How do I get emergency funding to help with a major health issue?

Date: July 2018


Dear Graduate School Deans,

I learned only a few weeks ago about a recurrent event of cancer I was originally diagnosed with in 2016.

My 100% intention is to return to Ithaca in August for the Fall semester and complete the next year in my master’s program. I will be continuing treatment during the academic year. However, this unexpected setback has put a strain on a number of plans, family, friends, and financial resources. 

I have reached out to my department already and now I am requesting if the Graduate School or the university might be able relieve some of the financial stress related to my medical situation. Could I seek a tuition waiver of some scale for 2018-19? Or are there other recourses you might be able to tap into to assist with the unexpected financial strain?

I thank you again in advance for any efforts you might be able to make on my behalf. I can provide whatever documentation necessary moving forward.


Fighting, but in Need of Funds


Dear “Fighting, but in need of funds,”

I’m so very sorry to hear that you’re facing the prospect of additional cancer treatments this fall. I can imagine that the last two years have been very challenging for you and I admire your determination in the face of this setback. Tuition aid for professional master’s programs is handled by each department or the affiliated college (AAP, Engineering, ILR, CALS, etc.) directly. I’ll connect you with the appropriate college.  

While the Graduate School does not have purview over tuition support for your program, I can share some helpful resources:

  • Emergency funds: Cornell offers emergency funds for students facing extraordinary hardships and can sometimes assist with unanticipated expenses.   Assistant Dean Janna Lamey ( can help you explore those options.
  • Student Loans: you may find that there are options for student loans that would help relieve some of the short-term financial strain that you are feeling.
  • Installment Plan: Cornell’s bursar office has payment plans available that could give you a bit of extra flexibility.
  • Cornell Student Health Plan: If you are on the Student Health Plan, there is a $3,000 limit for out of pocket limit. The out-of-pocket limit is the most you could pay in a year for covered services, so even if your treatments are very expensive your plan should cover them fully after this limit is reached. If you have questions about how the plan works you can contact  

If my colleague Janna or I can be of any assistance please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll find a time to meet.



Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration