Board of Trustees approves 2024-25 budget

The Cornell Board of Trustees has approved parameters for the 2024-25 budget, including financial aid, tuition, housing and dining rates for the coming year.

The university has committed more than $400 million for fiscal year 2025 in institutional financial aid, ensuring that a Cornell education remains accessible to students from every background. Nearly half of Cornell’s undergraduates – around 7,800 students – receive Cornell grants, which do not need to be repaid. Grant funding has more than tripled in the past 20 years, making Cornell more affordable today than it was two decades ago.

“Cornell was created as an institution for ‘any person… any study,’ and we are committed to welcoming students regardless of their backgrounds,” said President Martha E. Pollack. “Thanks to that commitment and donors’ generosity, we can meet 100% of families’ demonstrated need and continue to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students attending Cornell.”

Undergraduate tuition for those who do not receive financial aid will rise between $2,168 and $3,176 in the coming year due to inflationary pressures causing increases in operating expenses.

Most aided students whose family circumstances remain constant will not experience any increase in the cost of attendance, thanks to offsets from Cornell grants. The undergraduate financial aid budget has grown more than 40% in the last five years, far outpacing tuition increases.

Like other universities and businesses, Cornell balances inflationary pressures with cost containment and careful economic forecasting, said Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff. Faculty and staff salaries and benefits are a major expense fueled by the necessity to offer competitive pay to recruit, develop and retain high-performing employees. Planned capital projects, which are peaking after the pandemic slowdown, and deferred maintenance projects also require continued investment, Kotlikoff added.

“We recognize the impact of inflation on our students and their families,” Kotlikoff said. “We are committed to controlling costs while maintaining the excellence of a Cornell education.”

The cost of attendance is not the price many students will pay to attend Cornell. All Cornell undergraduates applying for financial assistance are reviewed for need-based financial aid that covers tuition, housing and dining, as well as other costs of attendance. Cornell meets 100% of anticipated financial need.

Undergraduate tuition for 2024-25 will be $68,380, an increase of 4.9%, for unaided out-of-state students attending any of Cornell’s colleges, and for unaided New York state residents attending the endowed colleges: the College of Architecture, Art and Planning; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business; and Cornell Engineering.

For unaided New York state residents attending contract colleges – the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations – tuition will be $46,056, an increase of 4.9%. State residents attending one of Cornell’s contract colleges continue to pay significantly discounted tuition ($22,324 less), even before factoring in financial aid.

Average undergraduate housing and dining costs will rise by $925 ($734 for housing; $191 for dining). Students who qualify for institutional financial aid will not pay more for housing and dining, as they will receive a commensurate increase in their Cornell grant.

The rate increases will support Cornell’s commitment to the student residential experience. Since the completion of the North Campus Residential Housing Plan in 2022, all first- and second-year students are required to live on campus and have meal plans, to support their transitions to college and ensure food security.

Cornell has already raised more than $376 million of a capital campaign aiming to raise $500 million toward affordability. Campaign goals include increasing the number of aided students at Cornell by 1,000 while growing the student body by 650; decreasing average student debt at graduation by 25%; and ensuring that all aid-eligible students can participate in academically enriching summer experiences without worrying about meeting summer earnings expectations.

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Rebecca Valli