All financial assistance information is subject to change per Department of Education and federal regulations.
Applying for Financial Assistance
Cornell Financial Assistance Programs
Federal Financial Assistance Programs
State of Iowa Financial Assistance Programs
Tuition Exchange Program
Continuing Education Students
Financial Aid for Off-Campus Programs
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
The fundamental purpose of Cornell’s financial assistance program is to make it possible for students of all incomes to attend Cornell. The college believes the family has the primary responsibility for financing education and should make a maximum effort to assist the student with college expenses. Financial assistance is intended to supplement the efforts of the student and her or his family.
Students are awarded financial assistance on the basis of financial need as determined by the federal needs analysis formula and institutional policies. The financial assistance award may consist of scholarship, grant, employment, and loan. The amount and type of assistance may vary from one year to the next depending upon awarding formulas and family circumstances.
Students who receive financial assistance are allowed to receive a maximum of 31 course credits of institutional funds (eight terms per year).
Students who register in any year for fewer than eight terms will have a reduction in their financial aid as well as a reduction in their costs. Consult the Office of Financial Assistance for details.
To receive financial assistance a student must meet the following criteria: have earned a high school diploma, a high school equivalency diploma in a home school setting, or a General Education Degree (GED); be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program; be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen; make satisfactory academic progress according to the institution’s policy; sign a statement of educational purpose/certification statement on refunds and default; and, male students must register with the Selective Service.
The drug conviction provision constitutes a new student eligibility requirement contained in the Higher Education Act (HEA) effective July 1, 2000. It provides that a student’s eligibility for Federal student aid is suspended if the student is convicted, under Federal or State law, of any offense involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance (generally meaning illegal drugs, but not including alcohol or tobacco). Any such suspension of eligibility begins on the date of the conviction and lasts until the end of a statutorily specified period. The suspension ranges from one year to indefinite, depending upon the number and type of convictions. A student may regain eligibility early by completing a drug rehabilitation program that meets certain statutory and regulatory requirements (including two unannounced drug tests), or if the conviction is overturned. For more information about the Drug Conviction regulation, please contact the Financial Assistance Office at 319-895-4216.
To apply for financial assistance, students must complete the federal financial aid form and submit required financial documents to the Office of Financial Assistance prior to March 1. Following March 1, funds are awarded on an “as available” basis. The federal financial assistance form may be obtained from the student’s high school, from Cornell, or completed via the internet. Students must apply for financial assistance each year.
Merit scholarships and awards are awarded to first-year and transfer* students. Scholarships and awards are only awarded to students in their matriculation year to Cornell College. Students with merit-based scholarships and/or awards, either academic or fine arts, must maintain the renewal criteria listed below. Please contact the Admission Office for specific scholarship amounts.
If a student forfeits a scholarship or an award, s/he will NOT be awarded a different scholarship or award, though eligible students may be awarded additional need-based aid. A student will not be awarded an additional award or have a scholarship upgraded based upon her/his academic performance at the college. Grades earned at another college do not apply toward the GPA renewal requirement, i.e., only grades earned at Cornell are applicable.
Note: Scholarship amounts may be adjusted for students living with parent(s). Contact the Admission Office for specific amounts.
*Transfer students who enter with junior status may retain their scholarship/award for a maximum of 18 terms, 2 years, or until graduation, whichever occurs first; sophomore status, a maximum of 27 terms, 3 years, or until graduation, whichever occurs first; first-year status, a maximum of 32 terms, 3 1/2 years, or until graduation, whichever occurs first.
Academic Scholarship Renewal
Academic scholarships and awards are renewable annually if you make satisfactory academic progress, with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
Fine Arts Scholarship Renewal
Fine arts scholarships and awards are renewable annually if you make satisfactory academic progress, with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Please be sure to read the specific eligibility and participation requirements for renewal of the Fine Arts awards and scholarships as listed at the following link:
Institutional Need-Based Gift and Self-Help Financial Assistance
- Ministerial Awards are available to children of ordained clergy, regardless of denomination, as long as the clergy’s chief employment is either in a parish ministry or a ministry directly supported by the church. Awards are based upon financial need as determined by the federal needs analysis formula and institutional policies.
- Cornell Grants/Endowed Scholarships are funds made available by the college and are based on the financial need from the federal and financial aid form (FAFSA), and students must file the FAFSA every year. Grant amounts may vary each year depending upon financial need.
