I read on Cornell's website that they will match better financial aid offers from Ivy league schools, Stanford, Duke or MIT. Is this legit, or just a gimmick to increase the number of applicants (and drive down acceptance rate)? Has anyone been successful in having them match a much better offer from one of these schools?
Also, from what I understand, financial aid changes from year to year. So, if Cornell matches a financial aid package for a student, and the student re-applies for financial aid the next year, will Cornell renew the package or will they re-offer their own (worse) package? So that student could end up having no loans freshmen year but then loans and a high EFC for the rest of the 3 years?
I also emailed Cornell this question 1 week ago. Their automatically-generated response said it would take 3-4 business days to respond. No response yet though after 5 business days. Here is the email:
From I have read on Cornell's website, I know that Cornell may recalculate financial aid if one has received a better award from an Ivy League school, Duke, Stanford or MIT. My question is, will this remain for all 4 years of college? Or will Cornell re-offer its own aid package (i.e. it may include loans) after one renews aid for sophomore year?
If accepted to one or more Ivy league school, duke, MIT, or Stanford, then Cornell WILL match a financial aid offer from that school(s), if it is better. It is not a gimmick.
As for your second- that is a very good question. Call Cornell's financial aid office. Emailing is fine, but it's starting to get very busy for the admissions and financial aid office and they probably will start ignoring some emails.
The FA office will not ignore you - they may not get back to you right away, but they will respond. You may not get a direct answer to your question and you may need to press them a bit, that much is true. I can't speak to your exact situation, so it is possible that your aid may change as a sophomore because it was "matched" to another college but generally the package should stay the about the same from year to year if family circumstances don't change. This will include loans and work study. etc. depending on your circumstances. You can use the net price calculator to determine a ball park idea of what they would offer without the "matching" to give you an idea.
Anyway, here's an example of what I'm talking about, making up numbers:
Some kid gets a Cornell financial aid package with grant worth $32,500 yearly and loans of $7,500 yearly. From Harvard he/she gets a grant worth $40,000 yearly (no loans). Cornell "matches" this and the student goes to Cornell (because of proximity or engineering or whatever reason). Since you re-apply for financial aid every year, and fill out the FAFSA every year as well, wouldn't Cornell just give him/her the $32,500 grant and $7,500 loan for sophomore year? Once they lured him/her in, their yield rate goes up and Harvard's goes down (this is all about the rankings guys), and considering how hard it is to transfer to Ivies, what motivation does Cornell have to re-offer the $40,000 again? So, wouldn't that student be stuck?
Hopefully the FA Office will respond soon. I need to figure out where I'm applying and financial aid is a huge factor in this.
Last edited by jushyosaha604; 10-13-2012 at 10:50 PM.
Cornell promises that if your financial situation remains the same, your package should remain the same for all 4 years. They did state that some students were given better offers than what the raw computations would suggest, if they were desirable for some particular reason. They stated that they would not tell you if you fell into that category, but if you got this preferential treatment freshman year, you'd get it for all 4 years. So... my assumption would be that that would likewise apply for students who got a better package on the basis of matching another offer. However, once you have that offer, I would ask for very clear guidance on how future years' offers would be computed, particularly if you think your financial situation will fluctuate from year to year.
Cornell has several tiers of need-based aids:
1. Matching with the 10 colleges;
2. Some groups of students selected by Cornell, who get close to similar aids as HYP;
3. Students with family income above 120K, with some of cost like travel cost not a part of total cost of attendence. So total cost is somewhat different based on family income.
The "need-base" defined by Cornell is based on how much it likes you, not just how much your family can contribute. Since every college has an aids estimator, Cornell should not have any difficuly to estimate the matching aids after the freshman year.
I AM AN IDIOT. I sent them the email from an email account which was linked to my main email account (i.e. if I got an email it would show up on both accounts). There was some sort of bug and it didn't work, and I was waiting for a response, and for some reason I never looked at the inbox of the account I sent the email from. They had responded within 2 days.
Here it is:
"Thank you for contacting the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment. If we match an offer from one of the schools listed below, we will continue to calculate aid the same way for all four years. If your financial situation is consistent, your award should be similar for all four year. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact our office."