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International Students

Mandatory SHP enrollment

Full-time registered Cornell students are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) each year.

International students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) are required to stay on SHP. Exceptions are granted under rare circumstances; see below.

Based on an extensive study conducted by Cornell's Student Health Benefits Advisory Committee, this SHP requirement ensures that international students have access to affordable health care on campus ... and anywhere else in the United States and abroad. 

Mandatory SHP coverage also mitigates the complexities and expense of health care in the U.S., and prevents aggressive marketing from providers of inadequate insurance plans.

SHP benefits:

  • Provides extensive coverage at a reasonable cost for most on- or off-campus health care
  • Provides coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, anywhere in the world
  • For students in Ithaca, provides coordination of services by Cornell Health and a preferred provider network that includes the local hospital
  • Covers pre-existing health conditions
  • Guards against catastrophic expenses
  • Continues coverage when students have to take a leave of absence
  • Meets or exceeds all F-1 and J-1 visa requirements
  • Meets or exceeds all Federal, State, and American College Health Association standards for health insurance
  • Exceeds the requirements of the U.S. Affordable Care Act (health care reform law)
  • Includes world-wide travel assistance and emergency air transportation services
  • Offers optional dental and vision plans
  • Provides convenient assistance with enrollment and claims submission through the Office of Student Health Benefits

> Learn more about using SHP


Each year, you will be automatically enrolled in SHP for the following academic year. You will be responsible for paying the premium that appears on your Bursar bill (July bill for fall entrants, and December bill for spring spring entrants). Learn more about premium rates and coverage dates.

Exceptions to the mandatory SHP enrollment policy

Exceptions may be granted to international students who are covered by a U.S.-based, employer-sponsored, group health plan; please contact the Office of Student Health Benefits for details no later than July 31.

Ithaca students who are not covered by SHP pay a student health fee to support access to health services on campus.

Optional Dental & Vision Plans

SHP does NOT include dental and vision coverage. If you anticipate wanting to see a dentist or eye doctor (or getting glasses or contacts) in the United States*, consider enrolling in Cornell’s optional Dental Plan and/or Vision Plan to avoid paying full price for care.

*If you need care for an injury to your eyes or teeth, that would be considered medical care and would be covered under SHP.


Please contact Cornell's Office of Student Health Benefits.

Contact Information

Student Health Benefits
Cornell Health
110 Ho Plaza, Level 6
Ithaca NY 14853