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Cornell College

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Focused, Hands-On Methodist Education at Cornell

Cornell College appears in our ranking of the 40 Most Beautiful College Campuses in Rural Areas.

Named Forbes‘ 125th best liberal arts school, Cornell College maintains an 11:1 student-faculty ratio to provide 43 bachelor’s degrees in Mount Vernon with a unique 18-day, adventure-based “One Course at a Time” approach for high 82 percent retention. For example, the Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology integrates 31 courses like Motor Learning with Exercise Science Lab projects, Coaching Endorsement, and Operation Walk missions from Peru to China. Chaired by Dr. Lisa Hearne in Armstrong Hall, the 124-credit Bachelor of Music in Performance has placed graduates at Orchestra Iowa, Dominion Academy, Harmony University, and others after practice in its Concert Choir. Since 2015, the Bachelor of Business has offered the 124-credit Actuarial Science Track for SOA certification prep with Chicago Loop trips and internships, such as Jacobson Group or Aetna, for median $63,555 pay. Other Cornell offerings include the Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Geology, Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Bachelor of Arts in Politics, and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Cooperative MPH and MSN programs are also available with the University of Iowa.

About Cornell College

Cornell College originated in 1853 when United Methodist Rev. George Bryant Bowman opened the Iowa Conference Seminary with a coed faculty of three. By 1857, it was renamed for iron industrialist and Ezra Cornell’s cousin William Wesley. The next year, Cornell become Iowa’s first college to award degrees to women. Visited by Frederick Douglass in 1859, it desegregated early in 1870 for African-American admission. In 1899, Cornell College was among the Midwest’s first to create a Sociology major. Later that year, the 5,000-pound “Rock” arrived at its 129-acre Linn County campus on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1978, it adopted its eight-block calendar for subject-focused study. Loren Pope profiled Cornell for his 1996 book titled Colleges That Change Lives. Worth $159 million, Cornell College now enrolls 1,191 Rams from 42 states with around 70 off-campus courses, including the Belize Block, and 35 clubs like Union Latinx. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornell the 81st best national liberal arts college and 52nd top undergraduate school. On Niche, Cornell boasts America’s 108th best Christian education and 134th best kinesiology program too.

Cornell College Accreditation Details

On October 23, 2017, Cornell College submitted the Fifth-Year Interim Report for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) to conduct an assurance review on the Level II accreditation status valid through 2022 under its 15th president, Dr. Jonathan Brand, who received the Academic Merit Fellowship. Based 210 miles east via Interstate 88 in Chicago, this mega 19-state Upper Midwest accreditor is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and Iowa Department of Higher Education & Student Affairs. In 2017, the Bachelor of Science in Engineering started a candidacy process with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The Department of Chemistry is one of Iowa’s 10 certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Cornell is also accredited by the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).

Cornell College Application Requirements

Admission to Cornell College is classified “moderately difficult” by Peterson’s because only 1,394 of the 1,965 Fall 2017 applicants were triumphant for 70.9 percent acceptance. First-year Rams must exhibit academic preparedness during a strong high school curriculum. The Iowa Department of Education requires four English courses, three Math courses, and three Science courses to graduate. Passing the current GED test with at least 580 points out of 800 qualifies. Freshmen generally have A’s and B’s with an mean 3.46 GPA. On average, entrants boast 1221 SAT and 26 ACT scores. Composite marks above 1030 and 22 respectively are recommended. Incoming transfers receive 16 maximum non-remedial credits graded “C” or higher. Having completed first-year courses, such as Composition Writing and College Algebra, is preferred. Admission is guaranteed for two 2+2 Associate of Arts programs at Kirkwood and Harper Colleges. Non-U.S. residents also generally need a 3.8 ITEP, 6.0 IELTS, 98 GOAKAO, or 550 TOEFL score.

Cornell College has established freshman deadlines of November 1st for Early Action and February 1st for Regular Decision with deposits due on May 1st. Transferring to the Hilltop can happen until October 15th for Spring and March 15th for Fall entrance. International students uniquely have November 1st Early Action I and December 1st Early Action 2 deadlines before the February 1st cutoff. The Admissions Office accepts the Cornell Application or Common Application online for free. Registrars mail sealed transcripts to 600 First Street SW in Mount Vernon, IA 52314. Official test submissions require SAT code 6119 or ACT code 1296. Other supplemental items include the secondary school report, teacher recommendation, personal portfolio, essay statement, financial ability form, and transfer evaluation. Please contact (800) 747-1112 or admission@cornellcollege.edu with more questions.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-2020, Cornell College will charge full-time undergrads $21,775 per semester or $43,550 annually. Bachelor’s students pay the $100 orientation fee, $45 vehicle registration fee, $226 activity fee, and $200 technology fee. The Bachelor of Music bills $300 per 0.5 credit of performance lessons. Summer internship programs cost $400 per credit. Individual project fees are $1,400 per credit. The Continuing Education Department prices each block at $3,141. Living at the Mount Vernon campus’ dorms like Pfeiffer Hall adds $4,500 to $6,280 yearly for residence. Standard meal plans for Hilltop Cafe or Zamora’s Market are $5,260 extra. Annual bachelor’s attendance equals $53,736 on-site and $43,976 at home. Cornell also budgets $1,200 for textbooks, $1,656 for personal needs, and $1,248 for transportation though.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Financial Assistance Office in Luce Center gets 99 percent of Cornell Rams charging toward median aid of $25,630 apiece for $24.75 million overall. Institutional funds include the Trustee Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship, Promise Scholarship for Iowans, Founder’s Scholarship, Alumni Referral Award, Transfer Achievement Scholarship, Music Scholarship, Art Scholarship, Theatre Scholarship, Legacy Award, STEM Transfer Scholarship, and TransAmerica Scholarship. The Community Enrichment Award gifts $18,000 for freshmen with well-rounded extracurriculars. FAFSA applications coded 001856 find Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, and Direct Loan resources. The Berry Career Institute connects to Federal Work-Study positions paying at least $7.25/hour. Cornell College participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Local Hawkeyes also pursue the All Iowa Opportunity Grant, Iowa Tuition Grant, Governor Branstad Scholarship, and Robert D. Blue Scholarship.

Continue reading about the 40+ individualized majors at Cornell College on the Office of Academic Affairs website.