Cornell University


Financial need is the difference between the total educational costs and the student's financial resources; it may be measured by the sponsor in various ways. Need-based financial aid programs include work-study programs on and off campus; private and federal loans; grants; fellowships; and tuition remission programs often offered to employees by their employers, or to students by the professional or graduate school.  

FAFSA Application

In most cases the applicant is required to complete some type of standardized form which is usually the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is a financial questionnaire which is revised annually and may be picked up at the Cornell Career Services beginning in January. After the FAFSA data is reviewed, a needs-analysis document called the Student Aid Report (SAR) is sent to the student, who in turn submits the SAR to the school. The school will then decide on whether or not to award assistance to the student as well as the level of the award(s). Some schools, in addition to the FAFSA, may also require additional needs analysis forms. Students should contact the individual schools from which they are seeking aid to determine which needs-analysis document(s) is required.1


Loans can be obtained through the Federal Perkins Loan and/or the Federal Family Loan or the Federal Direct Loan programs. These loans must be repaid, and repayment begins six months (Perkins, nine months) after an individual ceases to be a student. Other sources include loans from private companies or school-sponsored loan programs.

Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study Program provides employment for students on campus and off campus. The school administers this program through its financial aid office. Not all on-campus employment is through Federal Work Study; there are ways of securing part-time employment that do not require a demonstrated financial need.

1 Gale H. Varma and Robert H. Stowers, "Financial Assistance for Graduate and Professional Education," Peterson's Annual Guides to Graduate Study, vol. 1. 1994.