FAQ for First-Year Students


How do I enroll in a class?

Use Student Center to enroll in classes.

Fellowships and Funding

Where do I get my stipend checks?

Direct deposit is available. Paper checks are available at the cashier window in Day Hall.

How do I check my bursar bill?

Monthly statements are sent electronically via Cashnet. You are notified through your Cornell email address. Learn more on the Office of the Bursar website.

How do I find out the details of my funding?

For students with funding, please review your acceptance letter for details. Funding comes from a variety of sources, including external agencies and the Graduate School. If you no longer have the letter, please contact your graduate field. Information can also be found on Student Center.

How do I apply for a fellowship?

The Graduate School offers a series of workshops on competitive fellowships in which you will learn to identify potential fellowships and write an application. About 700 of our students win competitive external fellowships each year.


What is the Big Red Barn?

The Big Red Barn Graduate and Professional Student Center (BRB) is the hub for graduate and professional students events. A café serves food, and beer is available weekdays after 2:15 pm, Friday nights for TGIF, and on other special occasions.

How do I meet people outside my field and become part of a community?

Explore the many different student communities on campus and attend social events at the Big Red Barn.

How do I find out what’s happening around campus for graduate students?

Read the weekly Graduate School Announcements, emailed to all registered graduate and professional students on Monday evenings. The Big Red Barn sends a weekly event listing via email to all registered students. You can also search our Events Calendar.

Where can I learn more about diversity and inclusion efforts for graduate students?

The Graduate School actively promotes a diverse and inclusive graduate community. Learn more about our Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement.

Academic and Professional Support

What kind of support can I get from the Graduate School?

Each year, the Graduate School offers over 1900 hours of programming designed to support your academics, career and professional development, as well as student life topics. We can help with administrative and registration issues, policies, and grievances too.

Where can I go for academic help?

Cornell has a wide variety of resources to support students academically, professionally, and personally.

Academic Support:
Support for International Students:
Personal Support:

Transitioning to Graduate School

I am nervous about transitioning to graduate school, where I can get tips on making the adjustment?

The Graduate School offers Transitions, a special pizza and networking series for first year students. Sessions include: “Tips for Success” and “Time Management for First Year Students.”

Is there a comprehensive list of resources about moving to Ithaca? 

Visit the Graduate School’s Living in Ithaca guide.

How does TCAT (public transportation) work?

TCAT is Tompkins County’s bus system. Fares are $1.50 with exact change required. All day Saturday and Sunday, and weekdays after 6:00 pm, students with a Cornell ID ride free. To view schedules, routes, and pass information, visit the TCAT website.

What do I need to know about taxes?

At the graduate level, both the Internal Revenue Service and New York State consider all fellowship and assistantship stipends as taxable income. Generally, fellowships do not have tax taken out at the time of payment. Students are expected to report the stipend and taxable income on their tax forms. Learn more about taxes.

How does parking work?

Parking at Cornell is by permit. Students, faculty, and staff must pay to park on campus. Learn more about parking and other transportation issues.

What support do you have for my family?

Cornell offers services including grants to offset the cost of day care and health insurance. Listservs geared toward student partners, dual career postings, and students with children can help you stay informed. Our Students with Families community is here to help!