Financial Aid Policies
Financial Aid Policies Overview
The college adheres to federal regulations and financial aid administrative guidelines established by Cornell. Awards are based upon the following assumptions and policies.
- Primary responsibility for meeting the costs of a veterinary education rests with the student and the student's family. Financial aid resources available from the college are viewed as supplemental to other resources. "Need" for this aid is based on the family's ability, rather than preference or intent, to help the student.
- The total amount of aid may not exceed a student's demonstrated need or educational budget.
- A student who accepts financial aid thereby accepts the standard allowances in the student budget and will be expected to provide complete documentation of any unusual expenses for which a budget adjustment is sought.
- In order to be eligible to receive financial aid, students must be registered as full-time students (defined as a minimum of 12 credits per semester).
- Recipients of financial aid must meet the college's academic standards and the college's policy on satisfactory academic progress in order to remain eligible. Failure to do so may result in the loss of financial aid.
- The final responsibility for awarding financial aid rests with the college and the university, following an analysis of each financial aid applicant's economic circumstances as documented by the applicant and the applicant's family.
- Questions about a financial aid award should be discussed with the director of student financial planning. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, an appeal may be made through the assistant dean for students and instruction.
- Scholarship award recipients are expected to send letters of acknowledgment to donors. Compliance with this policy will affect eligibility for future gift aid.
Sources of Funding
Each year, more than 90% of our veterinary students receive some form of need-based assistance. Typical financial aid packages are comprised of institutional gift aid, loans, and external scholarships, in addition to student earnings and parents' contributions.
Our college commits more that $2 million annually to provide financial assistance to students. We strive to make a Cornell veterinary degree accessible to a diverse student body, and to ensure that those with demonstrated financial need can afford to pursue their dream of becoming a veterinarian. All applicants for financial aid are automatically considered for any gift aid available through the college, providing they have supplied the necessary documentation.
In 2020-2021, our financial aid applicants received financial assistance from the following sources.
|Percentage of applicants
Loans (federal and campus-based)
Gift Aid (scholarships and fellowships)
Self-help (student earnings and parental contributions)
Outside Gift Aid (state grants and private scholarships)
All offers of financial aid are based on financial data provided by students and their families. We base awards of financial aid on a careful analysis of each student's need. Individual packages will vary depending on personal and curricular circumstances.
All students younger than age 30 on January 1 of the year of financial aid application are considered to be dependent on their families. The ability of the family to assist the student (rather than parental preference or intent) is the basis for determining eligibility for institutional aid, such as college grants and scholarships, and the Health Professions Student Loan (which is mandated by federal guidelines).
Students in graduate and professional programs seeking aid from the Federal Direct Loan programs and Federal Work Study are considered independent. Students who are seeking aid only from those programs need not provide parental data.
Federal verification is an important part of the financial aid application process. If you are selected for federal verification, the requirements must be met in order for us to disburse financial aid to your Bursar account.
Cornell’s federal verification deadline is the end of the term or academic year for which the student is enrolled, whichever is sooner. Federal verification materials must be submitted and reviewed before we can process and disburse any federal aid. Financial aid applications from students who are applying for institutional aid will not be considered complete until all materials have been submitted, including any items related to federal verification.
NOTE: Students should only complete federal verification documents if they have been selected for verification and have been notified by the Office of Student Financial Planning of their selection.
Students completing verification requirements for the current year academic year will need to verify prior - prior tax year income tax information (i.e. the income tax information for the tax year two years ago).
All verification documents should be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Planning with your application documents.
What Are the Requirements for Federal Verification?
- The Federal Verification Worksheet and supplemental documentation. Be sure that you are submitting the worksheet that corresponds to the academic year for which you are applying. Worksheets will be supplied by the Office of Student Financial Planning only if students are selected for verification.
- A complete, signed copy of the federal tax return that was submitted to the IRS.
Non-tax Filer Requirements
Non-tax filers must provide a non-filing statement with supporting W-2s and/or 1099s if there is earned income. This is part of our standard aid application requirements.
Individuals Who Filed an Amended IRS Income Tax Return
When the school is aware that an individual has filed an amended tax return, the school needs to collect the following documents to complete verification for that individual.
- A complete, signed copy of the federal tax return that was submitted to the IRS.
- A signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X that was filed with the IRS.
Individuals Who Were Victims of IRS Identity Theft
A victim of IRS identity theft must submit both of the following.
- A complete, signed copy of the federal tax return that was submitted to the IRS.
- A statement, signed and dated by the tax filer, indicating that he/she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS has been made aware of the tax-related identity theft.
