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Digital Family Resources

Panoramic view of Cornell with moon on the skyline

Welcome to the Cornell family! We have assembled these links to help families of new students find answers to commonly asked questions. If you still have questions after reviewing the materials on this page, email the New Student Programs staff.

Topics include:


Enrollment & Finances

Academics & Advising



Safety & Well-Being

Who Do I Contact?



We recognize that families want to make travel plans for their students often times many months in advance to secure the best travel offers and availability. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the university is working with campus partners, as well as local and state resources, to protect the health and well-being of the Cornell community. Learn more about Cornell and COVID planning.

Enrollment & Finances


University registration is the official recognition of a student’s relationship with the university and allows a student basic access to campus resources. A student must register every semester to maintain enrollment. Registration requirements include items such as paying the tuition bill and meeting health requirements. Course enrollment is separate from university registration.

Learn more about university registration.

Does your student need a certificate of enrollment or degree for financial, health insurance, or other reasons?


The Office of the Bursar oversees the activities involved in billing and collecting tuition, fees, and other charges incurred by students, as well as student loans. Tuition expenses are billed in early August (fall semester) and early December (spring semester). Learn about payment options.

Cornell University provides a wide range of financing options to make education affordable. Students who applied for financial aid will receive communication directly from the Office of Financial Aid. Learn more about financial aid for newly admitted students and financial aid for current students.

Academics & Advising

The academic transition to Cornell can be difficult for new students. It often takes some time before students feel comfortable with their new academic demands. Your student should remember that they belong at Cornell and that there are many services and resources available to them. Encourage your student to take advantage of academic supports such as faculty office hours, study groups, review sessions, and support centers including the Tatkon Center for First-Year Students, the Learning Strategies Center, and the Writing Workshop.

Each college has their own advising structure. The goal for the student in an academic advising relationship should be to obtain useful advice about educational interests and to design an appropriate program of study to enhance and develop those interests.

Your student may work with both a faculty advisor and a professional staff advisor in their area of study.


When a student enrolls at Cornell University, regardless of their age, they are protected under FERPA – the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – a federal law passed in 1974. All educational institutions that receive federal funding, including Cornell, must comply with FERPA.

Before your student begins attending Cornell, families are encouraged to discuss how they will keep an open dialogue about student experiences, enrollment, and grades.

While most information is available only to the enrolled student, where the university believes that it is in the dependent student's best interest, information from the student’s education records may, at the university’s discretion, be released to parents or legal guardians.

Cornell and FERPA resources.


It takes time for students to build community and a sense of belonging when they begin their college career. For students living on campus, the residential experience is usually the first place that students begin to meet others. All residence halls have trained student and professional staff who offer programming opportunities.

As students become more settled at Cornell, their college will be another opportunity to find community through classwork, study groups, and other affiliations.

Beyond academic and residential life, there is an array of opportunities for students to get involved. The resource centers, advising units, and affinity groups that comprise the Office of the Dean of Students focus on identity development, student support, and advocacy, and create opportunities for students to explore the intersectionality of identity development.

Safety & Well-Being

Cornell is a caring community. We reach out to each other in times of need and work together to build a better place. Cornell has a multiplicity of consultation and support services available to meet the emotional, physical, social, and spiritual needs of the university community.

If you are concerned about your student’s well-being call the office of the Dean of Students at (607) 255-1115.

Campus safety, emergency preparedness, and other information.

Who do I Contact?

Cornell views families as partners in supporting their student’s well-being at Cornell. Due to student privacy, if a parent or legal guardian contacts Cornell University with a question regarding their student, university officials may be limited in what information they are able to share.

For day-to-day matters, it is most effective to encourage your student to contact the person or office directly. If you have general inquiries or are looking for a telephone number, contact, or email address, call Visitor Relations at (607) 254-INFO (4636) to speak to an information specialist, who will answer your question or guide you to the person who can.

If you have questions about new students, Orientation, the first-year experience, or you just don’t know who to call, the staff in New Student Programs are here to support you. Email