It’s decision time! What will you choose?

Are you in the process of making your decision about which graduate school to attend? Deciding which program offers the best fit for you is an admittedly difficult decision, and can be a life-changing one. If you’re like me, you may feel as if you are inundated with information as you mull over costs, future career goals, and priorities for what you hope to gain from your public policy degree. Let me see if I can help you simplify this process.


FAQs: Your CIPA Application

 Hoping to pursue a degree in public administration? Are you interested in applying to CIPA?

Each year, CIPA administrators get a host of questions about the admissions process, application materials, and more. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

CIPA: An Affordable Ivy League MPA (made more affordable with loan repayment savings!)

What are the savings of an MPA from CIPA in the long term? You might be surprised how much you can save just in loan repayments by choosing CIPA. 


Making it Easier to Finance Your MPA

As you may have heard, CIPA is currently undergoing some significant organizational changes. In addition to now being housed with Cornell’s College of Human Ecology, we are also excited to announce that we have reduced our annual tuition by more than $16,000 from $47,050 to $32,000. We believe this reduction is appropriate for an MPA program as it reduces the financial burden on students and makes it more feasible for them to enter careers in public service – which, after all, is the whole point!

Here’s a breakdown of CIPA attendance costs for the 2015-16 school year:

Estimated Budget: Tuition and Living Allowance for Academic Year 2015-16








Student Health Insurance

Students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan. To appeal, students must demonstrate comparable coverage through another plan. For more information, please visit the Office of Student Health Insurance.

Room and Board

The room and board allowance should permit comfortable housing and cover the cost of meals. Your living costs will depend on your lifestyle and living arrangements. The budget above is based on $1,000 monthly rental for the 9 month academic year and $500 per month for food.

Personal Expenses

The personal allowance covers necessary student-related living expenses other than room and board and student health insurance, such as routine costs of transportation to and from campus, (including parking fees) and basic telephone service.

Covering the Costs of Your MPA

Merit Based Fellowships

CIPA provides partial tuition fellowship funding to approximately 50% of our graduate fellows. However, we are unable to provide anyone with full support. Most of our fellows use a variety of sources to cover their expenses including CIPA Fellowships, outside fellowships, educational loans, and part time employment.  If you receive a fellowship, you will be notified of the award in your admission letter.

Teaching and Research Assistantships

We do not have teaching assistantships or research assistantships that reduce or replace tuition. We do have students who work as teaching or research assistants with our faculty and they are paid on an hourly basis. Most students who have an hourly position with a faculty member are in their second year.

Part-time Employment

There are many part-time campus positions that are listed on Cornell’s Student Employment website.  Positions can be found in campus libraries, administrative offices, dining, and residential housing.

Federal Loans

The Graduate School currently participates in two federally funded programs: the William D. Ford Direct Loan and the Federal Graduate PLUS loan. These programs are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have matriculated in the degree program. You can find the applications and additional information the Graduate School website.

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan: The Cornell Graduate School participates in the Federal Direct Lending Program and the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Loans are only offered if a student completes the requisite Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), signs and completes the William D. Ford Direct Loan Application, and qualifies.
  • The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: The Federal Direct PLUS program includes graduate and professional students, and is now referred to as Grad PLUS. This federal loan program may be an alternative to the private education loan program. **Please note: Borrowers should fully use the Federal Direct Loan before they can borrow under the Graduate PLUS Loan program.

CIPA Cost Comparisons

We realize that a graduate degree represents a major investment in your career and future. We also understand that financial considerations will figure heavily in the equation when the time comes for you to decide which MPA program to attend. At CIPA, our recently-reduced tuition not only makes it easier for our students to pursue careers in public service after graduation, but also makes the overall cost of program attendance more competitive with our peer institutions.