Cornell Board of Trustees approves 2017-18 tuition rates

At its January meeting, the Cornell Board of Trustees approved planning parameters for the university’s 2017-18 budget. To meet the expected growth rate in Cornell’s operating expenses, undergraduate tuition revenue, net of financial aid discounting, will rise 2.6 percent based on tuition rate increases.

“Tuition represents one of several revenue streams – including funded research grants and contracts, philanthropy, state appropriations and other sources – that allow Cornell to offer an exceptional education while ensuring the university remains accessible to qualified students,” said Joanne DeStefano, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Cornell is continuing to align the rate of tuition revenue growth to that of its carefully managed expenses.”

To reach a 2.6 percent overall revenue increase, undergraduate tuition will rise 3.75 percent. Tuition for undergraduates in the endowed colleges and for out-of-state students in the contract colleges will be $52,612; tuition for New York state residents enrolled in the contract colleges will be $35,242.

About half of Cornell undergraduates pay full tuition and the other components of their full cost of education, including room and board. The other half receive need-based financial aid tailored to their family’s individual circumstances, so a combination of financial aid and family contributions cover the cost of education. Because Cornell services and facilities are supported by many sources of revenue, all students, including those who pay full tuition, receive a partial subsidy.

Cornell continues to fulfill its commitment that no admitted undergraduate student is prevented from attending the university due to financial need, said Barbara A. Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the Graduate School.

“Among top research universities, Cornell funds the highest percentage of financial aid through its operating budget,” Knuth said, “and the financial aid budget has grown more than twice as fast as tuition.” Cornell is more affordable in absolute and inflation-adjusted dollars today for most students who receive financial aid than it was 20 years ago, she added.

In 2016-17 45 percent of undergraduates received need-based financial aid, and the university awarded $238 million in grant aid, triple the amount given in 1997.

Knuth noted that more than 90 percent of Cornell undergraduates graduate on time, and more than half of them graduate with no debt. 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.

In the Graduate School, it will be the eighth consecutive year tuition for doctoral candidates has not increased. Graduate research tuition will remain the same – $29,500 for endowed and $20,800 for contract college graduate fields, respectively. Tuition for professional degree programs in the Graduate School will increase by 3.75 percent.

The board of trustees also approved an increase in the graduate student stipend. The minimum nine-month stipend rate for graduate teaching and research assistants and fellowship awardees will increase 2.5 percent to $25,780. More than 84 percent of continuing doctoral students also receive additional stipends over the summer.

In the professional schools, the tuition increase for the DVM (Veterinary Medicine) and the J.D. (Law) degrees will increase 3 percent, and the LL.M. (Master of Laws) will increase 2.7 percent. Tuition for the Johnson School MBA two-year residential degree and the executive MBA degrees will increase by 3.75 percent, and the one-year Johnson School/Cornell Tech MBA will increase by 1.5 percent. The tuition rates for the dual degree Executive MBA (Johnson School) and M.S. in Health Care Leadership (Weill Cornell Medicine) degree and the joint Cornell/Tsinghua University MBA degree will remain unchanged.

Housing contract rates have been set at $8,564 for a double-occupancy room, an increase of 3.5 percent, and a full traditional meal plan will cost $5,766, up 2.5 percent. The undergraduate student activity fee, set by the Student Assembly, is unchanged at $241; and the graduate student activity fee, set by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, remains unchanged at $85. The student health fee will rise $8, to $358.

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