Students Studying In Absentia

Information for distance-learning students

Students participating in distance learning this fall are required to have insurance that meets Cornell’s requirements, and will be enrolled in SHP. However, a temporary SHP waiver may be available to some students: see details here.

Cornell's health insurance requirements also apply to students studying in absentia. The following information explains what these requirements mean to you. 

Automatic Student Health Plan (SHP) enrollment 

Each year, full-time registered students – including those studying in absentia – are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) to ensure that they have health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements. 

Automatic SHP enrollment takes place each June for the following academic year, and each December for students starting in the spring. 

Exception: Students who are eligible for and enroll in Cornell's Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+) are exempt from the annual SHP enrollment process.

About SHP

SHP is a platinum-level plan designed with input from Cornell students to support your health care needs anywhere in the world. Learn more about SHP's benefits, how to find participating providers in your area, and how to use SHP abroad.

Waiving SHP

If you have private insurance that meets Cornell’s requirements for alternate health insurance – or will be outside the United States, studying in your home country – you can opt out of your SHP coverage in one of two ways:

  • Students studying in the U.S. may submit an application to waive SHP in lieu of an alternate U.S.-based insurance plan that meets Cornell's requirements (not available to international students in the U.S., who must stay enrolled in SHP). For academic-year students, the waiver application deadline is July 31; for spring entrants, the application deadline is December 31.
  • International students studying in their home country may submit a petition to waive their SHP coverage. You can request a petition form by emailing

Additional coverage (optional) 

  • Dental & vision coverage: Students may also choose to enroll in Cornell's Dental Plan and / or Vision Plan, whether or not they enroll in SHP. (SHP+ provides dental and vision coverage as part of the plan.)
  • Enrolling dependents: Students with partners or families can enroll dependents in SHP, or in Cornell's Dental Plan and / or Vision Plan (students must be enrolled in the respective plan before enrolling spouses, domestic partners, or children.


Please contact us.