Drissa Diallo's penalty 10 minutes from time sealed a point for the Robins at Whaddon Road and meant the Cumbrians wasted a chance to make up ground on Brighton.
Cheltenham went into this match knowing nothing short of a victory would maintain their place in the division but the winning goal eluded them, despite Carlisle being reduced to nine men.
Ian Harte handed the visitors a 19th-minute lead with a glorious 20-yard free-kick but the Cumbrians then had Evan Horwood and Michael Bridges dismissed in the second period.
Cheltenham had plenty of chances to bag their vital winner in the closing stages with the impressive David Hutton going closest with a shot against the upright.
But the result left Cheltenham relegated and Carlisle waiting nervously for next weekend.