
- Participation Acknowledgement Contract
- Once all other paperwork has been received, the employer will receive the Participation Acknowledgement Contract from the Heinz College Office of Financial Aid
What do I do if my job is not approved but my employer wants me to begin working?
You should not begin working until your job is approved.
Is academic credit available for work study positions?
Heinz College students generally do not receive academic credit for work performed under the FWS program.
Is there any funding available from the school for summer work or internships outside of the FCSWS program?
Heinz College students are encouraged to learn more about the Internship Opportunity Fund (IOF).
What if I do not earn my entire work study award?
Any unearned award at the end of the award period will be lost.
Can I have more than one work study job?
While Heinz College does not encourage its students to hold multiple work study positions simultaneously, students may request permission to do so from the Heinz College Work Study Coordinator. In any case, it is not recommended for students to work more than 12 hours in any week while classes are in session. This policy is in place to emphasize academics first, and to ensure that you do not exhaust your work study funding prior to the end of the award period.
How do I get paid?
You will be paid bi-weekly based on the hours submitted on your timesheet. The due date and payroll dates vary, so please refer to the payroll calendar.
What if I make a mistake on my timesheet?
You may edit your time on the Time Entry Calendar (via Workday) after submitting your time for the current pay period. You must submit your time again after you edit your time so that your Time Approver can see and approve your correction.
For previous pay periods, although not encouraged, the system does not limit you from editing your time within six months of the current date. However, your pay and tax witholdings may be affected from editing your time after you have already received payment.
Can federal work study earnings be directly deposited to my bank account?
Yes. Please contact payroll services at 4516 Henry Street, UTDC Building (University Technology Development Center), phone: 412-268-2097.
Is my paycheck taxable?
Yes, work study earnings are taxable. The amount of taxes deducted depends on the information submitted on your W-4 form.
How do I receive my W-2 form?
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) W-2 forms are mailed to employees in January each year. Questions regarding your CMU W-2 form should be directed to the payroll office via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 412-268-2097.
How do I apply for a work study award for the summer?
Please contact Heinz College's Work Study Coordinator for information on applying for a summer work study award.
How do I know what the student has left to earn of their award?
Please contact Heinz College's Work Study Coordinator for information on remaining work study earnings.
How do students get paid?
The students are paid bi-weekly through Carnegie Mellon University’s payroll system.
How do I post a work study job?
Submit a job description and contact information to Handshake, CMU’s job board. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Can a student work more than 10 to 12 hours a week, for example, during a school break?
If the student has sufficient funding and the employer approves it, the student may work additional hours. A student may NEVER work more than 40 hours per week.
Can a student work during a school break and be paid through the Federal Work Study program?
Not unless the student is enrolled and has a work study award.
What is the benefit of hiring a Federal Community Service Work Study student?
You receive the advantage of employing a graduate student and paying only 30 percent of the student’s per hour wage rate ($15 per hour effective Fall 2017). The government pays the remaining 70 percent.
How do I know what the student has left to earn of their award?
Please contact Heinz College's Work Study Coordinator.
How do students get paid?
The students are paid bi-weekly through Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) payroll system. In turn, CMU will bill the employer for the 30% non-federal share of the student’s wages. The student’s direct supervisor is responsible for the submission of the student’s timesheets to the Office of Financial Aid according to the FCSWS Bi-weekly Pay Schedule.
How do I apply to have our job(s) considered for participation in the Federal Community Service Work Study program?
Submit the required forms to Heinz College's Work Study Coordinator. New forms are required each employment term and are available on our website.
How do I post an FCSWS job?
You may advertise an available position(s) to our students by submitting a job description and company contact information to Handshake, CMU’s job board. For more information please CLICK HERE.
We are a community service organization. How much are we responsible to pay of the student’s wage rate?
Approved employers pay 30% of the student’s $12 per hour wage rate ($15 per hour effective Fall 2017). If the organization is unable to pay the non-federal share, they may contact Heinz College's Work Study Coordinator to discuss their options.
