Cornell is about to get a taste of CornellCare on campus. Casey Breznick from the Cornell Review reports.

CornellCare: University to Charge Students $350 ‘Health Fee’ for Not Purchasing Student Health Insurance

President Skorton: “For the common good” | Vice President Murphy: Gannett “in deficit”

Students are expressing outrage at yet another hike in the cost of attending Cornell. Earlier today, Feb. 5, University President David Skorton sent an email to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students announcing a “student health fee” of $350 to be levied on all students who do not purchase Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) from the University next academic year.

Since this is a fee, and not a tuition hike, most likely financial aid will not go to covering this cost.

According to Skorton, this fee will affect approximately 70% of undergrads, 10% of graduate students, and 30% of professional students. Given the number of students in each of these categories, this fee should raise about $3.9 million.

Skorton’s email cites “inequitable access to care” as the reason for introducing this student health fee. In a Cornell Chronicle report, Dr. Janet Corson-Rikert, associate vice president for campus health and director of Gannett Health Services, cites the rising cost of healthcare.

At a Student Assembly meeting held later in the day, Skorton said this fee was “done for the common good” and referred to it as a “reliable revenue stream” for Gannett, which has experienced a growing number of patients over the years and currently operates at a deficit. Skorton argued that the “tightness on the bottom line” prevented the vitality of the current allocation model of allocating university funds to Gannett. Skorton also said there is a need for Gannett to be ready for unpredictable, large-scale disease outbreaks or similar health scares.