Students Studying Abroad

Cornell requires all students to have quality health insurance (see Cornell's Requirements). The following information explains how these requirements apply to students studying abroad outside of the United States. 

Automatic Student Health Plan (SHP) enrollment 

Each year, all full-time Cornell students – including those who plan to study abroad – are automatically enrolled in Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) to ensure that they have health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements. Exception: Some students may be eligible for Cornell's Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+).

SHP and SHP+ provide excellent international coverage, with benefits available to you at the participating provider care level. See "Using SHP / SHP+ abroad" below for more detail.

Waiving SHP

Eligible domestic students who have alternate health insurance that meets Cornell's requirements may apply to waive their SHP enrollment. Students must submit a SHP waiver application annually to demonstrate that their insurance meets the university's requirements. Learn more about waiving SHP.

Health insurance while abroad

University-provided travel insurance 

Effective July 1, 2020, all registered travelers on Cornell-related international travel are fully covered – at no cost to the traveler – under Cornell’s accident, sickness, and emergency care insurance plan.

This insurance acts as primary coverage (will be used first and supersedes all other medical insurance) for urgent and emergent medical expenses and emergency mental health expenses, among other expenses, and works in tandem with Cornell’s 24/7 travel assistance.

NOTE: Cornell's international travel insurance does not, by itself, meet Cornell's health insurance requirements, and cannot be used to waive SHP. 

Using SHP / SHP+ abroad

Cornell's Student Health Plan (SHP) and Student Health Plan Plus (SHP+) provide international coverage that supplements the university's international travel insurance, including coverage for:

  • expenses incurred during personal travel or vacation not related to a Cornell travel trip
  • routine (non-emergency) or ongoing medical or mental health care, which is not covered by Cornell’s international travelers insurance

Learn more by visiting our Using SHP Abroad or Using SHP+ Abroad page.


Please contact us by phone, email, or – if you're in Ithaca – by stopping by our offices at Cornell Health.