Living Off-Campus

If you live off-campus, your financial need is calculated exactly the same way as if you lived on-campus. The major difference is that the bursar will not charge you for your housing expenses. You will need to pay your housing expenses directly to your landlord, as outlined in your lease.

If your financial aid credits exceed your charges, you will receive a refund from the Office of the Bursar to assist you with off-campus living expenses. On the other hand, if your bursar charges exceed the financial aid credits, your family contribution will be used to pay off the Bursar charges, Cornell Card charges, and off-campus living expenses.

We encourage students who are living off-campus to create and stick to a budget for aid and expenses during the year by using this living off-campus budget worksheet.

What to consider when choosing to live off-campus:

  • Financial aid is calculated using the housing costs for an on-campus double room. If you are living off-campus, look for housing that costs less for 12 months than an on-campus double room.
  • Calculate all expected costs of off-campus living, including trash fees, cable/phone/internet (if you plan to subscribe, and utility costs.
  • If you are expecting to use your refund to help pay for rent, you may need to work closely with your landlord if Cornell's refund schedule is not matching your landlord's schedule.
  • Financial aid can't help with costs of securing future housing (i.e. security deposit, first/last month's rent), or covering rent during months that you are not a registered student.
  • The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment will not intercede in a mid-year attempt to break a campus housing contract or a lease.
  • Visit the Off Campus Housing Office website!

How will the money flow if I live off-campus?

Your Family Contribution will not change. Instead of paying your housing fees to the Bursar, you will be paying it to your landlord and any utility/trash/cable companies.

The following calculation to help you simulate your financial obligations if you live off-campus. Use your current semester's bursar billing statements (July or December), and remove any housing/dining charges that you are planning to cover by living and/or eating off-campus in the future.

Expenses on bill - Aid crediting to bill = $                 

Include in the expenses tuition, student activity fee, SHP or health fee, course fees. Don't include books or personal/travel expenses, as these aren't charged to your bill.

In the aid crediting figure, include all grant(s), scholarship(s), and loan(s), and don't include the work expectation in your aid award (Federal Work Study or Employment Earnings Expectation), as this amount is paid directly to you, not to your bill.

The resulting figure is either what you will owe to your bill, or a refund (if negative) that you could expect to use toward housing. Your Family Contribution for the semester will help you with remaining housing and other out-of-pocket expenses.