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Cornell is a private, not-for-profit university in Ithaca, New York. Ithaca is a small city, allowing students to easily get familiar with its attractions. Students can also venture out beyond the city and learn about the surrounding area. The physical setting is tree-filled, with natural waterfalls to enjoy. The student to faculty ratio is 9 to 1, allowing professors and students to easily meet with each other as needed. Cornell University was founded in 1865, so it has been educating students for well over one hundred years. Campus housing is available for students who need a place to live while they are in school; shouldering an additional expense, such as rent and/or utilities may be beyond their budget.

Overview of Cornell University (CU)

High school graduates who passed advanced placement exams are also able to have AP credits accepted for credits at Cornell. This helps them to use those credits for their required credit load in college. If students cannot move to Ithaca to take classes, online education is available for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Cornell University is well-known for its research activities; it’s no surprise that its Carnegie classification among doctoral universities is noted as having very high research activity.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 9:1
Graduation Rate 95%
Year Founded 1865

Student Enrollment

Total Students23,600


Undergraduate Student

Male 6,984
Female 8,198

Graduate Student

Male 3,872
Female 4,546

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CU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 26,342
Female 24,982


Male 2,371
Female 2,998

Acceptance Rate11%

Male   9%
Female 12%

Enrollment 3,387

Male 2,100
Female 1,999
Application Fee $80
High School GPA Considered But Not Required
High School Rank Considered But Not Required
High School Transcripts Recommended
College Prep Courses Considered But Not Required
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline November 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

CU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

The cost or average net price of attending Cornell for students and their families is $28,890. This is the amount of tuition, fees, and books remaining once financial aid has paid for the bulk of the cost of the student’s education. The net price per student is based on their parents’ income. The less the family earns, the less they must pay to the university. Thus:

  • Families that earn up to $30,000 pay $6,048
  • Families with an income of $30,001 to $48,000 pay $6,918
  • Families with an income of $48,001 to $75,000 pay $13,653
  • Families with an income of $75,001 to $110,000 pay $22,588
  • Families with an income of $110,001+ pay $47,090

60% of beginning students receive financial aid; the average amount is $2,022. Grants and scholarships make up 49% of the aid provided, at an average of $41,405 and institutional grants and scholarships make up 46% of the aid granted, at an average amount of $40,638.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $28,890
Average Total Aid $41,405
Students Receiving Financial Aid 60%
Room & Board $15,246

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $57,222
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $57,222
  • Books and Supplies - $970
  • Room & Board - $15,246
  • Other - $2,820


The retention rate at Cornell University is 97%. The university measures the percentage at which first-year students return for their second year of instruction, which helps students gauge how well previous students graded the instruction they received.

The four-year graduation rate is 88%; the six-year graduation rate is 95%. While four years has long been the “normal” graduation rate, it has more recently been extended to six years as students take longer to complete their degrees.

The low student-to-faculty ratio may have some bearing on the high rates of graduation; when students receive more attention from a professor, they may feel more valued by the school and their professors. The total student population is around 23,600; the student body is composed of 15,000+ undergraduates and 8,400+ graduate students.

There are no evening classes at Cornell. However, students who aren’t able to attend daytime classes can opt for distance learning (online-only classes). This option is good for students who are working or who have families.

The most popular degree programs include agriculture majors, business majors, engineering majors except aerospace engineering, biological and biomedical sciences, and several social science majors.

Cornell University holds an institutional accreditation and several programmatic accreditations.

Student Population Total

Student Population 23,600

Evening Classes : No
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Engineering Majors 581 Total Graduates / 15%
Mechanical Engineering 138 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 86 Graduates
Operations Research 77 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 71 Graduates
Agricultural Engineering 50 Graduates
All Business Majors 573 Total Graduates / 15%
Hotel/Motel Administration/Management 292 Graduates
Labor and Industrial Relations 281 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 524 Total Graduates / 14%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 272 Graduates
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other 208 Graduates
Biometry/Biometrics 35 Graduates
Entomology 9 Graduates
All Computer Information Science Majors 464 Total Graduates / 12%
Computer Science 331 Graduates
Information Technology 105 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences, General 28 Graduates
Agriculture, Agriculture Operations & Related Sciences 439 Total Graduates / 12%
Agricultural Economics 189 Graduates
Animal Sciences, General 94 Graduates
Agriculture, General 76 Graduates
Food Science 33 Graduates
Plant Sciences, General 29 Graduates
All Social Science Majors 303 Total Graduates / 8%
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics 162 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 84 Graduates
Sociology 42 Graduates
Anthropology 7 Graduates
Economics, General 4 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 24%

Outcome & Salary

Graduates of Cornell University can anticipate earning a good salary when they begin to work. The average salary is $84,000. Their early career salary is $70,100 and their mid-career salary is closer to $128,200. This gives students a good return on investment or ROI. The 10-year projected ROI is $724,440; their 20-year projected ROI is $2,006,440. The 10-year salary earning potential is $840,000 and 20-year salary earning potential is $2,122,000.

High school graduates usually only expect to earn an annual salary of $38,792. Their 10-year projected income is $370,600 and the 20-year projected income is $775,840.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $70,100
College Grads Average Salary $84,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $128,200
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $840,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $2,122,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $115,560
10 Year Projected ROI $724,440
20 Year Projected ROI $2,006,440
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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