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Cornell University

COE Enrollment Policies

Climbers on their way to the crag


Payment must be made in full to reserve a spot on a course. COE accepts check, credit card, or bursar number for payment. Credit card and bursar payments will be processed directly after the semester drop deadline or before the course begins, whichever occurs first.

Add / Drop & Refunds

  • Most COE courses have drop deadlines that are EARLIER than the University and the Athletics/Physical Education drop deadlines. Make sure you know the specific date of your course drop deadline. Check the course brochure or our website if you are not sure, or call the COE Registrar at 607-255-6183.
  • If you drop a course after the drop deadline, or fail to attend a course for which you are registered, you will be billed the full course tuition with an additional $50.00 drop fee. If you do not show up for the first class you lose your rights to retaining your spot on the roster, and we may enroll another student in your place, you will be charged full tuition for the course.
  • If you need to transfer from one COE course to a different COE course after the drop deadline, a $35 administrative fee may be imposed.
  • If you drop a course for medical reasons you will still be responsible for 3/4 of the course fee.   
  • If you drop you cannot roll your course fee over to future semesters.
  • COE Instructors do not have the authority to add or drop students from course rosters, only the COE Office Registrar may confirm your enrollment or drop of a course. You may ADD a COE course anytime after the drop deadline and before the course begins!
  • Our courses involve activities that can be affected by atmospheric conditions. Cornell Outdoor Education will not give refunds for class delays, cancellations, or curriculum changes resulting from adverse weather.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are allowed to register for Outdoor Education classes in the same way as undergraduates. However, undergraduate students will be given priority for PE credit classes. Graduate students will be allowed to register for any class once undergrad pre-enroll for the semester has finished.

Free and Reduced Fee COE Courses

Limited funds are available for free or reduced fee COE PE courses with the following limitations:

  • The applicant must be an undergraduate Cornell student.
  • The course must be offered for PE credit.
  • The applicant must be in need PE credit to graduate.
  • The applicant must receive financial assistance from Cornell University.
  • Fee assistance applies only to classes offered by COE.

The Fee Waiver Application opens on the first day of pre-enroll, and remains open until the last day. You will be informed of the status of your waiver application by August 15, 2024. If you are not awarded fee assistance, you may elect to drop the class during the add/drop period.  

Note that students who are granted fee assistance will, at first, be billed the course fee. After successfully completing the course they will then be reimbursed the awarded amount. 

Attendance & Grading

  • Grades for COE courses are based on participation and attendance. 
  • COE requires that students attend the first class meeting of their course. Because of the critical logistics, policy, liability, and safety information that will be covered, first class attendance is mandatory for all classes. Some classes have additional required meetings to be attended, check the course page for requirements for your specific section. If you do not show up for the first class you lose your right to retain your spot on the roster, and we may enroll another student in your place. In this event you will still be held responsible for full tuition fees, and may receive unsatisfactory grading.
  • The attendance policy varies from course to course. Check the description on the web for details for a specific course. In general, missing more than the allowed number of classes or any significant part of your course progression that is deemed essential for safety will result in an unsatisfactory grade.
  • Religious and academic excuses will count as absences. Please confirm before enrolling that your course's schedule will not conflict with your other necessary commitments.
  • COE does not have the capacity to offer make-ups. In addition, due to risk management and group dynamic reasons, students are not allowed to attend another section of a course and count it as attendance in the course they are enrolled in. Plan to attend every scheduled class of your course section.
  • COE students must still pass their PE swim test. COE students that have not passed their physical education swim test will receive "incomplete" grading until this requirement is fulfilled.

Alcohol / Drugs / Smoking

COE has a zero tolerance policy for alcohol, drugs (unless prescribed by a physician), smoking or vaping, and chewing tobacco on all of our courses and field programs. Their use is prohibited. Failure to abide by this policy will result in expulsion from the course. Full tuition fees and/or unsatisfactory grades will be imposed.

Waiting List

How is a student moved from the waitlist? 

There is an automatic process that enrolls students into their courses from the waitlist. Once the course is full it is marked as closed then only students from the waitlist may be enrolled in the course. If one seat becomes available in a course, then student number one on the waitlist is automatically enrolled from the waitlist as long as there are no errors, time conflicts, or enrollment restrictions. 

Students are auto-enrolled from the waitlist into the course by their priority ranking in the waitlist. For example if a course is full, and three students drop, students ranked 1, 2, and 3 will be auto-enrolled from the waitlist. The student who was previous ranked number 4 will now be ranked number 1. If another student drops the course, he or she will be the next student auto-enrolled. This scenario will continue until the waitlist is empty, or the course is full, or up to the first day of the course.

NOTE: There is NO notification of the auto-enrollment. It is the student’s responsibility to verify enrollment via student self-service. By adding themselves to the waitlist a student is acknowledging that they understand that they will be auto-enrolled and will have responsibility for their fees and or dropping the course if necessary.

After the drop deadline of the COE PE course, the registration spot will go to the first person who contacts us or whom we are able to reach off the wait list. 

Can a student waitlist for a course that conflicts (in meeting time) with an enrolled course?

Time conflicts will not be checked at the time that the course is added to the waitlist.

At the time of the auto-enrollment, time conflicts will be checked. If there is a time-conflict, the student enrollment will not process. They will not lose their place in the waitlist queue, but will remain there until the conflict is resolved. The students of lower ranking, but with no time conflicts, will be auto-enrolled before them.

Medical Information

You must have valid health insurance to participate in a Cornell Outdoor Education course.

Please fill out a COE medical form and bring it to your first class. Please include your insurance carrier name, phone number and policy number on the medical form. Signing the medical form gives a hospital permission to treat you in the event that you are too ill or badly injured to give verbal permission. Cornell students should call Gannett Health Center if they are missing any required information. Forms may be picked up at COE or downloaded from the form links below.


Cornell students under the age of 18 are not required to have a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian prior to course participation.

Holiday Conflicts

Although COE does its best to avoid scheduling classes/outings over holidays, inevitably some of those conflicts exist each semester. The diversity of COE course offerings should allow students to find a course that fits within their personal schedules. Given this, students should carefully review course schedules before enrolling in a COE course.

For further questions please contact the COE Registrar

Phone: 607-255-6183.


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