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What Does It Cost to Attend Carnegie Mellon University?

Attending a prestigious private college comes with numerous benefits. Along with a robust alumni network, many of these schools boast impressive reputations both in the U.S. and abroad. Still, the high list price on schools like Carnegie Mellon University can be enough to dissuade students from applying.


As the parent of a college-bound high school student, it’s important that you consider all the options when determining what institution is ideal. Read on to learn about the variability of college pricing, along with what it really costs to attend Carnegie Mellon.


Want to learn what Carnegie Mellon University will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Carnegie Mellon University needs to know.

Why College Costs Are Highly Variable


When assessing college costs, families need to consider both list prices and net prices. Typically, private institutions like Carnegie Mellon University have high list prices that can deter students from applying. It’s important to remember that many private colleges boast large endowments that enable them to give out a significant amount of grant money. In this sense, students might pay the same amount of money or less money to attend a private school as they would a public university.


Instead of focusing on the price listed on the school website, do your homework to determine the average financial aid net price at your college of choice. You can find this number by adding up the value of local, state, and federal grants and scholarships and subtracting it from the school’s sticker price. The net price is far more important than the sticker price when making financial decisions about your education.


What Is the List Price at Carnegie Mellon University?


The list price of attending Carnegie Mellon University can easily scare off applicants. For the 2016-2017 academic year, the total cost for tuition, room, and board was $67,980. Because Carnegie Mellon is a private school, there’s no discount for in-state applicants. Still, most students don’t end up paying the list price. If your family has an annual income below $175,000 you probably won’t pay the sticker price for your degree.


What Is the Carnegie Mellon University Financial Aid Net Price?


Financial aid can help lower the price of your Carnegie Mellon education. For the 2016-2017 year, the financial aid net price was $58,671 per year.


What Is the Family Income-Based Cost of Attending Carnegie Mellon University?


Income level is the main factor in determining a student’s expected family contribution. Below are average net prices at Carnegie Mellon based on family salary:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $17,855
$30,001-$48,000 $18,849
$48,001-$75,000 $23,449
$75,001-$110,000 $29,792
$110,000 $46,883


How Much Merit Aid Do Carnegie Mellon University Students Receive?


If you’re set on receiving merit-based aid, Carnegie Mellon might not be the ideal choice. Carnegie Mellon doesn’t award merit scholarships, except for limited performance-based scholarships awarded by their School of Drama and School of Music, which are included in a student’s financial aid package.

How Many Carnegie Mellon University Students Take Out Loans?


Loans can help subsidize the cost of a college degree. Currently, 49% of Carnegie Mellon students take out loans to finance their education. The average student at this institution borrowed $3,778 over four years.


Ways to Save Money on College


Outside scholarships are a great way to minimize a student’s loan burden. Visit the Carnegie Mellon Scholarships & Grants page to learn about the types of funding available. Additionally, students may qualify for aid through the National Merit Scholarship program. Honoring the top 1 percent of PSAT test-takers, this program offers scholarships to around 15,000 students a year.


Students may also be able to reduce their financial burden by taking on a part-time job. Work-study positions allow students to earn money while also getting in some study time. If you don’t qualify for one of these roles on campus, think about finding a part-time position in Pittsburgh or the surrounding towns.


Student Outcomes at Carnegie Mellon University


When assessing colleges, be sure to consider student outcomes so you can determine whether you’ll get a solid return on your investment. For Carnegie Mellon, approximately 87% of students graduate in six years. And ten years out, the average Carnegie Mellon grad was earning $83,600 a year, suggesting the ROI at this school is relatively strong.


Local Area Cost Considerations


Pittsburgh boasts a number of attractions to keep students busy while earning their degrees, including the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Phipps Conservatory, and the Andy Warhol Museum. And with a cost of living index of 94.2, it’s slightly more affordable than the average U.S. city. Students planning to live off campus can expect to spend $824 for a one-bedroom rental, $1018 for a two-bedroom, and $1291 for a three-bedroom space.


Although the plethora of restaurants and retail establishments in Pittsburgh suggests students won’t have trouble finding part-time work, the pay might be on the low side. The state of Pennsylvania has a minimum hourly wage of just $7.25. Currently, the average salary in Pittsburgh is $53,654 a year.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.