Frequently Asked Questions
I was living on campus for the fall but will be living with my family for the spring semester—how does this impact my financial aid?
The cost of attendance for students living at home with family, whether they are learning entirely remotely or commuting, includes allowances for housing, food and other personal expenses. Students living with their families will have a reduced cost of attendance, which will impact their demonstrated financial need.
I am living with my family for the fall but am planning to return to campus for the spring semester – how does this impact my financial aid?
We will be re-evaluating the cost of attendance, using the housing information from the Spring 2021 re-entry survey as well as information from Student and Campus Life. Your eligibility for financial aid for the spring term will be based on the revised cost of attendance.
Student and Campus Life offered a prorated on-campus charge for housing and dining for the semester for students leaving campus at Thanksgiving. How did this impact my aid?
The cost of attendance for students remained whole and was not adjusted, acknowledging that students will still have living expenses for the remainder of the semester. Those who received a refund in September should have budgeted their refund carefully to cover off-campus expenses and any additional bursar charges through the entire semester, September 2 – December 21.
Funding is not available for students remaining on campus through the winter term unless they are enrolled in coursework.
I will be on leave for Spring 2021. Will Cornell assist with my off-campus lease or other expenses?
Need-based financial aid is only available during periods of active enrollment. If you are not enrolled in courses, Cornell will not be able to assist with your expenses. Off-campus leases are contracts with private landlords. The Off Campus Living office may be able to assist with guidance on subletting.
For students who begin attending classes and then choose to take a leave of absence or withdraw from Cornell, aid will be prorated accordingly: Leaves of absence and withdrawal policy.
What will happen to my aid if my Cost of Attendance changes?
The amount of financial assistance a family needs each year is determined by the following formula:
Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Demonstrated Financial Need
Your Expected Family Contribution remains consistent unless your family reports significant changes to your financial situation. If your Cost of Attendance increases or decreases, your demonstrated financial need changes proportionally to reflect your changing expenses. Financial Aid Eligibility
I will be living off campus in Ithaca and attending classes remotely. Will my aid continue to cover my living costs?
If you are returning to the Ithaca area, your cost of living estimate will remain the same whether or not your attendance in classes is remote, in-person, or some of both. If you are taking courses remotely and living with your parents, your cost of attendance will be adjusted.
If your financial aid credits for the fall semester are greater than your billed expenses, you will receive the remainder of your financial aid as a refund that you can use in combination with your Family Contribution and any work-study earnings to cover your living and personal expenses for the semester.
When will I receive my financial aid refund for the Spring 2021 semester?
Financial aid for undergraduate students will credit to their bursar account beginning February 1, 2021. Refunds through direct deposit take approximately two to three business days to generate after you see the refund posted on your Student Center account. Please review the Bursar’s website for more information.
I am concerned about being able to meet my summer savings expectation for financial aid. Has there been any flexibility for summer 2020?
The university is distributing $7.5 million in COVID Summer Savings Expectation (SSE) Relief Grants. These grants, ranging from $500 to $2,000, are being awarded to around 75% of undergraduate students who receive financial aid, in light of the fact that summer jobs may have been canceled or particularly difficult to obtain due to the pandemic. Students awarded these grants receive a revised financial aid statement.
My family’s financial circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19, and I have concerns about our ability to contribute to my educational expenses. What should we do?
Students who believe they may require additional aid for the upcoming year should review the following Frequently Asked Questions about appealing your financial aid.
Typically, awards can be reviewed if your family’s financial situation has changed significantly since you applied for aid, or if there is additional information that was not included on your original application. For example, a family may be experiencing extended unemployment or extraordinary uninsured medical expenses which may qualify for an adjustment.
I am enrolled for Fall 2020 but am not planning to return for Spring 2021. What will happen to my financial aid?
Financial aid is only available during periods of active enrollment. Students who do not return to Cornell for Spring 2021 will not receive financial aid. Please remember to apply for aid next year by the established deadline: reapply for financial aid.
Depending on how long your break in enrollment is, students who have received educational loans in the past could have loans that enter repayment. Information regarding Federal Direct loans, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education through various student loan billing servicers, is available at studentaid.gov. You should receive direct correspondence from servicers and should work with them on terms of repayment. Information on Federal Perkins and University Loan can be obtained by visiting the Bursar website. Students who have borrowed alternative loans should contact their lender directly for repayment information.
Are student jobs available?
The availability of student jobs depends on individual hiring departments and their HR units. Work expectations are included in award offers, and we are encouraging departments to continue posting student positions where possible. Please review the Student Employment Job Database for current available opportunities. Students also have the option to replace their work expectation with loan upon request.
Is the Financial Aid Office open, and if so, how can I contact you?
Yes! We are open, but not yet in Day Hall. Staff are engaged remotely until further notice. Please contact the Financial Aid Office directly by phone at 607-255-5145 (10:00am to 4:00pm EST) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our representatives will be happy to assist you. Students may also set up virtual appointments through Cornell Chatter.
Will my New York state grant be impacted by online instruction?
Provided students continue to meet New York state’s full-time enrollment standards (12 credits), state aid will not change. If you are considering dropping a course, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 607-255-5145 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST) or email@example.com to discuss how that may impact your eligibility.
I receive VA benefits. How will those be impacted?
Who can I contact if I have questions?
- Undergraduate and Graduate Program Financial Aid: 607-255-5145 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Law School: 607-255-5141 or email@example.com
- Johnson School: 607-255-0865 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Veterinary Medicine: 607-253-3700 or email@example.com
- You can contact the Office of the Bursar via phone or email at 607-255-2336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.