Financial Aid Initiatives

Cornell has implemented several financial aid initiatives as part of our commitment to provide need-based aid and make Cornell affordable for admitted students. 

Undocumented Undergraduate Applicant Initiative

As of fall 2021, all current and future enrolled undergraduate students who attended and graduated from a US high school without US citizenship, residency, or visa status are eligible for a Cornell financial aid package that matches their demonstrated financial need. All applicants attending and expecting to graduate from a US high school despite lacking citizenship, residency, or visa status will be evaluated as part of Cornell’s need-blind admission review alongside their US peers.

Parent Contribution Initiative

Families with a total family income of less than $60,000, and total assets of less than $100,000 (including primary home equity), will have no parent contribution. Total family income equals adjusted gross income for the tax year that we are looking at for financial aid purposes, plus any business or other losses, as well as any untaxed income. In cases of divorce or separation, we calculate total family income for each parent and add them together.

Low Debt Burden

Cornell guarantees that any family with a total income of less than $60,000, and total assets of less than $100,000 (including primary home equity), will have no parent contribution and no loans in the initial aid package.

Loans may be necessary for some families. Cornell makes initial offers of loan to a student based on their family’s income. The mean debt at graduation among Cornell students who borrow is less than $24,000 – substantially lower than the mean debt of $32,600 for all private college graduates.

For students who began studies at Cornell in Fall 2018 or after

Total Family Income Maximum Loan in Initial aid offer
Under $60,000 annually $0
Between $60,001 and $85,000 annually $2,500
Between $85,001 and $135,000 annually $5,000
Above $135,000 annually $7,500