Cornell College Debt Reduction Pledge

When making your college plans there are a lot of questions to ask. What schools offer the majors and programs that excite me and will set me up for success? Where will I get the education best suited to how I learn? Which one feels like home? And, when you find the right one, can I afford to do this?

Cornell is committed to partnering with our students to make sure you can afford a private liberal arts education at an institution that offers you a strong support system and a flexible, personalized, pathway to complete your bachelor’s degree. That’s why we’re launching our Debt Reduction Pledge for qualified students for fall semester 2022.

What is the Cornell Debt Reduction Pledge?

Our Debt Reduction Pledge is Cornell’s way to help ease the burden of worrying about student loans before you even start your education. When you are accepted to the program Cornell commits to pay half of your total federal student debt upon graduation—up to $12,000—when you graduate from Cornell in four years. This payment will be made directly to your federal student loan servicer, on your behalf, before your first student loan payment is due.

The Debt Reduction Pledge works in conjunction with all of Cornell’s current financial assistance support and will not impact any aid, scholarships, work study, or other funding you will receive as an admitted student.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, Cornell will enroll 65 first-year students into the program.

"At Cornell, we are working to make sure all of our students can afford college. This Pledge is one more thing we can do to help them take their next steps in life with fewer financial worries." –Wendy Beckemeyer, Vice President for Enrollment Management

How does it work, exactly?

There are two possible scenarios for your federal student loan repayment, either you leave Cornell with less than $24,000 in student debt and we pay half of your total student loan debt (example 1) or you leave Cornell with more than $24,000 in student loan debt and we pay $12,000 directly to your loan (example 2).

Example 1 Student Loan Debt
First Year $3,500
Second Year $4,500
Third Year $5,500
Fourth Year $5,500
Total Loan Debt $19,000
Cornell pays at graduation $9,500
Your remaining loan debt $9,500
Estimated monthly payments
using 3.73% interest rate
and 10 year repayment term
$70
Example 2 Student Loan Debt
First Year $5,500
Second Year $6,500
Third Year $7,500
Fourth Year $7,500
Total Loan Debt $27,000
Cornell pays at graduation $12,000
Your remaining loan debt $15,000
Estimated monthly payments
using 3.73% interest rate
and 10 year repayment term
$150

What is required to participate in the Debt Reduction Pledge?

Students who wish to participate in the program need to be admitted to Cornell College and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After you are admitted to Cornell, you will complete our Debt Reduction Pledge application. In March we will notify you if you have been formally enrolled in the program.

During your four years at Cornell you will need to

  • Live in Cornell College residential housing
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student all four years
  • Graduate in good academic standing after four years

How do I get started?

If you have questions about the Debt Reduction Pledge you can contact your Admission Counselor or email debtreduction@cornellcollege.edu for more information.