Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.38
Liaison Lisa Kilgore
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Cornell University
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.69 / 4.00 Amy Godert
Executive Director
Academic Student Success Programs
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

The University provides what is known as need-based aid. This means that a calculation based on the information from FASFA and the CSS Profile is used to create a financial aid award for students. The University also has developed two initiatives as it pertains to financial aid. The first is for parent contribution, and the second student loan. These are tiered programs to assist in making the Cornell more accessible.

The parent contribution initiative states that families with income below $60,000 and total assets less than $100,000, that student can receive a package without a parent contribution.

The loan initiative states a family with income below $60,000 will have a student aid package without a loan. If the income is slightly higher, between $60,000 and $75,000, the loans will be capped at $2,500. If the family income is between $75,000 and $120,000, the loan is capped at $5,000 in the package. And if the family income is above $120,000, the loan is capped at $7,500 in the package. All of these options make Cornell a very affordable institution for our neediest students.


A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

The University has several offerings designed to support faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds. Through the Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI), many resources are available online for faculty as they plan and design courses, syllabi, and teaching strategies. Staff from the office are available for consultation on issues and serve as resources. Additionally, CTI sponsors the Faculty Institute on Diversity, a three day institute that brings faculty together to discuss issues related to diversity and how to incorporate and infuse them into all aspects of their teaching.

Through Human Resources, there are two main initiatives. The first, Inclusive Excellence Academy, “offers programs designed to advance an inclusive education environment and workplace.” These workshops and programs are created for all levels and members of the University community focusing on various aspects of a diversity and inclusion. Several of these events and workshops are focused on socio-economic status as well as social belonging. The second initiative is the Cornell Interactive Theater Ensemble (CITE). Through group theatric presentation and group facilitation, CITE uses real life scenarios to train and help facilitate discussion for different members of the Cornell community on topics and diversity and inclusion including socio-economic factors and status.

Through the McNair program, workshops have been offered for faculty mentors on working with the diverse backgrounds of the scholars and how to support them on their path to PhDs.

The Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and the Office of Institutional Research and Planning regularly provide data to colleges and departments about the progress, retention, and achievement of students who are Pell-Grant eligible and those on financial aid in comparison with all other students.

Training and resources for staff are also provided through the Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Cornell is engaged in many activities and programs designed to support and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education. These programs and initiatives include:
• the Federal Trio Program Upward Bound;
• the New York State Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program and Higher Education Opportunity Program (EOP/HEOP);
• the New York State Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP);
• the Pre-Freshman Summer Program;
• scholarships for students to participate in Summer College;
• a local initiative Access to College Education (ACE); and
• application workshops through the Undergraduate Admissions Office and college admissions offices.

Upward Bound has the mission to prepare high school students from low-income, first generation college students. Similarly, STEP is designed to increase the number of economically disadvantage applicants into postsecondary degree programs in scientific, technical, health-related fields, and the licensed professions. Both of these programs are housed in the Public Service Center as the Pre-College Programs. Through the work of these programs, staff meet regularly with students and families in local high schools, provide weekend and summer experiences for students to gain the skills and exposure to the potential of post-secondary education, and support the students through the application and financial aid processes.

Another program that works with low-income students to prepare for college is the Pre-Freshman Summer program. While not every student enrolled in the program is from a low-income background, the majority of the students are. This program is designed to be a bridge program for students to aid in the preparation and transition and from high school to college. This is a requirement for students enrolled in Cornell through the Arthur O. Eve Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) for low-income NYS residents. These two programs are administered in conjunction with the seven undergraduate colleges and schools through the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives. NYS residents from low-income backgrounds who are considered academically underprepared are selected for the program and through financial and academic support are given admission to Cornell. The Prefreshmen Summer Program helps to prepare them for the academic year.

Cornell has several scholarship programs for high school students from low-income backgrounds to attend our residential Summer College, and we also partner with the Telluride Foundation on campus to bring a similar cohort of students to that summer program. Additionally, the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives has secured funding to provide 10 high school schools from Harlem, NY, and 10 high school students that participate in 4H the opportunity to attend Summer College. In addition to the regular Summer College Offerings, these students are paired with a staff member in OADI to support and advise them throughout the summer.

Cornell takes part in a local initiative called Access to College Education (ACE). ACE is a collaborative partnership between 12 area school districts and four local colleges/universities. Over the course of the year, students and families are introduced to various avenues available to them for higher education. Each of the institutions hosts students for a half day workshop to include information on financial aid, admissions, the college selection process, and specific details about the college. These workshops are lead by staff from the universities and student panelists.

