Health Fee FAQs
Please refer to the Student Health Fee page for introductory information about Cornell's Student Health Fee.
What is a health fee?
University health fees are per-capita administrative fees used to fund on-campus health services. Typically, they are put in place because universities want to provide all students with access to on-campus care, regardless of restrictions of their private insurance plans.
Health fees are standard practice for universities nation-wide. Among Cornell's Ivy Plus peers, health fees range from $500 to $1,000 a year.
Who pays the health fee?
Degree-seeking students on the Ithaca campus pay the health fee if they are NOT enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) or Student Health Plan-Medicaid (SHP-M). The health fee gives these students the same pre-paid access to Cornell Health services as SHP members have.
The health fee may also apply to non-degree students who meet certain criteria (e.g., exchange students, students studying full time, summer students).
Students participating in off-campus programs, and non-degree undergraduate and professional students who are registered for less than 12 credit hours for a semester during the academic year, are exempt from paying the health fee.
Students whose status changes after paying the health fee may receive a refund if they:
- are away from the Ithaca campus for a full semester (50% refund per semester away from campus), OR
- ultimately enroll in the Student Health Plan effective from the beginning of the fall semester (100% refund) or from the beginning of the spring semester (50% refund)
REFUNDS: Refunds are available only when a student's status change is effective for the full semester. There are no pro-rated refunds.
Not sure if the health fee applies to you? Please contact us to speak with a Student Health Benefits staff member.
Important note: Non-degree students exempted from the health fee and not enrolled in SHP can still access campus health services, but must pay full charges at the time of care. They can submit reimbursement claims to their insurance plans. Learn more about paying for health care at Cornell Health.
How does the health fee work?
The health fee is applied to students' Bursar bills after they are approved to waive or appeal SHP, prior to the start of the academic year. (January admits pay for one semester only.)
Students can then access nearly all services at Cornell Health for a $10 visit copay, with no additional charges for lab tests, X-rays, and procedures performed at Cornell Health. Please refer to Cornell Health's Cost for Service page for details.
$10 visit co-pays can be Bursar-billed, or – if privacy is a concern – paid at the time of care.
How much is the health fee?
- Fall semester 2017: $179
- Spring semester 2018: $179
- Summer 2017: $100 (learn more about the health fee for summer students)
Does Financial Aid cover the health fee?
If you receive financial aid from
Cornell, your award will be based upon the estimated cost of
attendance, which (in 2017-18) includes $358 toward "health-related
costs." The estimated cost of attendance includes the $179/semester
student health fee, or – if you enroll in the Student
Health Plan (SHP) – $358 toward the SHP premium. Note that
if you enroll in SHP-M
and receive financial aid, your award will be revised to remove the $358 aid,
as SHP-M has $0 charge. Please consult the Financial Aid Information for Newly Admitted Students for
How long does my health fee benefit last?
Students who pay the health fee for the full academic year can access Cornell Health services as detailed above from August 1 to July 31 of the following year.
Students who pay the health fee for the fall semester have this benefit from August 1 to January 15. Students who pay the health fee for the spring semester have this benefit from January 16 to July 31.
Students who pay the health fee during the summer have this benefit for the duration of their program.
Can I be reimbursed for my child’s/dependent’s health fee through my health care account (e.g. flexible spending account, health savings account, health reimbursement account)?
If you are a Cornell University employee with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), the health fee charge can be reimbursed through your FSA or HSA. You will need to provide Pay Flex with a copy of the student’s bursar statement showing the charge for the health fee. If you have questions about Cornell health care accounts, please contact Benefits at Cornell.
If you are not a Cornell employee, please consult with your employer about whether your health care account will reimburse you for the health fee. If you need a receipt for the health fee, please use the student’s bursar statement.
If you have any questions, or if you need the charge for the fee to be split over two calendar years for reimbursement purposes, please contact us.
Where can I find additional information?
Questions? Please contact us.