Health History FAQs

Please refer to our New Student Requirements page for general information related to submitting your Health History Form, and meeting your immunization requirements.

Frequently asked questions:

Where is the online Health History Form located?

The link to the Health History Form – along with detailed instructions for completing the form – is available through your New Student To-Do list (newstudents.cornell.edu).

How (and where) should I send my printed and signed Health History Form?

After you submit your Health History Form online, a pdf of your submitted form will be automatically generated through the online submission tool. Print and sign the pdf, and bring it to your health care provider for required information and signatures. Send the signed copy of the pdf to Cornell Health using one of the following three options:

  • Mail a hard copy to us at: Cornell Health Requirements Office, 110 Ho Plaza, Ithaca, NY14853-3101
  • Fax it to Cornell health (Attn: Requirements Office) at 607-255-0269
  • Use Cornell's online dropbox (Note: usage requires an active Cornell NetID)
    NOTE: When using Cornell's DropBox, please address your message to Louanne Ferri (LAF16) (Cornell Health Requirements Office). During high-traffic times, it may take several days for your form to be opened for review.
  • You may email health history information to immunization@cornell.edu, but please be aware that its security cannot be guaranteed. Email is NOT a secure form of communication.

Please send your completed Health History Form only ONCE, using one of the methods listed above; and allow at least 15 business days for your form to be processed.

How can I confirm receipt of my Health History Form and/or compliance status?

Due to the volume of forms we process each year, we are not able to individually confirm receipt of your Health History Form. You may, however, check your immunization compliance 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?

Visit Health History Compliance for instructions.

What if I submitted my form before it was complete? Or ... how do I correct a mistake I have made on the online portion of the Health History Form?

Once your form has been submitted, you cannot make any changes to it electronically. You can, however, make additions or changes in ink to the printed copy. When we receive your printed form, we will make the necessary changes electronically.

My form is going to be late. Is this a problem?

We ask that you mail your form as close to the submission deadline as possible. If that is not possible, then mail it as soon you can. Allow at least 15 business days for processing. Our goal is to process all forms prior to the $100 penalty date of August 4, 2017 (January 5, 2018 for spring 2018 entrants). 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 the Health History Form?

If you were enrolled at Cornell last year, then no. If you are returning to Cornell after taking time off, then you must complete certain parts of the form. Sign in to your New Student To-Do list (newstudents.cornell.edu) for specific instructions. As part of the process, you also will be asked to sign in to myCornellHealth to make sure your immunizations are up to date.

Do I have to have a physical exam?

It is recommended that ALL students complete a physical exam no more than 18 months prior to entering Cornell. However, any student planning to participate in an NCAA sport must have a physical exam performed after March 1, 2017.

Does my doctor/primary care provider have to sign the Health History Form?

If you are able to provide authentic documentation of immunizations and/or a completed physical (such as school or military records), your form does not require a health care provider's signature (exception: NCAA athletes require a physician's signature).

If you are not able to submit authentic documentation for the immunization section and/or the physical sections, it is mandatory that you have your doctor or primary care provider sign your form before mailing it to Cornell Health. Forms will not be processed without authentic documentation or appropriate signatures. 

What are the immunization requirements?

Please review our New Student Requirements page.

Where do I find my immunization records?

Check for your immunization records at any school you have attended, or with your physician's office. Military records are also 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 home 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 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.

STEP ONE: Consult with our Requirements Office staff:

Please note that appointments cannot be scheduled by email.

STEP TWO: Schedule an immunization appointment:

  • When you consult with our Requirements Office, Cornell Health staff members will assist you in scheduling a second appointment to get your required immunizations.

Late fees / registration delays: You will not be subject to late fees or registration delays if you schedule your immunization appointment as soon as you arrive on campus, and keep your appointment.  

Cost: The charges for immunizations are covered by Cornell’s Student Health Plan (SHP). They are not covered by Cornell’s Student Health Fee, so students with non-Cornell insurance plans should check their health plan information for coverage.

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

You and your health care provider may translate them. Please have your health care provider sign the form 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 American immunizations. 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.

Can I get my tuberculosis screening in my home country?

No, your TB screening must be conducted at Cornell Health. (Alternatives arrangements may be made for students in programs outside of Ithaca. Please contact the Requirements Office for details.)

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

Charges for required immunizations are covered by Cornell’s Student Health Plan (SHP), and by some private insurance plans (check your plan details), but are not covered by the Student Health Fee.

If I have waived or appealed Cornell's Student Health Plan, do I still have to submit a Health History Form?

Yes. Submitting a Health History Form is required of all new students.

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 NY State Public Health Law. At present, the following two exemptions may be pursued:

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.

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

Still have questions?

If you have a question 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.