International Students

Cornell requires all students to have quality health insurance (see Cornell's requirements). The following information explains how these requirements apply to international students. 

Student Health Plan (SHP) enrollment 

Students enrolled in a full-time (non-distance learning) Cornell program are required to confirm enrollment annually prior to the start of the academic year or they will be 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 August for the following academic year, and each January for students starting in the spring.

SHP is a platinum-level plan designed with input from Cornell students to support your health care needs in anywhere in the United States and abroad. Learn more about SHP.

Mandatory SHP coverage for international students

International students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) are required to stay enrolled in SHP, unlike domestic students who may apply to waive their SHP enrollment.

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 anywhere in the United States. 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.

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

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.

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).  


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