Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.35
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 3, 2022

STARS v2.2

Cornell University
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.63 / 4.00 William Horning
Sr. Associate Director
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Percentage of need met, on average, for students who were awarded any need-based aid :

Percentage of students graduating without student loan debt:

Percentage of entering students that are low-income:

Graduation/success rate for low-income students:

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

The University provides what is known as need-based aid. This means that a calculation based on the information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) and Collegeboard’s CSS Profile is used to create a financial aid award for students. Based on these calculations, the University will provide aid to meet the full need of the student.

Additionally, the University also has developed three initiatives as it pertains to financial aid. The first is to assist with parent contributions from families based on income levels, the second is to support the reduction of student loan debt based on income levels, and the third is in support of students that are undocumented of DACA recipients. The first two are tiered programs and the third is for students that do not qualify for federal aid, all to assist in making Cornell more accessible.

The parent contribution initiative states “families with total income below $60,000 and total assets less than $100,000 (including primary home equity), will have no parent contribution and no loans in the initial aid package.”

The loan initiative was updated for the 2018-2019 academic year. It currently states, for students who began their studies at Cornell in Fall 2018 or after, a family with income below $60,000 will have a student aid package without a loan. If the income is slightly higher, between $60,001 and $85,000 loans will be capped at $2,500. If the family income is between $85,001 and $135,000 loans will be capped at $5,000 in the package. And if the family income is above $135,000, the loan is capped at $7,500 in the package. All of these options make Cornell a very affordable institution for our neediest students.

Through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, there is a team that works to assist families with the application process to Cornell and subsequently complete the financial aid application process. Virtual sessions are offered in fall in conjunction the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, to present "Cornell University, and Affordable Ivy League Education." This is offered to student throughout New York State through various listservs, counselor notifications, and other recruiting tools to share information and answer questions families and students have about Cornell and how financial aid works. There are additional sessions offered after the application process to aid in supporting students through the financial aid application.

Additionally, admissions representatives from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as well as members of the individual college admissions teams provide workshops throughout the year for students to understand the application process and will support students in completing the process. Many of the workshops are hosting in support of Community Based Organizations and schools aimed at support low-income and first generation applicants be able to complete the college application process.


A brief description of notable policies or programs to support non-traditional students:

The Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) offers programming that encompasses non-traditional students. Programming and support are given to students who are adult learners, students with dependents, veterans/active military, and first-generation students.

Units in the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, which includes the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI), offers programming that encompasses non-traditional students. Programming and support are given to students who are adult learners, students with dependents, veterans/active military, and first-generation students.

Through the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Cornell has hired a full-time veterans advisor position. This advisor works closely with the students on the Veterans Summer Bridge Program and throughout their time at Cornell to make sure they are applying for and accessing all of the opportunities they have available to them through their benefits. The Student Veterans Advisor provides support, advocacy, programming, and referral to our undergraduate student veterans while serving as a point of contact and direct link between them, Cornell, the VA Regional Office, Department of Defense, and other federal, state, and local veterans’ agencies and organizations. The office staff member works closely with the leadership of the Cornell University Veterans Association (CUVA), a veteran student organization, and the Veterans Colleague Network Group. Additionally, the advisor partners with and works closely with the Undergraduate Admissions Office to participate in recruiting events and workshops specifically geared to veteran/military applicants.

Additionally, the Dean of Students Office in Student and Campus Life has staff that supports first-generation and low-Income students. They work collaboratively with staff in OADI and other units across campus to help develop a sense of support and community for these students. They partner with colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences who have received funding to create a support program for first-generation college students in the college and have developed a summer experience for students to participate in to assist in the transition for the College of Arts and Sciences.

A new Non-Traditional Students of Cornell (NTSOC) student organization was founded and consults with both OADI and DOS on ways our campus can further support the unique academic journeys of non-traditional students.


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:

Website URL where information about the institution’s accessibility and affordability initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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.