- Mabel Sherman Loan The interest rate for the Mabel Sherman loan will be determined based on the usury rate in accordance with the provisions of the Iowa code section 535.2(3)(a), on July 1, 2013. As of March 1, 2013 the usury rate is 4.0%. The set interest rate after July 1 will be below the usury rate at that time. Interest will accrue six (1) year after you leave school or are enrolled less than half time. Repayment shall not exceed 10 years.
- McElroy Loan The interest rate for the McElroy loan will be determined based on the usury rate in accordance with the provisions of the Iowa code section 535.2(3)(a), on July 1, 2013. As of March 1, 2013 the usury rate is 4.0%. The set interest rate after July 1 will be below the usury rate at that time. Interest will accrue six (6) months after you leave school or are enrolled less than half time. Repayment shall not exceed 10 years.
- Federal Pell Grants are available to students with exceptional financial need, as determined by the Department of Education.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant- (SEOG) are available to students with exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell recipients.
- Federal TEACH Grant Program provides up to $4,000 a year in grant assistance to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate students who agree to serve for at least four years as full-time “highly qualified” teachers in high need fields (see http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/pol/tsa.doc) AND in public or not-for-profit private elementary or secondary schools that serve students from low-income families (seehttps://www.tcli.ed.gov/CBSWebApp/tcli/TCLIPubSchoolSearch.jsp). Final funding for the TEACH grant is pending congressional action. A TEACH Grant recipient who doesNOT complete the required teaching service within eight years of completing his/her academic program, or fails to meet other requirements of the TEACH Grant Program, MUST replay the TEACH Grant as a Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan with interest, accrued from the date the TEACH Grant was disbursed.
- Federal Work Study provides on-campus employment opportunities for students with demonstrated financial need. Work awards are typically $800-$2,000 per year.
- Direct Stafford Loans are need-based, long-term, low-interest loans. Repayment begins six months after graduation, withdrawal, or a drop to less than half-time enrollment. Amounts of the loan are determined by the student’s year in college and enrollment status. Per federal regulations all students must attend an entrance and an exit interview session.
- Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are long-term, low-interest loans available to all students regardless of financial need or family income. Repayment begins six months after graduation, withdrawal, or a drop to less than half-time enrollment. Amounts of the loan are determined by the student's year in college and enrollment status. Per federal regulations all students must complete an entrance and an exit interview session.
- Perkins Loans are need-based, long-term, low-interest loans. The loan is a joint Cornell College-federal program. Repayment begins nine months after graduation, withdrawal, or a drop to less than half-time enrollment. The Perkins Loan is repaid to Cornell College. Funds as available.
Iowa Tuition Grants are available to students who are Iowa residents, attend a private Iowa college, and demonstrate financial need. Application deadline for the Iowa Tuition Grant is July 1.
Associated Colleges of the Midwest, National Tuition Exchange, and Faculty/Staff Tuition Scholarships provide up to full tuition (not including room, board, or fees) for a student whose parent is employed at a participating college. This program is sometimes referred to as “tuition remission.” Please contact Tuition Remission Officer Cindi Reints in the Office of Financial Assistance for additional information and eligibility requirements.
All students receiving the tuition exchange benefit must apply for financial aid each year. All federal, state, or institutional grant or scholarship monies for which a student may qualify will be deducted from the tuition exchange amount. Student loan eligibility may be included in the award to assist with room and board costs.
Tuition exchange benefits cannot be used for any type of off-campus programs such as ACM, SIT, consortium, or contractual programs. Please contact the Office of Financial Assistance with questions.
Continuing Education students may apply for the Federal Pell Grant, Iowa Tuition Grant, and Stafford Student Loan. Continuing Education students are not eligible to receive institutional financial assistance funds.
To receive financial assistance, Continuing Education students must be registered as degree-seeking students or completing a teaching certificate.
Students may apply their “need-based” aid toward a Cornell-affiliated off-campus program if they have been approved by the Academic Standing Committee to attend (see Off-Campus Programs). Cornell will then pay the host institution of the off-campus program. If the cost of the program is more than Cornell’s charges for a semester, the student must pay the difference. Please contact the Business Office for further information on costs and payments.
Please contact the Office of Financial Assistance to discuss your off-campus program and what financial aid might be available.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
The Cornell College Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply to all students who wish to establish or maintain financial assistance eligibility. It is the responsibility of all students to be familiar with these standards.