Health Requirements FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Where can I find all of my Health Requirement forms?

  • Our Health Requirements for New Students page provides instructions to guide entering Cornell students through the process. Find specific instructions for your student status.
  • The forms you must complete are provided through myCornellHealth, our secure patient portal. Find "Forms" in the navigation.

How (and where) should I submit my Health Requirement forms?

Specific instructions are provided with every individual form. 

How can I confirm receipt of my forms and/or compliance status?

Due to the volume of forms we process each year, we are not able to individually confirm receipt of your forms. However, you may check yourself.

  • Forms: go to myCornellHealth, our secure patient portal. Find "Forms" in the navigation. The status of your forms will be listed there.
  • Compliance with immunizations and TB screening tests: We will review your "New Student Immunization and TB Screening History" form and required documentation. (Due to high volume, allow up to three weeks.)
    • If your materials are not in compliance, we will send an email to your Cornell address directing you to log in to myCornellHealthto retrieve a secure message about what’s is missing from your form and/or documentation.
    • When your materials are determined to be in compliance, we will update your status on your New Student To Do List (newstudents.cornell.edu).

What do I do if I receive a message from Cornell Health telling me my health information doesn't meet Cornell's requirements?

  • Read the message carefully. It will instruct you what to do next.
  • If the problem is with immunizations and/or TB screening tests, please go to Addressing Compliance Problems for assistance.

Can I print copies of my forms?

  • Unfortunately, our health forms system (EHR) does not provide an option for printing electronic forms. The only way to "copy" those forms is to take screen shots as you go. (We are working with our vendor to remedy this problem in the future and regret the inconvenience in the present.) 
  • You may, of course, make copies of any of the forms that are accessed by pdf. We encourage you to keep copies of the Physical Examination Form and any official health records you submit to Cornell Health.

I am not going to make the deadline. Is this a problem?

  • We ask that you submit all of your forms and required documentation as close to the submission deadline as possible. If that is not possible, please submit them as soon you can.
  • $100 late fee is assessed on August 10, 2018 (January 4, 2019 for spring 2019 entrants)
  • Due to high volume, it can take us up to 15 business days for processing. Forms are processed in the order received. If your form does not get processed prior to the penalty deadline, you may be assessed the $100 penalty.

I am a returning student. Do I need to complete New Student Health Requirements?

Yes, please complete the forms linked for you at myCornellHealth.

If you were a full-time student at Cornell between 2012−2018:

  • You have already documented “Required Immunizations,” so you do not need to do that again. We do recommend that you review other immunizations to see whether your immunization record needs to be updated. You may do this at myCornellHealth (see Immunization Record).
  • If you are from a country where TB is widespread, you must document a recent TB screening test. .

Do I have to have a physical exam?

A physical examination within the past 18 months is strongly recommended for all incoming students. This will give you an opportunity to consult with your health care provider about immunizations, prescriptions, pre-existing conditions, and any health care concerns or needs you have. We consider it an important preparation for a healthy Cornell experience.

Intercollegiate/NCAA athletes: a physical exam after March 1, 2018 is required. The Sports Clearance Form must be completed by a health care provider and submitted with this form. 

What are the immunization and TB screening requirements?

Please review the requirements for your specific student status, as instructions vary slightly for each population. You also may review these requirements on our Addressing Compliance Problems page.

Where do I find my immunization records?

Check for official immunization records at any school you have attended or your health care provider's office. Military records also are accepted.

What if I don't have access to my immunization records?

If you cannot locate your immunization records, you should get immunized by your health care provider before coming to Cornell. If you are certain you have been vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella, and/or Varicella but don't have documentation of the immunization or a physician-diagnosed illness, you should ask a clinician to do a protective antibody titer (blood test) to prove your immunity.

What can I do if I'm unable to complete the immunization requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?

We expect students to meet the university’s immunization requirements before arrival at Cornell. When this is not possible, you must contact the Requirements Office as soon as you get to campus to get your required immunizations. 

[Alternative arrangements may be made for students in programs outside of Ithaca. Please contact the Requirements Office for details.]

