Early Start Students

Cornell requires all students to have quality health insurance (see Cornell Requirements) for the duration of their academic program.

The following information explains how these requirements apply to new students in early-start programs that begin before August 1, before the official start of the academic year.

(If you are participating in a summer-only program, like Summer College or Summer Sessions, visit our Summer Students page.)

Automatic SHP enrollment 

Each year, full-time registered students are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) as part of university policy requiring all students to have quality health insurance. (Exception: NY State Medicaid-eligible students may enroll in the Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+) instead of SHP.)

Eligible students who have alternate health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements may apply to waive their SHP enrollment.

The SHP academic plan year begins on August 1.

If you are a new student whose program begins before August 1 ...

Automatic summer SHP enrollment:

You will be automatically enrolled in SHP for the duration of your summer program, before the academic-year SHP plan begins on August 1. Your coverage will begin on the first of the month during which your program begins, and will remain active during each month that your program spans. The monthly premium – applicable for the months during which your coverage is active – will be applied to your Bursar bill. 

Your program will provide you with your SHP enrollment dates and premium information. You may also contact us for details. 

Waiving SHP:

Domestic students who have alternate health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements may submit an application to waive your SHP enrollment (not available to international students, who must stay enrolled in SHP.) 

2020 application period: The waiver application period begins in late May / early June. The waiver application deadline is June 30.

   > Submit a SHP waiver application <

IMPORTANT: Your fall 2020 SHP enrollment status

Your summer insurance decision will also apply for the coming academic year.

If you choose to stay enrolled in SHP, or to waive SHP in lieue of private insurance, your summer enrollment or waiver status will be rolled over for the academic-year SHP term that begins August 1 (you will NOT need to submit a second waiver application). If you want to change your enrollment / waiver status for the coming academic year, please contact us.

Please note: Our summer waiver approval and denial decisions will be based on the assumption that students will be attending in-person classes this fall. 

If Cornell makes the decision to hold all classes online this fall, the university may eliminate the requirement for students to have insurance that provides 40% coinsurance or better coverage for health care where they are attending school. If your summer waiver application is denied based on this requirement, you will receive a provisional denial, which will be converted to a waiver approval if classes are held online in the fall. 


Please contact us.