Welcome Newly Admitted Students!

Please review the following information about financial aid at Cornell. If you have any questions about the admissions’ process or your status as an admitted student, please email: applicant@cornell.edu

It’s important to review 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 have been admitted and applied for financial aid, 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.

International students receiving financial aid should refer to the Terms of International Scholar Awards page and email intl-finaid@cornell.edu with questions.

Next Steps

Accepting your aid offer: There is no need to accept institutional or federal grants. Admitted applicants that submit a deposit will be contacted in the spring with information detailing how to accept or decline their loans, complete Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Notes. We’ll be in touch!

Talk with your family: You'll want to talk with your family about how your family contribution will be paid or financed. You will be billed your fall charges in July, to be paid by August 7, and you will be billed spring charges in January, to be paid by February 7.

Watch for emails from us: We communicate primarily with you (the student) via email to your Cornell email address or, while an applicant, to the email supplied on your admissions/ FAFSA application. Common items for us to email students about include verifying sibling(s) enrollment in college, loan promissory notes and entrance counseling, and reapplying for aid for future years.

Read the information in the dropdown fields below. This page includes important details about your aid offer and resources for planning purposes. 


Click on the headings below to learn more information

Financial Aid at Cornell

This section will review the components of our equation of financial need:

Cost of Attendance - Family Contribution = Financial Need

Cost of Attendance

The Estimated Cost of Attendance is the same as the Estimated Financial Aid Budget on your offer. Cornell’s estimated cost of attendance is based on tuition, fees, housing, dining, books, supplies and personal items for a full-time student attending for both the fall and spring semesters. This cost depends on several factors, including which undergraduate college you apply to and if you are a New York state resident.

Note: we use the on-campus double room rate for housing and the Unlimited meal plan rate for dining, regardless of where you are living or eating.

The cost of attendance includes a health fee that is charged to all students.

Health insurance is mandatory at Cornell. Students with health insurance meeting Cornell’s standards who are approved for a waiver will be charged the Health Fee. If you do not have health insurance that meets Cornell’s standards, you will also be charged for the Student Health Plan (SHP). You may request a loan to cover the cost of SHP, but the health fee is already included in your cost of attendance.


Family Contribution Components

Parent Contribution

The Parent Contribution is the amount we have calculated that your parents can contribute to your education for the 2022-23 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 and the CSS PROFILE.

Student Contribution

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 students is typically $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

Cornell offers need-based financial aid, meaning that your financial aid is a reflection of your family's ability to pay. The financial aid that we have offered may include a combination of grants/outside scholarships, employment, and student loans.


Grants may include Cornell University grant, any state or federal grants for which you are eligible, and any outside scholarships that you reported. These funds do not need to be repaid.

Outside Scholarships

At Cornell, outside scholarships, grants, tuition benefits, VA benefits, and ROTC scholarships and stipends reduce the starting loan and work eligibility components of your financial aid package. These funds can also be used to replace Cornell’s standard summer savings expectation (SSE). If all of the starting loan and work in your financial aid offer is canceled and your summer savings expectation has been replaced, any remaining outside scholarship funds will reduce your Cornell Grant aid dollar for dollar.

Since outside awards are additional resources which help to meet your demonstrated financial need, they cannot be used to reduce the parent contribution or other expected family resources. Please notify the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment of any outside awards you expect to receive. Find out more about Outside Scholarships.


Student loans are a form of aid that you will need to repay, generally after you graduate. If you have loans as part of your financial aid offer, 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.

Work Opportunities

The employment expectation (either Federal Work Study or Employment Earnings Expectation) is what we expect you to earn through work during the academic year. There are a wide variety of part-time jobs on the Cornell campus. 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!

Financial Aid Appeal and Financing Options

Financial Aid Appeal

Cornell University releases financial aid offers that best reflects the information submitted in the financial aid application.  

If information you provided in your financial aid application has changed or if the information was submitted incorrectly, you may submit an appeal. The appeal application is not considered complete until all supporting documentation is provided.

Please be prepared to make your decision to deposit based on your original Financial Aid offer. Submitting a deposit to Cornell is making a commitment for four years. We want families to make the best informed decisions possible. Choosing to make a deposit based on the results of an appeal resulting from temporary job loss or temporary reduction to income may mean that you will be expected to contribute more in subsequent years of enrollment.

Examples of circumstances we will consider include:

  • Significant loss of income due to termination or change in employment
  • Unexpected life event
  • High medical, educational, or family expenses
  • Correction to income information reported on financial aid application

Note: we are unable to consider appeals based on circumstances that include but are not limited to:

  • High consumer debt
  • Personal Expenses (pets, cars, housekeepers, vacations, sports, etc.)
  • Fraternity or Sorority expenses
  • Expenses that have not yet occurred

If you received a need-based financial aid offer from another Ivy League institution, Stanford, Duke or MIT we will strive to calculate the same eligibility based on the information provided.  The components that we will evaluate are the parent contribution, student contribution, and initial offers of loan and work.

Please submit a copy of the official aid offer from the other institution directly to the Financial Aid Office. 

Cornell is unable to consider evaluating scholarship offers that are not from another Ivy League institution, Stanford, Duke or MIT or offers based on athletics and/or merit.

Note: International students who received financial aid and want to appeal the decision should email intl-finaid@cornell.edu. Current international students who received financial aid and want to appeal the decision should email finaid@cornell.edu. There is no appeal process for international students who were not selected to receive financial aid.

Appeal Application

Financing Options

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 offer. The interest rate will be fixed annually on July 1. The loan may be subsidized or unsubsidized, and the student will be offered the best possible type of loan based on federal eligibility.
  • Federal Parent Loan 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 Students

Cornell provides need-based financial aid to a limited number of admitted international students. Selected students will receive an aid decision letter with their official acceptance packet.

International students receiving financial aid should refer to the Terms of International Scholar Awards page and email intl-finaid@cornell.edu with questions.

Undocumented students should review our aid application requirements.

Resources and Contact Information

Speak with a Financial Aid Counselor

Our staff is happy to assist students and families by phone or email. Our phone hours are Tuesday-Thursday from 10:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. and 2:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. Our phone number is 607-255-5145 and our email is finaid@cornell.edu.

Financial Aid Glossary

Financial aid has its own language, and we realize that families experiencing the financial aid process are in an alphabet soup of new terms. Check out our Glossary to help with this learning process.


Further Resources

alt="Book Icon"

Glossary of Terms


alt="Closed Captioning Icon"

Video Tutorials