Common Questions

How do I apply to be a guest student at SHA?

If you meet the qualification guidelines and wish to apply to the School of Hotel Administration as a guest student, please contact us to begin the application process at

What are the deadlines for applying as a guest student?

The deadlines for applying to SHA as a guest student are October 1 for a spring semester start
and March 1 for a fall semester start. 

Where is the School of Hotel Administration located?

The School of Hotel Administration is located on Cornell University's main campus in Ithaca, New York. A small city of about 30,000 people, located in the picturesque Finger Lakes region of central New York State, Ithaca is consistently ranked one of the best college towns in the United States.

How do I get to Cornell University?

Cornell University maintains a travel website that provides detailed information about options for travel to and from Ithaca. The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is located ten-minutes from campus by car. The larger Syracuse airport is located about one hour by car from Ithaca Bus travel is also available from New York City. 

When should I plan to arrive at Cornell?

After your acceptance as a SHA guest student, you will receive information about housing, orientation and courses so that you may plan accordingly. Typically on-campus residence halls open about a week before the start of classes.

Do I need a passport or visa to study at Cornell?

If you are attending Cornell as an international guest student you will need a valid passport and student visa to enter the United States. Once you've been accepted as a guest student, and your file has been processed by admissions, you will receive an I-20 Form which is required to apply for your visa

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) publishes helpful information for international students, including a section about preparing to travel to Cornell.

In order to ensure a stress-free trip, be sure to pack these documents in your carry-on luggage before departing for the U.S.:

  • Passport with appropriate travel visa (except Canadians) 
  • Student visa certificate of eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) 
  • Proof of financial support for entire course of study 
  • Sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover expenses, settling-in costs, etc. 
  • Medical records, including a record of immunizations (in English); evidence of adequate insurance coverage (if you are already insured) 
  • Valid home country driver's license and a current International Driving Permit (if you plan to drive in the U.S.) 

How much does a semester at the School of Hotel Administration cost?


Guest Students are responsible for paying Cornell University tuition for the semester(s) they are enrolled at SH Tuition rates can be found at the Office of the Bursar under Undergraduate Tuition -> Endowed Ithaca. Guest students are not eligible for financial aid from Cornell University.

Living Expenses

In addition to tuition fees, guest students are responsible for the Cornell Student Activity Fee (approximately USD $108/semester), health insurance, meals, books, housing, printing fees, physical education (PE) course fees (if you choose to take a PE course), travel costs, and personal expenses. International students are also responsible for the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee (approximately USD $200). 

A typical estimate for living expenses for one semester is USD $11,077. This estimate is calculated by multiplying USD $1,756 x # months (typically 5 for a single semester) + $108/semester (activity fee) + $400/semester (books and supplies) + $1,789 health insurance. 

How will I be billed for Cornell-related expenses?

You will be billed online for all university-related expenses through Cornell's Office of the Bursar. Throughout the semester you will receive monthly bursar bills by email for any other expenses you incur. You are responsible for all fees billed by the Bursar.

Does Cornell provide financial aid for guest students?

Guest students are not eligible for financial aid from Cornell University.  Talk with your home institution about financial aid options, or investigate scholarship opportunities that may be offered by your home country.

Where will I live while I am a guest student?

Most guest students choose to live on campus in a residence hall or cooperative (co-op). For on-campus housing, you may submit an application only after you have been formally admitted into the guest student program and receive your applicant ID by email or NetID by post. On-campus housing is not guaranteed.

Some guest students prefer to live off-campus in an apartment or shared house. Off-campus housing has no affiliation with Cornell University housing. You will be responsible for the lease and payment of monthly rent. 

May I purchase a meal plan while at Cornell?

After you have received your formal acceptance to SHA, you may choose to sign up for a meal plan through Campus Life Dining. Some on-campus residence halls require you subscribe to a meal plan.

What academic institutions have sent Guest Students in the past?

We have enjoyed guest students from the following academic institutions over the past 10 years:

  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong 
  • The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, Dubai 
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong 
  • Sejong University, College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, South Korea

We look forward to expanding our guest student program, and hope you will consider spending a semester studying at SH

What immunizations does Cornell University require?

After acceptance, all students must complete an online Health History Form, which lists required immunizations for Tetanus, Measles, Mumps and Rubella and a Tuberculin screening. Find out more about Health at Cornell.

Do I need health insurance as a guest student?

Yes. Cornell University requires all students to have adequate health insurance coverage. Students are automatically enrolled in and billed for Cornell's Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). However, if students provide documentation to SHIP that their current health insurance coverage meets the criteria listed below, they may submit an application to the SHIP office to waive (cancel) SHIP. The SHIP office determines eligibility to waive coverage. 

Meeting the criteria to waive SHIP is difficult; so, unless you are sure your current health insurance coverage will meet the criteria to waive SHIP, we recommend you purchase SHIP. To meet Cornell's criteria to waive SHIP, an alternate plan must:

  • Be provided by a company licensed to do business in the United States, with a U.S. claim payment office and U.S. phone number.
  • Provide coverage in the Ithaca area for outpatient and inpatient medical care. Please note, a policy that provides coverage in the Ithaca area on an “emergency care only” basis does not meet this requirement.
  • Provide coverage in the Ithaca area for outpatient and inpatient mental health care 
  • Have a maximum benefit of at least $500,000 per year.
  • Remain in force as long as you are a registered student at Cornell.
  • Cover pre-existing conditions.

For all questions, please contact SHIP directly

Are there special resources available for international guest students?

Upon arrival, international guest students must check in with the ISSO in Caldwell Hall. This office provides services related to student life, the international community, and even helpful tips for packing appropriately for the cold winter weather.

International Orientation: PREPARE

The ISSO plans an international student orientation, called PREPARE, at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, including social events to help you meet other international students and make a smooth transition to the Cornell community. In addition, ISSO organizes annual trips for international students to places like New York City, Boston, Montreal, and Washington D.C. Please contact if you have any questions about their services. 

Where can I get more information about the guest student program?

For more information, please email us at