Individuals Who Filed Non-IRS Income Tax Returns
The tax authorities for Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands charge a fee to obtain tax account information. Therefore, a tax filer who filed an income tax return with these tax authorities may provide Cornell with a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority.
A tax filer who filed an income tax return with the tax authority for American Samoa must provide Cornell with a copy of his or her tax account information if selected for verification since these tax authorities do not charge a fee to obtain this information.
A tax filer who filed an income tax return with tax authorities not mentioned above, i.e. a foreign tax authority, and who indicates that he or she is unable to obtain the tax account information free of charge, must provide Cornell with documentation that the tax authority charges a fee to obtain that information, along with a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority.
Individuals Granted a Filing Extension by the IRS
A tax filer who has been granted a filing extension by the IRS must provide Cornell with the following.
- A copy of IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return," that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2016 (For an individual who was called up for active duty or for qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, in lieu of IRS Form 4868, Cornell will accept a signed statement from the individual certifying that he or she has not filed an income tax return or a request for a filing extension because of that service)
- A copy of IRS approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2016
- Verification of Non-Filing Letter (confirmation that the tax return has not yet been filed) from the IRS or other relevant tax authority
- A copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for the tax year
- If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for the tax year
Please be advised that the Office of Student Financial Planning will NOT move forward with a review of a student's institutional financial aid eligibility until we have received a valid tax return that has been received and processed by the IRS. We will not accept draft returns or extension approvals.
Statement of Educational Purpose
You may be required to complete a Statement of Educational Purpose as part of the Federal Verification process. If you are unable to come to our office in person with unexpired valid government-issued photo identification, you may complete this Statement of Educational Purpose in the presence of a Notary Public.
This statement will need to be submitted to our office by mail or in person, as we are required to collect the original.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations (General Provision CRF 668.34) require that the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine review the academic progress of students who apply for and/or receive financial assistance.
Satisfactory academic progress is comprised of three areas as required by federal regulations. A student must complete their degree within a specified period, demonstrate they are progressing through their program at a pace that will ensure graduation within the maximum timeframe, and achieve a GPA that is consistent with meeting graduation requirements. This regulation applies to each financial aid applicant, whether a previous recipient or not.
This policy on satisfactory academic progress relates specifically to students who apply for and/or receive federal financial aid and/or Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine scholarships and grants. In addition to meeting the standard for receiving financial aid, students must also meet the academic standards defined in the University & College Policies section of the Student Handbook.
Financial Assistance Programs Affected
- Health Professions Student Loan
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Work Study/ VETSEP
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarships
Annual financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) evaluations will be completed at the end of each academic year and cannot take place until final grades have been posted. This review will determine academic eligibility for the upcoming summer, fall, and spring terms. Every student who applies for financial aid must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress, regardless of whether they are a first-time applicant or have received financial aid in the past. Any financial assistance offered for the year ahead is subject to cancelation if the minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress were not met in the year prior.
Incoming first year and new transfer students will be considered for financial aid for one academic year prior to the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress. At the end of the first academic year of attendance at Cornell University, all students will be evaluated based on the standards of their designated academic level. They will then be reviewed annually until graduation. Students who transfer to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in January will be evaluated at the end of their first semester.
When a student returns from a period of non-attendance from Cornell, all prior academic activity will be included in future SAP evaluations. Students will be notified of their failure to meet the SAP standards via their Cornell email account.
Maximum Timeframe for Degree Completion
College of Veterinary Medicine policies specify that a student must complete his/her degree within 150% of the published length of the program. The maximum time frame in the College of Veterinary Medicine is measured in credits. DVM students must complete 174.5 credits to graduate. Therefore, the maximum time frame for degree completion is 261.75 attempted credits (174.5 x 150% = 261.75). Students may petition the Curriculum Committee through the college registrar for additional semesters if extenuating circumstances exist.
Credits counted in the maximum time are all attempted credits (even when not a financial aid recipient). Attempted credits include
- Earned credits -Passed (A through D-), Satisfactory (S)(SX)
- Repeated courses - both attempts
- Failures - Failed (F), Unsatisfactory (U) (UX)
- All accepted transfer credits
Federal regulations do not allow for the exclusion of courses in which a student has remained past the drop period and earned a grade of W from its calculation of the maximum timeframe.
