FAQ's

General

Q:           What is new in financial aid for 2017 -2018?

A:            We recommend that students remain informed of new requirements for the federal student aid programs. For the most recent changes that are in effect with the 2017-2018 school year,learn more HERE.

               For changes specific to Carnegie Mellon University and/ or the Heinz College, please visit The HUB’s website.  

Q:           How can I find out how much I borrowed while I was an undergraduate?

A:            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.

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Scholarships

Q:           How do I apply for scholarships?

A:            Scholarship consideration is given to every admitted student who indicate (within the application for admission) they want to be considered for merit-based scholarships. The Admission Committee reviews the information included within the application for admission to Heinz College to determine each student’s scholarship award. No separate application is needed unless otherwise stated in the scholarship's description.

Q:           How is the scholarship decision made?

A:            Scholarship decisions are made by an Admissions Committee based on information included in the application for admission.

Q:           When can I expect to see my scholarship post to my student account?

A:            Scholarships are posted to student accounts prior to the start of the semester for those students who are registered for classes. Scholarships are adjsted as tuition charges increase and/or decrease.

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Veterans Education Benefits

Q:           What benefit programs are offered by Veterans Affairs (VA)?

A:            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 their website.

Q:           How do I know if I am eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits?

A:            The VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, NY determines eligibility. If you are unsure about your eligibility for a program, you should apply for education benefits to receive an official decision.

Q:           How do I apply for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits?

A:            You 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.

Q:           Does Heinz College participate in the G. I. Bill program?

A:            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.

Q:           Does Heinz College participate in the Yellow Ribbon program?

A:            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.

Q:           How do I know if I am eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program?

A:            In order to be eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program, you must be Post-9/11 GI Bill 100% 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

Q:           How much will I receive towards my education costs?

A:            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.

Q:           Are Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits taxable?

A:            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.

Q:           Why haven’t my Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits been applied to my student account?

A:            Payment can vary depending on processing times at the VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, NY. To inquire about your current payment status, please call 1888-442-4551. 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 VA Certifying Official.  

Q:           What does the school need to certify my enrollment?

A:            The 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.

Q:           How do I change the school listed for my benefits?

A:            You can change your school choice by using the Veterans Online Application, VONAPP.

Q:           What do I do if I change my enrollment or enrollment status?

A:            You must notify the VA Certifying Official anytime you change your enrollment or enrollment status. Any change in your enrollment may affect your benefit eligibility.

Q:           Who can I contact for additional information?

A:          CMU Registrar's VA Email, uro-vaedbenefits@andrew.cmu.edu.

CMU School Certifying Official, Mike Danko, mdanko@andrew.cmu.edu, 412-268-8747.

Veterans Administration website, http://benefits.va.gov/gibill.

VA Student Info Line, 1-888-442-4551.

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Financial Aid Application, Loan Processing and Student Accounts

Related FAQ’s can be found on The HUB’s website.

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Federal Work Study

Q:           What is work study?

A:            Work study is a federal financial aid program that allows students to work at the Heinz College, or an approved off-campus employer, to earn money to help pay for education related expenses. Work study earnings are taxable.

Q:           How do I get a federal work study award?

A:            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

Q:           How do I know if I am eligible for a work study award?

A:            If you are eligible for a federal work study award it will be indicated on your financial aid award letter.

Q:           Do I automatically get a work study award every year?

A:            No, if you are eligible for a federal work study award it will be indicated on your financial aid award letter each year

Q:           How many hours per week can I work?

A:            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 anytime 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.

Q:           What if I cannot find a work study position?

A:            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.

Q:           Can I use my work study award for off-campus employment?

A:            Yes, work study jobs off-campus (outside of Heinz College) need to be community service oriented and 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 as soon as possible.

Q:           What forms do I need to complete for FCSWS?  What forms does my employer need to complete for FCSWS?

A:            Student- CLICK HERE

               Employer- CLICK HERE

Q:           What do I do if my job is not approved but my employer wants me to begin working?

A:            You should not begin working until your job is approved.

Q:           Is academic credit available for work study positions?

A:            Heinz students generally do not receive academic credit for work performed under the FWS program.

Q:           Is there any funding available from the school for summer work or internships outside of the FCSWS program?

A:            Heinz College students are encouraged to learn more about the Internship Opportunity Fund (IOF).

Q:           What if I do not earn my entire work study award?        

A:            Any unused award at the end of the award period will be lost.

Q:           Can I have more than one work study job?         

A:            While the Heinz College does not encourage its students to hold multiple work study positions at the same time, students may request permission to do so from the Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator. . In any case, it is not recommended for students to  work more than twelve hours in any week while classes are in session. This policy is in place to emphasize that academics come first and to provide that you do not exhaust your work study funding prior to the end of the award period.

Q:           How do I get paid?         

A:            You will be paid biweekly based on the hours submitted on your timesheet. The due date and payroll dates vary, so please refer to the payroll calendar.

Q:          What if I make a mistake on my timesheet?

A:           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.

Q:           Can federal work study earnings be directly deposited to my bank account?     

A:        Yes, please contact payroll services at 4516 Henry Street, UTDC Building (University Technology Development Center), phone:  (412) 268-2097

Q:           Is my paycheck taxable?              

A:            Yes, work study earnings are taxable. The amount of taxes deducted depends on the information submitted on your W-4 form.

Q:           How do I receive my W-2 form?              

A:            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 by e-mail at payroll@andrew.cmu.edu or by calling (412) 268-2097.

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Federal Work Study – Employer within Heinz College

Q:           How do I know what the student has left to earn of their award?

A:            Please contact the Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator.

Q:           How do students get paid?

A:            The students are paid bi-weekly through Carnegie Mellon University’s payroll system.

Q:           How do I post a Work Study job?

A:            Submit job description and contact information to Handshake, CMU’s job board. For more information please CLICK HERE.

Q:           Can a student work more than 10-12 hours a week, for example, during a school break?

A:            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.

Q:           Can a student work during a school break and be paid through the Federal Work Study program?

A:            Not unless the student is enrolled and has a work study award.

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Federal Community Service Work Study – Employer outside Heinz College

Q:           What is the benefit of hiring a Federal Community Service Work Study student?

A:            You receive the advantage of employing a graduate student and pay only 30% of the student’s per hour wage rate ($15 per hour effective Fall 2017), the government pays the remaining 70%.

Q:           How do I know what the student has left to earn of their award?

A:            Please contact the Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator.

Q:           How do students get paid?

A:            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.

Q:           How do I apply to have our job(s) considered for participation in the Federal Community Service Work Study program?

A:            Submit the required forms to the Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator. New forms are required each employment term and are available on our website.

Q:           How do I post a FCSWS job?

A:            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.

Q:           We are a community service organization, how much are we responsible to pay of the student’s wage rate?

A:            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 the Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator to discuss their options.

Q:           Can a student work more than 10-12 hours a week, for example, during a school break?

A:            If the student has sufficient funding and the employer approves it, the student may work up to 37.5 hours per week.

Q:           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?

A:            Yes, new forms are required for each student and employment term. Forms are available on our website.

Q:           Who do I contact regarding billing questions/concerns?

A:            The Heinz College’s Work Study Coordinator

Q:           If the timesheet is submitted late, when does the student get paid?

A:            The student’s timesheet will be processed on the next timesheet due date and be paid on the subsequent pay date.

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Debt Management and Financial Literacy

Related information can be found on The HUB’s website.

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