Financial Aid

Financial Aid – An Introduction

A Cornell education is more than a degree; it’s the foundation for a successful future. Cornell students define and refine their unique journeys as they create and curate knowledge for the greater good. From the moment you decide to come to Cornell, you join a diverse community of more than 250,000 members of the Cornell Big Red family, who are working, teaching and engaging in every corner of the world. Access to this network starts the second you set foot on campus and lasts a lifetime. 

Since its founding, Cornell University has supported access and opportunity for students regardless of their economic circumstances. Because of this commitment, Cornell is one of the most socioeconomically diverse universities in the United States. As a member of the Ivy League, we award financial aid on the basis of demonstrated need rather than on merit or talent, and we are proud of our generous financial aid programs that help students and families turn the dream of a Cornell education into reality. 

More students than ever are able to graduate from Cornell with little to no debt, and about half of all undergraduate students receive substantial financial aid in the form of Cornell grants – money that does not need to be repaid. After factoring in funding awarded through grants and work-study programs, the cost of a Cornell education may be less than you would expect. And, in many cases, families qualify for no or reduced loans, too. 

Investing in a Cornell education will be one of the best decisions that a family can make and we encourage you to explore all available aid options at Cornell. Our admissions and financial aid counselors are available to help you on your way to becoming part of the Cornell Big Red family.

To apply for need-based financial aid, such as university grants, scholarships, or need-based education loans, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below and visit the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment website at finaid.cornell.edu.

Financing Options

Our financing options are structured to provide benefits to your family, regardless of your income level. Cornell offers several options that can help you pay for college:

  • Cornell Installment Plan (CIP): Under this interest-free plan, you choose how much to budget and whether you want to pay in five, ten, or twelve installments. For more information about CIP, please visit bursar.cornell.edu.
  • Employment Opportunities: Working a modest number of hours a week not only provides money for expenses, but it also reduces loan debt and develops career interests and skills. Cornell offers a wide variety of part-time jobs to students from all economic backgrounds.
  • Non-Need-Based Loan Programs: Federal loans are available to parents of Cornell students; please visit finaid.cornell.edu for more information. Students may also apply for an alternative loan through an outside lender, but you are responsible for contacting a lender of your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

I haven’t applied for aid yet. Can I still apply?
I’ve submitted my application and I haven’t heard back yet. What do I do?
How do I check my Financial Aid To Do List?
I’ve received my aid package and need help understanding it.
I want a better overall understanding of Cornell financial aid.
Do you have financial aid video tutorials?
Can I appeal my financial aid decision?
How was my parent contribution calculated?
How will an outside scholarship or tuition benefit affect my aid offer?
May I use my veteran education benefits?
What are some important things to remember about financial aid at Cornell?
What do you use the FAFSA for?
What is the cost of attendance?
What kind of assets are you looking at?
Why have I not received my financial aid offer?
Why is my FAFSA EFC lower than the EFC Cornell calculated?
What is a Student Contribution?
How Can I Qualify for New York State Resident Tuition?