STEP ONE: Consult with our Requirements Office staff

  • Recommended: Schedule a requirements consultation appointment in advance
  • May require a significant wait in line: Check in at the desk on Level 4 between 9 am and 4 pm, Monday–Friday (if you enter Cornell Health from the Ho Plaza front door, you will be on Level 4).

STEP TWO: Schedule an immunization and/or TB screening test appointment

  • When you consult with our Requirements Office, staff members will assist you in scheduling a second appointment to get your required immunizations and or TB screening test.

Late fees / registration delays 

  • If you do not demonstrate full compliance with these requirements by the time you come to Cornell, you will be charged a $100 late fee and a hold will be placed on your registration for classes.
  • You will not be subject to late fees or registration delays if you schedule your requirements appointments as soon as you arrive on campus, and keep appointments.

Costs

What should I do if my immunization records are not in English?

All health records you provide to Cornell Health must be in English. You and your health care provider may translate them. Please make sure your health care provider signs any translated records to authenticate the information.

What do I do if the names of immunizations in the United States are different than those in my home country?

Please send us your immunization records, and we will compare the immunizations you have received with immunizations given in the U.S. If your immunizations do not meet Cornell's requirements, we will contact you by secure message to give you instructions (you will receive an email at your Cornell email address to request that you log in to myCornellHealth to retrieve your message).

What if my home country doesn't offer the kind of vaccines that Cornell requires? Will I still be charged a late fee if I get my vaccinations once I get to campus?

  • You will not be assessed the late fee if you schedule and keep an appointment immediately upon arrival at Cornell.
  • See answer to the question above: "What can I do if I'm unable to complete the immunization requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?"

Can I get my tuberculosis (TB) screening test in my home country?

  • Yes ... if you are able to get one of the tests Cornell requires: Quantiferon-TB Gold or T-SPOT blood test. Skin tests do not meet this requirement.
  • If your TB test result was positive, you also must submit a chest x-ray report (no films, please).
  • If you cannot get one of the required tests at home, you must get your test as soon as you arrive at Cornell.
  • See answer to the question above: "What can I do if I'm unable to complete the immunization requirements prior to arriving at Cornell?"

Does Cornell's Student Health Plan and / or Student Health Fee cover required immunizations?

If I have waived Cornell's Student Health Plan, do I still have to complete the New Student Health Requirements?

Yes. Completing New Student Health Requirements is required of all new students, regardless of what health insurance they have or whether they ever intend to seek services at Cornell Health.

How do I obtain or release information from my health record at Cornell Health?

Please visit our Health Records page for information.

Are exemptions from the immunization requirements ever granted?

Immunization requirements are in place to protect the health of the community. Therefore, very few exemptions are allowed by New York State Public Health Law.* At present, two exemptions may be pursued: a medical exemption and a religious exemption.

IMPORTANT: Should you choose either form of exemption (medical or religious), please note that in the event of an outbreak of measles, mumps, or rubella on the Cornell campus, New York State law will require you to leave campus (even if you live in a Cornell residence hall or apartment or have a Cornell Dining contract) until the New York State Health Department has declared it safe for you to return. You will not be permitted to attend classes, laboratories, exams, or paid or volunteer positions; or to participate in any other campus activity. Your own assessment of the risk your presence on campus might pose to you or others will not factor in their decision.

  1. Medical exemption: The student's physician must provide a written statement of exemption, specifying which of the immunization products should not be administered, the reason, and how long the medical contraindication will last.
     
  2. Religious exemption: In order to qualify for a religious exemption, a student under 18 years old must submit a written statement signed by his/her parent(s) or guardian stating that they hold religious beliefs contrary to the practice of immunization. Students 18 years old or older must submit such a statement themselves to qualify for religious exemption.

    Statements must describe the beliefs in sufficient detail to permit the institution to determine that (1) the beliefs are religious in nature (not philosophical*), and (2) the beliefs are sincerely and genuinely held. Prior religious exemption statements addressed to other institutions are not considered valid.

    * New York State Public Health Law Section 2165 does not allow for philosophical exemptions.

Still have questions?

If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed in these FAQs, please contact our Requirements Office at immunization@cornell.edu or 607-255-4364. Note that during high-volume times, it may take staff members several days to respond.