This page is intended to help you educate yourself regarding graduate student resources at Cornell. We provide a brief summary with additional links to further information when necessary. The resources list is constantly increasing in length, so we encourage your feedback and suggestions for future topics.

Grievance Procedure:
The official Cornell grievance procedure consists of four steps.

Step 1. The student speaks directly to the source of the grievance in attempt to resolve the grievance informally.

Step 2. If the parties cannot resolve the conflict, the aggrieved student can send a written statement to his/her Director of Graduate Studies and the Dean of the Graduate School. The DGS will host a meeting with both parties and provide a written recommendation for the resolution of the problem.

Step 3. If either party believes that a satisfactory resolution has not been achieved, she/he must notify the Dean of the Graduate School, who will then host a meeting between the parties to discuss the issue. The Dean may request that others be present who can help the Dean make a more fair and informed decision. The Dean will issue a decision.

Step 4. If either party is not satisfied, she/he will inform the Dean of the Graduate School who will request the formation of the Graduate Grievance Review Board. The board is composed of two graduate students elected by GPSA (in that academic area, but not of the same department as the two parties) and two faculty members (selected from the General Committee of the Graduate School). The Board hears the case and issues a final written recommendation which is forwarded to the Provost for final resolution.

There are specific time limits and other details which we have omitted from this summary, but can be found here in the official policy.

Reporting Bias, Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct:
All faculty and students are expected not to commit acts of discrimination, bias, sexual harassment, assault, or violence. If a student faces imminent danger, he/she should call the police immediately. Otherwise, an online incident report form should be submitted.

Office of the University Ombudsman:

The Ombudsman operates as an informal resource and safe place to discuss issues within the University in a confidential environment where the Ombudsman maintains neutrality and impartiality. The Ombudsman can provide relevant information regarding University policies and processes and help you find the necessary resources to resolve your issue and/or make the University aware of your problem.

Student Injuries:
A student injured in a University lab should first seek medical attention. After receiving medical attention, he/she should file a University injury report. If the student is on an assistantship or paid hourly, injury claims will be dealt with using the Worker’s Compensation process. If the student is not on an assistantship or paid hourly, the student’s health insurance will be responsible for covering the medical care, and depending on the injury, Cornell’s offices may also provide additional support on a case-by-case basis.

Workers’ Compensation:
Injury claims filed by students on assistantships or paid hourly are sent to the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board which rules on the case regarding eligibility and compensability. The NYS Worker’s Compensation Board is not an entity of Cornell.

Health Insurance:
The individual student health plan (SHP) premium is paid for fully-funded graduate students by the university or by external award.  SHP is a platinum level plan that provides coverage anywhere in the world.  Students may purchase additional coverage for dependents as well as dental and vision care for themselves and dependents.  Responding to the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, rates were lowered considerably for dependents, equalizing single-person rates for student, spouse/partner, child in 2016. All students without free SHP can purchase it for $2,560 per year. The price for a spouses/partner and one child to purchase SHP is also $2,560. Dental and vision insurance plans are also available for students for $278 and $185 respectively. Dental and vision can also be purchased for partners, spouses, and dependents.

Students with Medicaid in NYS are eligible for SHP-M which is a low cost alternative to SHP with all the benefits of SHP and the cost sharing benefits of Medicaid.

Read More about the Student Health Plan (SHP).
Read More about Dental Insurance.
Read More about Vision Insurance.
Read More about the Student Health Plan – Medicaid (SHP-M).

Maternity/Paternity Leave: 
Cornell graduate and professional students can choose one of two parental leave options:

  1. Six weeks of paid accommodation (or eight weeks for the birth mother for a cesarean section delivery) for students receiving full funding from the university as assistants, whether as TAs, GRAs, RAs or GAs, fellows, or trainees; or
  2. Up to two semesters of reduced load status to serve their needs surrounding childbirth, adoption, newborn care, foster care, and acute child health care.

Read more about Graduate and Professional Student Parental Accommodation.

International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO):
ISSO states that its purpose is to, “…(assist) individuals and their families from all over the world, who have come to Cornell to study, teach or conduct research. ISSO provides information and advising on federal immigration, tax, and labor regulations, and counseling on personal, academic, and cultural matters.” Read more on the ISSO main page.