Newly Admitted Students
Now it’s important to receive and understand your financial aid package so that you can confidently accept Cornell’s offer of admission. The information below can help answer some of the questions you might have.
If you are admitted, you will receive one of the following notifications:
an aid decision outlining your financial aid eligibility, if you completed all financial aid requirements
an email indicating items are missing from your application for financial aid.
Read this page. By accepting Cornell’s offer of admission, you accept your financial aid offer. We have also created short videos to help explain some of the finer points of financial aid and student employment.
Talk with your family: You'll want to talk with your family about how your family contribution will be paid or financed. Explore financing options in the below section and complete our Financial Planner. You will be billed your fall charges in July, to be paid by August 7, and you will be billed spring charges in December, to be paid by January 7.
Watch for emails from us: We communicate primarily with you (the student) via email to your Cornell email address.
Click on the headings below to learn more information
Cost of Attendance and Family Contribution
The Estimated Cost of Attendance is the same as the Estimated Financial Aid Budget on your award. We use the on-campus double room rate for housing and the Bear Traditional meal plan rate for dining, regardless of where you are living or eating.
The cost of attendance includes $358 toward health-related costs.
Health insurance is mandatory at Cornell. Students with health insurance meeting Cornell’s standards will be charged a $358 Health Fee. If you do not have health insurance that meets Cornell’s standards, you will be charged for the Student Health Plan (SHP). You may request loan for the difference between the SHP cost and the $358 that is included in your cost of attendance.
The Parent Contribution is the amount we have calculated that your parents can contribute to your education for the 2017-18 academic year. This amount is based on multiple factors, including the number of people in your household, the number of children in your household enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree-seeking program, and your parents’ income and assets as reported on their federal income tax returns, the CSS PROFILE, and Non-Custodial PROFILE (if applicable).
The Student Contribution is a combination of a Summer Savings Expectation (SSE) and a Student Contribution from Assets (SCA). The SSE is the amount that Cornell expects you to earn and save during the summer before the academic year. The standard SSE amount for incoming freshman is $2,700. The SCA is a 25% contribution of the assets held in your name that were not earned and saved by you or your parents. In subsequent years, you will be expected to contribute the same amount, as long as your assets do not increase.
Financial Aid Awarded
The financial aid that we have awarded may include a combination of grants, employment, and student loans. Grants may include Cornell University grant, any state or federal grants for which you are eligible, and any outside scholarships you were awarded. These funds do not need to be repaid. Student loans will need to be repaid, generally after you graduate. The employment expectation is what we expect you to earn through work during the academic year and is addressed in more depth below.
New York State standardized award letter
New York State colleges and universities are required to provide a standardized financial aid award letter to all students receiving financial aid. The purpose of this letter is to provide information to prospective students on the total costs of an education, how much aid they will receive, and how much needs to be repaid. The letter also includes data regarding institutional performance in the areas of student access, degree completion, and post-graduation success.
If you have loans as part of your financial aid award, you will need to take action prior to the start of school to accept them. You will be receiving an email with further instructions when it is time to sign promissory notes and complete entrance counseling.
You are not required to accept the loans in your financial aid award. If you wish to decline any of your loans, you may do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and Cornell ID number with your response along with which loan(s) you wish to decline. This request must come from the student; parents cannot cancel student loans.
There are a wide variety of part-time jobs on the Cornell campus. Also, if you receive financial aid and are either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with financial need, you may be eligible for Federal Work-Study. Cornell doesn’t place students in jobs; students must conduct their own job searches. Our How to Find a Job video tutorial will give you more details. Learn more here and start planning today!
At Cornell, outside scholarships, grants, tuition benefits, crowd-sourced funds, VA benefits, and ROTC scholarships and stipends reduce the self-help component of your financial aid package (first loans, then work eligibility). If the amount you’re receiving in outside scholarship funding exceeds the amount of work and loan in your aid package, remaining outside scholarship funds will be used to reduce your Cornell grant funding.
Since outside awards are additional resources which reduce your need, they cannot be used to reduce the parent contribution or other expected family resources. We can adjust your aid package at any time of the year, and we encourage students to seek as many outside awards as possible. Please notify the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment of any outside awards you expect to receive. Find out more here and by watching our video tutorial about Outside Scholarships.
Financial aid appeal process
If there is new information that affects your family's ability to meet the expected family contribution, or if you think we may not have understood some aspect of your family's financial circumstances, you may request a reconsideration of your financial aid package. Additionally, if you receive a need-based aid offer from another Ivy League institution, Stanford, Duke, and/or MIT that is more favorable than Cornell’s, we welcome the opportunity to match their offer of financial aid. Download and submit the Appeal Application. Since we offer the best aid package we can based on the initial information we’ve been given, reconsideration is based on additional supporting documentation provided by your family. Learn more in our Filing an Appeal video.
You may be considering financing a portion of the family contribution. Below is an overview of potential resources that can assist with this. You are able to use multiple methods of financing.
- The Cornell Installment Plan (CIP): The installment plan allows you to pay your bursar-billed expenses in equal monthly installments. There are no interest or finance charges, but there is a small annual enrollment fee.
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan: The maximum amount first-year students may borrow is $5,500. A portion of this loan may already be included as part of the student's financial aid award. The interest rate will be fixed on July 1, 2017. The loan may be subsidized or unsubsidized, and the student will be awarded with the best possible type of loan based on federal eligibility.
- Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loan): Parents wishing to apply for a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loan) should complete the PLUS application. Processing of loans will begin around June 1.
- Alternative Lenders: Any Cornell undergraduate student may apply for an alternative loan through an outside lender to help cover educational expenses.
Admitted international or undocumented students
Cornell provides need-based financial aid to a limited number of admitted international students and undocumented students without DACA status. Selected students will receive an aid decision letter with their official acceptance packet.
Questions regarding international student financial aid should be directed to email@example.com.
Students with DACA status can find information about applying for aid here.
Speak with a financial aid counselor
Financial aid counselors are available to speak with students on a walk-in basis. Our regular walk-in hours are Monday-Friday from noon - 3:30pm. Our staff are also happy to assist students and families by phone, and our phone hours are Monday-Friday from 10:00am - 4:00pm.
In April each year, Cornell hosts admitted students on campus as part of Cornell Days celebrations and Diversity Hosting Month. During this time, our financial aid counselors welcome walk-in meetings (no appointment necessary) with students and families needing more information on their financial aid packages. Our walk-in hours in April are 9:00am - 3:00pm.