Moving to Pittsburgh
When to move to Pittsburgh
We recommend that students are moved-in and settled in Pittsburgh prior to the beginning of the mandatory Heinz orientation. The Heinz orientation schedule does not allow time for "moving-in" activities as we expect all students will be settled prior to the start of Heinz Orientation. We encourage you to move in one week prior to the start of Heinz Orientaiton.
Students attending summer programs (such as ACC or QSSP) are encouraged to settle in to Pittsburgh at least a few days prior to the start of their summer program.
Moving in the summer?
Moving to Pittsburgh in the summer? You may want to consider subletting an apartment for a short term before signing a one year lease. This option gives you the opportunity to get to know campus and the area, and spend more time researching where to live. There are great opportunities for you to sublet a current Heinz student apartment over the summer as they complete summer internships in other cities. Current students post sublet opportunities on the Heinz College Housing Facebook page.
The University does not provide on-campus housing specifically for graduate students. However, there are sometimes undergraduate dorm rooms available for graduate students. This will depend entirely upon the undergraduate-population. The rooms are in a standard dorm-style setting. There are no private rooms, and famililes are not able to stay in the dorm. You will find details on the Graduate Student housing page. Please direct any questions to the Housing Office directly. Even with this as an option, only a very small percentage of Heinz students stayed on campus in the 2017 school year.
Choosing an Apartment
The majority of graduate students live off-campus in an apartment, with some students sharing a house off-campus. The city of Pittsburgh offers safe, affordable housing very close to the University. In fact, the majority of students live (very affordably) in the neighboring, upscale town of Shadyside. Each year we survey current Heinz students to bring you the most up-to-date information on where to live, and how much you should expect to pay.
Moving to Pittsburgh with children?
Carnegie Mellon University supports students and their families. We've compiled a list of relevant University-offered benefits, information about child care, and resources helpful to parents and families. Please click here for the resources: https://www.cmu.edu/graduate/current-grad-students/graduate-partners-spouses-families/graduate-students-with-children/
Heinz College Student Housing Survey
The information below was compiled following a survey of current Heinz College students in January of 2017. Percentages (%) are based on the survey responses.
- 36% visited Pittsburgh at least once
- 24% never saw Pittsburgh prior to joining Heinz
- 22% never saw the USA prior to joining Heinz
- 13% lived in Pittsburgh prior to joining Heinz
- 5% grew up in the Pittsburgh area
- 30% four months ahead
- 24% three months ahead
- 19% two months ahead
- 10% one month ahead
- 10% already lived in Pittsburgh
- 4% after arriving for Orientation (not recommended)
Only 41% of Heinz students have a car with them in Pittsburgh.
Public transportation options to/from campus include:
Above services are FREE of charge with your CMU ID card.
If you don't plan to have a vehicle with you on campus, please be sure to review the service maps and schedules above. Service varies in many areas of the neighborhoods we have recommended.
Only 3% of Heinz students who have a car also have a campus parking permit.
If you would like to park on campus on a regular basis, you must request a parking permit very early in your process of relocating to Pittsburgh. (Due to limited available on-campus parking, not all students who request a permit will be able to obtain a permit.) Open parking enrollment for the fall semester begins in April and often closes prior to May 1. Permit parking costs vary depending upon lot availability. The average cost is $124 per month. Updated information on permit costs and application deadlines is available on the Parking & Transportation services home page. (Those interested in a summer parking pass should contact Parking Services directly as soon as possible.)
Unless you purchase a Carnegie Mellon parking permit, parking on campus is extremely limited between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. For more information on "pay as you park" options, please visit the CMU Parking & Transportation's Visitor Information page.
- 52% City Bus (PAT transit)
- 25% Walk
- 11% CMU Shuttle/Escort
- 8% Drive
- 4% Bike
The City of Pittsburgh consists of several neighborhoods. We recommend that students live in the Shadyside, Squirrel Hill or Oakland neighborhoods, respectively. This recommendation is based on the safety of these neighborhoods, their proximity to campus, and the recommendation of current students.
66% of current Heinz College students share living expenses with a roommate(s). Below is the breakdown of how they met:
- 28% Knew them previously
- 24% Online groups not managed by Heinz College
- 12% Heinz College Facebook pages
- 10% Craigslist
- 8% Heinz Admitted Student Weekend
- 18% Other
- 33% used Craigslist
- 14% visited Pittsburgh to search for apartments in person
- 12% connected with current Heinz College students
- 11% asked people they knew in Pittsburgh
- 7% used Heinz College Facebook pages
- 4% used the CMU Housing Registry
Additional Resources (5% used these methods)
- Apartment Finder
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If you need assistance in your apartment hunt, the CMU Community Housing staff is happy to assist you. They can be reached via CMU Housing Services on Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST at 412-268-2139.
The list below should not be considered a complete listing. CMU does not endorse the companies below. These were provided by current Heinz students and all listings should be investigated accordingly.
- Amore Management
- Arbors Management
- Equity Real Estate
- Forbes Management
- Kamin Realty
- Lobos Management
- Meyers Management
- Mozart Management
- Rockwel Realty
- Sterling Land Company
- Walnut Capital
Companies where students have experienced problems:
Although we do not endorse the above companies, we receive feedback from our current students that we feel obligated to share with our incoming students. The following management company has been given very poor reviews from our students. Our current students suggest that you do not rent from this company:
Specifically, a Heinz College student had a negative experience in Forward's Alderson Apartment Building in the fall of 2016. Although the apartment was reasonably priced, the condition of the apartment and response from management was not acceptable. You can search the Pittsburgh apartment Yelp reviews to see more feedback regarding this company.
Before renting, check for reviews about your potential landlord/leasing company on Yelp. This link is a good place to start: https://www.yelp.com/c/pittsburgh/apartments
Carnegie Mellon University supports students and their families. We've compiled a list of relevant University-offered benefits, information about child care, and resources helpful to parents and families. Please click here for the resources: http://www.cmu.edu/hr/family-child-care/index.html
Every rental property will determine which utilities they include in the rent. Be sure to ask!
Common utilities included in the rent:
- Garbage pick-up
- Heat: We recommend that you choose an apartment that includes heat with the rent. Paying to heat an apartment in the winter can be a costly additional expense:
Common utilities not included in the rent:
- Air conditioning
- Cable television
- Cooking gas
- Internet service
- Phone service
It will be your responsibility to contact each utility company to activate and arrange payment for services not included in the rent. Companies that service your neighborhood vary, so ask the rental agency for the name of the appropriate company for each respective utility.
Additional Information for International Students
The Office of International Education is a great resource for our International students who are navigating the apartment rental process in the U.S for the first time. We have included the most popular links on their webpage below.
- 61% found prior to arrival in Pittsburgh*
- 17% were in Pittsburgh for 1 - 3 days
- 7% were in Pittsburgh for 4 - 6 days
- 5% were in Pittsburgh for 7 - 10 days
- 4% were in Pittsburgh for 11 - 15 days
- 6% were in Pittsburgh for 16 - 30 days
- 2% were in Pittsburgh for 31 + days
*We do not reccomend signing a lease prior to inspection of the property by yourself or your roommate(s).
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