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International Applicants FAQs

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Am I considered an international student? 

Students who are not U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, do not have refugee/asylee status, or who are undocumented residents without DACA status are considered international students.

U.S. undocumented residents with DACA status are considered domestic students. Applicants who have dual U.S. citizenship are not considered international students.

Can international students apply through Early Decision? 

Yes. An increasing portion of the College of Engineering's early decision pool are international applicants.  

What tests are required for international applicants? 

International applicants must take the tests required of all other applicants. These include SAT 1 or ACT, and two SAT 2 Subject Tests (one math and one science). International students for whom English is not the first language are required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score if their SAT 1 Critical Reading score falls below a 670.

If English is not my first language, do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam(s)? 

International students for whom English is not the first language are required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.

The recommended minimum test scores are:

  • TOEFL: score of 100 (Internet-based exam) or 600 (paper exam)
  • IELTS: Score of 7

This requirement will be waived, however, if a student achieves a score of 670 or higher on the Critical Reading section of the OLD SAT 1 exam (or a NEW SAT Reading Test score of at least 35), or for students who have been in the U.S. (or other nations where English is the primary language spoken) for at least 4 years. Please note that Cornell does NOT waive the TOEFL/IELTS test requirement for students who have attended an English-speaking school in a non-English speaking country. You can request a TOEFL waiver.

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Does Cornell offer financial aid to international students?  

Yes; however, it is limited. Cornell University provides need-based financial aid on a limited basis to a selected number of admitted international students who have applied for financial aid. We do not offer merit, athletic, or talent-based aid to students. Students who are admitted and demonstrate financial need will receive a financial aid package that meets 100% of their demonstrated need (Cornell University does not provide partial financial aid awards). For further information on applying for aid as an international student, please visit the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment.

Is Cornell need blind for admission for international students? 

No. Admissions decisions for international applicants and undocumented applicants without DACA status will be need‐aware. This means that they will be evaluated for admission with consideration of the ability of students or parents to pay educational costs

If I don't receive financial aid when I am admitted can I apply again once I am enrolled? 

No. International applicants and undocumented applicants without DACA status who indicate on their applications that they will not be applying for financial aid (and who are admitted) will not be eligible to apply for financial aid at any time as an undergraduate at Cornell. Applicants who anticipate the need for financial assistance at any point during their undergraduate course of study at Cornell must apply for aid when they apply for

Does the Ivy+ award match initiative apply to international students? 

Yes. If you have been awarded financial aid by Cornell, we will strive to match the award offered by any other Ivy League school as well as need-based aid from Duke University, MIT, and Stanford University. International students who have not received financial aid from Cornell are not eligible for the award match. 

Are there loans available for international students? 

Maybe. Although there are no loans offered through the university, you may be able to apply for a loan through a private lender. We cannot recommend any particular lender but you can find a list of lenders that Cornell undergraduates have used in the past, here

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What is the Tata Scholarship and can I apply for it? 

Thanks to a generous gift from the Tata Education and Development Trust – a philanthropic affiliate of India's Tata Group – a $25 million endowment has been established that allows Cornell to provide financial aid to undergraduates from India. Please review the qualifications for the Tata Scholarship to see if you are eligible. Undergraduate applicants will be eligible for consideration for the Tata Scholarship if they have completed the admission application and have applied for financial aid.

I want to enroll at Cornell, but haven't heard from my scholarship committee. What should I do about my deposit to Cornell? 

Please email the Engineering Admissions Office at to let us know of your special circumstance. Include your full name, address, and when you expect to hear from the scholarship committee. Deposit extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis.  

When will I receive my I-20 Form? In order to receive an I-20, students must: be accepted to Cornell, submit their $400 required acceptance deposit, and document their ability to meet the cost of attendance by submitting the Declaration of Finances form. Visa documentation and approval will take time so please submit your Declaration of Finances form when you send your acceptance deposit. For more information, see the United States Government's Visa website and Cornell International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).

What type of support is available for international students? 

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) is the campus center for international students at Cornell. ISSO can advise you about immigration issues, financial matters, campus services for academic and personal counseling, medical care, housing, and life in Ithaca, NY. The office plans an international student orientation (called PREPARE) at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters that includes many social events to help you meet other international students and make a smooth transition to the Cornell community. For more information about the ISSO, please contact the office by email at:  

My country requires military service, but I want to attend Cornell. What should I do?  

First-year students who are required to complete military service can apply for a 1 or 2 year deferral of their enrollment. We ask admitted students seeking a military deferral to request a deferral via the Engineering Deferral website. Students must also send an electronic copy of your military enlistment letter to the Engineering Admissions at: Please note that a deferral is not formally granted until the Cornell Bursar's Office has received the enrollment deposit of $400 for a 1-year deferral ($800 for a 2-year deferral).

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