Going to college is one of the most important investments of your life. Cornell is committed to making it affordable by removing financial barriers through a variety of financial aid programs. Building on a long history of providing opportunity and access to students regardless of economic circumstances, our financial aid initiatives help ease the burden for undergraduate students and their families.
A Cornell education is a worthy investment. Based on statistics from the Class of 2016, the average starting salary of a Cornell engineering student was $79,043. At the time of graduation, 63% of our students had a job offer and 31% of the graduating class had been admitted into a graduate school program. Top employers included:
- Goldman Sachs
- Capital One
- Ernst & Young
- Epic Systems
- Deloitte Consulting
Cornell, like many of its peer institutions, does not award scholarships based upon athletic or academic merit. Rather, our commitment is to strive to ensure that all students demonstrating the intellectual strength to attend Cornell can afford a Cornell education.
Financial Aid at Cornell University
Cornell has made the commitment to students who demonstrate financial need by meeting that need with one or more financial aid components: grants and scholarships, loans and student employment. For the Class of 2021, 52% of the students received some type of financial aid and the average need-based scholarship/grant was $40,686. Cornell University practices need-blind admissions for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens, which means your ability to pay is not factored into the admissions process. Eligible non-citizens include permanent residents, refugees and asylees, students who hold DACA status, and students who have been long-term green card applicants but have not yet achieved Legal Permanent Resident (green card) status.
For international students and undocumented applicants without DACA status, admissions decisions will be need-aware. This means they will be evaluated for admission with consideration of the ability of students or their parents to pay educational costs.
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 most recent tax year, 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 is committed to keeping your student loans at a reasonable level. Cornell guarantees that any family with a total income of less than $60,000 and assets of less than $100,000 (including primary home equity), will have no parent contribution and no loans.
Loans may be necessary for some families. Cornell caps the amount of loans a student can have 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.
Low debt burden, excellent job placement and strong starting salaries help our students build a solid foundation for their future.
|Total Family Income||Maximum Loan in Aid Package Each Year|
|under $60,000 annually||$0|
Award Match Initiative
To improve Cornell's competitiveness in recruiting and enrolling undergraduate students, we will increase grant aid funds by matching the family contribution components and lower loan level of financial aid offers from other Ivy League schools, as well as Stanford, Duke, and MIT.
Financial Aid Statistics for Cornell University
Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
What advice do you have for someone applying for financial aid?
Submit your financial aid application materials by the deadlines. This allows our Financial Aid officers and counselors the time they need to fully and completely review your application for aid, and it allows your family to fully consider the financial aid package offered to you when making a decision about where to attend for the fall. The Office of Financial Aid has all of the forms and deadlines you need to submit a financial aid application.
What happens if I'm admitted via Early Decision and my family can't afford to pay for my Cornell education?
When you receive your financial aid package, you will work with Cornell's Financial Aid Office to work out the details of your aid package. On the rare occasion that your aid package does not meet your family's need, you will be released from your Early Decision agreement, and free to apply to other institutions.
If I receive financial aid as a new student, am I guaranteed financial aid during my entire time at Cornell?
No. All financial aid recipients must reapply for financial aid each year. If you are eligible for financial aid and your family's financial situation remains constant, you can expect a consistent financial aid package from year to year, both in terms of what you can expect in the aid award and the amount that you and your family will be expected to contribute. Some factors may affect the way your need is calculated (and thus change your award), such as changes in income, number of people in the household, or the number of children who are full-time undergraduate students.
Does Cornell offer merit aid or athletic scholarships?
No. Cornell's (and all Ivy League institutions) financial aid is need-based. Cornell University offers financial aid solely on the basis of demonstrated financial need. We do not offer merit awards for academic, athletic, musical, or other talents. We do have selective programs, such as the Cornell Commitment programs, that recognize, reward, and encourage further development of a select group of students who exemplify Cornell's commitment to academic excellence, work and service, research and discovery, and leadership and learning, and in so doing, enrich their experience at Cornell and beyond. Cornell Engineering also has the Jacobs Scholars and the McMullen Scholars which recognize selected students for their potential as future engineers. All Cornell Engineering applicants are automatically considered for these programs. There is a need-based component offered with the programs.