Student Health Fee

Students pay the university’s student health fee to support affordable and equitable access to high-quality on-campus health services. 

2021-2022 student health fee

New for the 2021-2022 academic year, all students enrolled on Cornell’s Ithaca and Geneva campuses pay the university’s student health fee (see FAQ below for specifics). 

  • The 2021-2022 academic-year health fee is $210/semester (an 8% reduction from the previous year), charged to students’ Bursar bill at the beginning of each semester. 
  • The summer 2022 health fee is $122 (applicable to residential summer students not already covered by the academic-year health fee). 

Students who pay the health fee have a $10 copay for most Cornell services (some services have no charge). See our Cost for Service page for details.

Health fee FAQ

Why does Cornell have a student health fee?

The student health fee, combined with other funding sources, enables Cornell Health to offer all students the same access to affordable on-campus care, no matter what health insurance they have (see How does Cornell Health's subsidy work? below). It also helps support campus-wide health initiatives that benefit the whole Cornell community.

Health fees are standard administrative fees at universities nation-wide. Among Cornell's Ivy Plus peers, those with exposed (listed separately) health fees typically range from $500 to $1,000 a year.

Who pays the student health fee?

All students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) enrolled on Cornell’s Ithaca campus and Geneva campus pay the student health fee, regardless of what health insurance they have. (See information for funded graduate students below.)

School of Continuing Education students taking 12+ academic-year credits or summer classes also pay the health fee (with the exception of Cornell employees). 

Students in residential programs that are distant from the Ithaca / Geneva campuses will not be charged the health fee. If those students are temporarily in the Ithaca area, they can still access Cornell Health services and we will bill their insurance plan for those services. These students will be responsible for their copaymentscoinsurance, and deductibles (as specified by their insurance plan). NOTE: If at the beginning of the semester your university status still indicates that you are studying on the Ithaca/Geneva campus, you will automatically be charged for the health fee. The charge will be removed from your Bursar bill once your enrollment / registration status is updated to reflect that you are studying away from campus.

Why am I being charged for the health fee when I'm on SHP?

Previously, Student Health Plan (SHP) members paid the equivalent of the student health fee through their SHP premium. Now, SHP members studying in Ithaca or Geneva will pay the health fee as a separate charge, with the health fee equivalent removed from their SHP premium. (See information for funded graduate students below.)

How does Cornell Health's subsidy work?

The student health fee is part of Cornell Health’s overall funding model that enables subsidized access to care when a student’s insurance (in- or out-of-network) does not cover services.

New for 2021-2022, we will bill students’ health insurance plans as the primary payer for medical and psychiatry services received on campus (CAPS counseling will be excluded from insurance billing). Remaining costs (copaymentscoinsurance, and deductibles) for most services will be capped $10.

Why is Cornell making this change?

With this additional revenue from insurance billing, Cornell Health can pass along savings to students in the form of a reduced student health fee while still maintaining the current scope of campus health services. The student health fee is being reduced from $456 to $420 for 2021-2022, and will continue to be included in cost of attendance for financial aid awards.

How does insurance billing work?

We will bill students’ health insurance plans as the primary payer for medical and psychiatry services received on campus (CAPS counseling will be excluded from insurance billing). Remaining costs (copaymentscoinsurance, and deductibles) for most services will be capped $10.

  • We are currently negotiating to be in network with all major insurance carriers. 
  • Cornell Health will limit students’ copayment for most services to $10 (some services have no charge) – even if your insurance plan denies a claim – and will waive both coinsurance and deductible costs.
  • Please note that students (or a parent, if they are the policy holder) may receive an explanation of benefits (EOB) from their insurance company indicating that these remaining costs (copayments, coinsurance, deductibles) are due for services received at Cornell Health. In most cases, Cornell Health covers these costs automatically (see our Cost for Service page for details) and the student / parent is not responsible for the charge(s). 

EXCLUSIONS: The subsidy does not apply to pharmacy, travel medicine, immunizations other than the flu vaccine, and services outside of Cornell Health (e.g., lab tests that must be sent to an external lab). This means students are responsible for the costs that their insurance doesn't cover.

If we're billing insurance plans, why are we still charging a health fee?

Many students have insurance with a high "cost-share" (copaymentscoinsurance, and deductibles), which limits the insurance plan's reimbursement, leaving the remaining costs as the student's financial responsibility. The health fee, as one of our funding sources, ensures that we have the resources to provide equitable access to campus health services for all students, regardless of their insurance coverage.

Is there any impact on funded graduate students?

Funded graduate students will continue to be funded for health care. The total cost of health care (insurance + health fee) will continue to be included in the cost of attendance and will be covered.

What if I have privacy concerns?

The practice of billing insurance plans may introduce privacy concerns for non-SHP members when an "explanation of benefits" (EOB) statement is sent by the insurance company to the primary policy holder after a claim. While the student is the primary policy holder for SHP and SHP+, for many students with other insurance, the primary policy holder is often a parent or guardian.

Many insurance plans have provisions for adult dependents to receive their own EOBs when covered by a parent or guardian’s plan. Cornell Health will have a "privacy pause" available upon request, enabling us to delay submitting claims to give the student time to register with their insurance company to receive their own EOBs.  

Can I get refund after I've paid the health fee?

Students whose status changes after paying the health fee may receive a refund if they ...

  • are away from the Ithaca / Geneva campus for a full semester (100% refund per semester away from campus)
  • take a leave of absence or withdraw from Cornell (refunds are prorated based on the university’s tuition adjustment schedule for withdrawals and leaves of absence)