Additionally, through the Undergraduate Admissions Office and college admissions offices, Cornell provides application workshops across the country for students of a variety of backgrounds. These include step by step instruction on how to complete the Common Application, Universal College Application, as well as the FAFSA. These workshops are conducted by University admissions officers and are designed to support students and families in the complex nature of the admissions process.


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

Cornell’s financial aid is all need-based. We do not offer merit scholarships. We do have financial aid initiatives that address how we award financial aid. See the above information about our initiatives and refer to our website at https://finaid.cornell.edu/cost-attend/financial-aid-initiatives.

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

Cornell makes direct-targeted outreach through several offices and programs. Through the NYS Opportunity Programs (EOP/HEOP), the Director, Assistant Director, and Senior Advisor travel across NYS recruiting. Some of these visits are coordinated through high school guidance counselors with students they identify as having high financial need. Additionally, staff travel to various college fairs across the state to meet with students. Lastly, efforts are coordinated to meet students through community based organizations in which relationships have been established. These organizations understand the mission of EOP/HEOP and help to organize the introduction of students that would be economically eligible and therefore come from low-income backgrounds. During these visits, staff discuss EOP/HEOP and financial aid with prospective high school students. The office also works collaboratively with the Undergraduate Admissions Office to coordinate trips, materials, and outreach across the state as well as participate in any on-campus bus trips from agencies and high schools. New efforts have been made to work with Cornell University Cooperative Extension through 4H to reach more students across the state in a virtual environment.

The American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program (AIISP) also hosts a yearly recruitment and engagement weekend for native students. "Promising Futures" is a weekend workshop for students that exposes them to information about Cornell as well as admissions, financial aid, and opportunity programs. Staff from each of these offices meets with students over the weekend to talk about the opportunities that exist at Cornell.

Individual college admission teams also have targeted outreach efforts. These include the work of the College of Arts and Sciences; College of Engineering; and the SC Johnson College of Business, School of Hotel Administration. Each of these individual programs travels across the country to find and recruit highly qualified students that would benefit from the support Cornell offers. Additionally, the SC Johnson College of Business, School of Hotel Administration, has received a grant from the Hilton Foundation to do this work specifically focused on underrepresented students in the hospitality industry.

The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment has a joint associate director position with the Undergraduate Admissions Office specifically dedicated to the support students from underrepresented, including low-income, backgrounds. This person works with students through the application process, supporting the students and family with the timely completion of all materials.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

The Pre Professional Programs (P3) is a programming and support initiative housed in the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives for the purpose of recruiting, preparing and graduating underrepresented, economically disadvantaged, or first-generation students to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Professional fields.

Additionally, OADI provides Community Development and Social Justice Programming through which students from non-traditional backgrounds are engaged and supported. A particular focus is on first-generation college students through the "First In Class" as well as non-traditional students through the "Trailblazers" programs. Each of these programs offer regular workshops and meetings to provide support to students and assist them in navigating through higher education.

OADI also provides funding support for students involved in the programs to be able to obtain experiences through research, internships, and other professional development ventures. Additionally, OADI has funding resources available for students in emergency situations.

The Learning Strategies Center also provides financial assistance to eligible students who need to fulfill specific requirements to stay on track for graduation. This support is critical for students who are advised to take a reduced course load or who may not be able to afford academic enrichment opportunities integral to their disciplinary studies.

Additionally, Annabel’s Grocery was established to “provide nutritious, affordable food for all Cornell students through student-run group store.” The store provides subsidies for students that qualify to have low-cost groceries. This is a program students have to opt in to, they also provide meal kits and educational component including cooking classes for members of the grocery.


Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

Cornell does not have scholarships for part-time students, except through its employee tuition program and its summer college pipeline scholarships.

A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

There is an on-site child care center managed by Bright Horizons Family Solutions. This venue provides child care support for children from 6 weeks to 5 years. The service is open to all Cornell faculty, staff, and students and there is a fee for the service. Cornell students with dependents can apply for a grant to in the cost of child care. Additionally, there is a Dependent Care Consultant available for students to explore child care options.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Through the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI), the Community Develop and Social Justice Programming encompasses non-traditional students. Programming and support is given for students who are adult learners, students with dependents, veterans, and first generation students.

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):

On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):

Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.