Required Completion Rate
Federal regulations require that a student must progress through their program at a pace that will ensure graduation within the maximum timeframe. Progress is measured for students cumulatively and is calculated using standard rounding rules. In order to graduate within the maximum timeframe, a student must earn at least 67 percent of their attempted credits. Earned credit hours include
- Grades of A through D-or S(X) (with credit)
- Transferred credits - provided they meet degree requirements
Required Grade Point Average
Federal regulations require the student to meet minimum cumulative GPA standards to retain eligibility for aid. To meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Earned letter grades of A, B, C, D, and F (including repeated courses) are counted toward the GPA. INC (incomplete), W (withdrawal), S(X)/U(X) (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory), and GPA from transfer credits are not counted toward the GPA.
Additionally, the Higher Education Act requires a specific review of GPA at the end of a student’s second academic year (after four semesters). Any student with a cumulative GPA under 2.0 after four semesters will be failing to meet SAP standards.
Treatment of Special Academic Situations
- Academic Amnesty/ Expulsion: Title IV regulations do not allow for academic amnesty or expulsion of grades. All courses applicable to a student’s major (whenever taken), are included when evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress.
- PE Coursework: Excluded from SAP evaluations and not eligible for Federal Aid.
- Remedial Coursework: Does not occur at the graduate or professional level at Cornell and as a result has no impact on SAP.
Failure to Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will lose their financial aid eligibility. They will be notified in writing of their status by the Office of Student Financial Planning. Students terminated from receiving financial aid can reestablish eligibility by successfully completing the cumulative credits and GPA required for SAP. Neither paying for one's classes nor sitting out a semester is sufficient to reestablish the financial aid eligibility of a student who has failed to meet SAP. If a special or unusual circumstance contributed to a student's lack of satisfactory academic progress, the student may appeal the denial of financial aid.
Financial Aid Appeal Process
The letter of denial from the Office of Student Financial Planning will describe the appeal process and a link to the appeal form will be provided. This form provides the opportunity to appeal for reinstatement of your student aid eligibility. This form should only be completed if you have encountered extenuating circumstances that prohibited you from meeting financial aid satisfactory academic progress.
Valid reasons for a SAP appeal include death of a relative, an injury or illness, or other extenuating circumstances. Circumstances related to an outbreak of COVID-19, including, but not limited to, the illness of a student or family member, compliance with a quarantine period, or the general disruption resulting from such an outbreak will also be considered under extenuating circumstances. Lack of awareness of withdrawal policies or requirements for financial aid satisfactory academic progress are not acceptable reasons to appeal.
The appeal must explain why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed in the situation that will allow the student to make SAP at the next evaluation. The Office of Student Financial Planning may request additional documentation at any point while evaluating an appeal. Documentation examples include but are not limited to a letter from a doctor, medical care provider, or objective third party (e.g. a minister, social worker, counselor, facilitator, or other professional) that supports the student’s situation.
The appeal must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Planning within the College of Veterinary Medicine for evaluation. The director will respond to the appeal in writing within two weeks of receiving the complete appeal.
If the appeal is approved and the college determines that the student should be able to meet cumulative SAP standards by the end of the fall semester, the student may receive aid during the fall semester while on financial aid probation. If the appeal is approved and the college determines that the student will require more than one semester to meet cumulative SAP standards, the college may develop an academic plan specifically for the student and the student may receive aid during the fall semester while on financial aid probation. All students on financial aid probation during the fall semester will have their SAP reevaluated before the spring semester. To remain eligible for financial aid during the spring semester, the student must be meeting cumulative SAP standards, or standards specified in their academic plan. Students who fail to make SAP by the end of the fall semester will have their future financial aid eligibility terminated and will be notified in writing by the Office of Student Financial Planning. As stated previously, students terminated from receiving financial aid can reestablish eligibility by successfully earning the cumulative credits and GPA required for SAP.
If the appeal is denied by the Director of Student Financial Planning, the student will be notified by email of the decision. This notification will also make the student aware of their opportunity to respond and provide more information and documentation regarding their extenuating circumstances, if applicable. While there is no official appeal deadline, all information should be submitted during the term the student is seeking aid, and not after.
Federal regulations prevent a student from submitting the same appeal two semesters in a row. However, there is no limit to the number of appeals a student can submit if they can document there are new circumstances preventing the student from making SAP. Similarly, there is no limit to the number of semesters a student can be on financial aid probation as long as an approved appeal or academic plan is in place and the student continues to make progress toward their degree.
No student shall be denied access to financial aid or be discriminated against otherwise because of race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, or disability.
The admissions process will in no way be influenced by the need for financial aid. All information relating to an applicant's personal or familial financial circumstances is held in strictest confidence.