Can a student work more than 10-12 hours a week, for example, during a school break?
If the student has sufficient funding and the employer approves it, the student may work up to 37.5 hours per week.
Do I have to submit new forms for the FCSWS program each time a want to hire a new student for a new employment term?
Yes, new forms are required for each student and employment term. Forms are available on our website.
Who do I contact regarding billing questions/concerns?
Please contact Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator for information on remaining work study earnings.
If the timesheet is submitted late, when does the student get paid?
The student’s timesheet will be processed on the next timesheet due date and be paid on the subsequent pay date.
Related responses to frequently asked questions and additional information can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
Heinz College does not offer tuition waivers to master's students.
Heinz College Scholarships and Fellowships for International Students
International students do not need to submit a financial aid application in order to be considered for scholarships and fellowships from their program. These awards are made at the time of admission.
International students are eligible for consideration for any scholarship/fellowship, specific to their program of study, unless the scholarship/fellowship's description specifically states otherwise. Students are awarded scholarships/fellowships as part of the admissions process and are notified of the award amount, if any, in the letter of admission. Students are not reconsidered for additional financial aid after the original scholarship/fellowship has been awarded.
Common External Scholarships for International Students to Consider
- Fulbright Scholars
- Anne Wexler Master's Scholarships in Public Policy
- Ministry of Development - Government of Turkey
Searching and Applying for Other External Scholarships
You may want to consider researching additional ways of financing your education. Here are some useful resources to get started:
- External Fellowships and Scholarships- a great starting point for conducting a scholarship search
- CMU's Fellowships and Scholarships Office (FSO) - A vast number of external scholarships, fellowships, and educational opportunities are listed here
International students are eligible to apply for on-campus jobs once they arrive on campus for their first semester of study. A variety of opportunities are available on campus. It is not necessary to apply for employment prior to arriving on campus. The following are brief descriptions of a few of the types of positions an international student may apply for on campus:
Teaching Assistants (TA)
- International students may apply for TA positions for their final two semesters.
- TAs aid instructors by grading homework and exams, conducting review sessions and tutoring.
- TAs are paid hourly, $15 per hour and work approximately 10 hours per week. TAs are not awarded any tuition waivers.
- Both university policy and PA law require that all students who are nonnative English speakers must pass a screening test before they can work as TA's. For more information, please visit: http://www.cmu.edu/icc/testing/ITA/who_needs.shtml
Research Assistants (RA)
- International students may apply for RA positions once they have enrolled as full-time students in their program of study at Heinz
- RAs assist faculty in their reseach
- RAs are paid hourly, $15 per hour and work approximately 10 hours per week. RAs are not awarded any tuition waivers
International students are not eligible for work-study awards. However, short-term projects occasionally arise that provide international students with the opportunity to earn money during a semester.
Private Loans for International Students
Private education loans (also called alternative or non-federal education loans) may be available to students who do not qualify for federal loans, such as international students. International students are required to have a credit worthy cosigner who is a US citizen or permanent resident of the US.
The interest rates on private education loans may be variable or fixed and the credit requirements, loan terms, loan fees, applicable grace period, application requirements, in-school payment requirements, etc. vary from lender to lender. Eligible borrowers are always encouraged to review and understand the loan terms and compare those terms among a few different lenders when selecting the best option for their individual borrowing needs.
The maximum eligibility for private education loans is the average cost of attendance less financial aid from all sources. Individual lenders may have additional limits on the amount of alternative education loans that a student may borrow.
Students may choose any private education loan lender they wish. Students who need help in selecting a lender may refer to our Private Lender List. Our list includes only those lenders who disbursed loans to Carnegie Mellon University on behalf of a Heinz College student in any of the past 5 years.
Carnegie Mellon Tuition Payment Plan
The Carnegie Mellon Tuition Payment Plan allows students to pay amounts due to the university in manageable monthly installments and provides the convenience of enrolling and making payments online through Tuition Management Systems (TMS). Annual and semester plans are available for a low enrollment fee.