a birds eye view of a painted field with trees and a building.

photo / Jason Koski (UREL)

Affordability Initiative

Empowering the next generation of creative leaders.

Over 150 years, the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University has built a solid foundation as a global leader in our creative and applied disciplines. From renowned programs in architecture, art, and city and regional planning, to recently launched departments in real estate and design technology, our work has never been more essential to how we build a more sustainable, just, and resilient world. In the face of major global concerns, our responsibility to meet the challenges of the next century and prepare future generations to be leaders and innovators of the built environment, creative economy, and civil society couldn't be more pressing or relevant. 

In 2021, as part of its To Do the Greatest Good campaign, the university launched an affordability initiative aimed at making its education even more accessible, to ensure that the most talented students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are fully equipped to lead, thrive, and tackle their generation's greatest challenges. As part of this campaign, and to honor Ezra Cornell's vision of "... any person ... any study" and support the creative capacities of each and every AAP student, the college has begun an initiative to increase the number of scholarship funds available to undergraduate and graduate students and enhance the student experience across all five departments.

Through this effort, AAP will expand student access and affordability by securing 150 lead commitments of $25K or more toward student aid.


Our Need For Scholarships

AAP's 954 students come from all corners of the world, representing 59 countries and 43 states. With backgrounds as athletes, human rights activists, researchers, volunteers, and leaders of every kind, this diverse body brings unique perspectives and experiences that encourage discourse and exploration that is equally expansive. However, for many students, the cost to attend AAP is prohibitive. In addition, the college must stay competitive to draw top talent. Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, Stanford, and other peers have greater resources to compete for the best students. For many of these prospective students, financial support is a deciding factor in the choice between our college and a peer school. Further, students thrive academically and personally when they have the freedom to explore the student experience fully, to take on new challenges and opportunities, and to broaden their perspectives. A more affordable education enables them to pursue international study, research, fellowships, and career development, and to consider graduate and professional degrees and community engagement opportunities.

As the competition for top talent intensifies among the world's leading design schools, so too does the cost to compete. Of all AAP students enrolled in Fall 2022, approximately 253 students (44%) received need-based financial grant/scholarship aid from Cornell sources. The college spends nearly $11 million annually to meet the financial need of undergraduate students, of which only 5% is met by endowed scholarships and gifts earmarked specifically for AAP.

Scholarship support for undergraduate and graduate students would enhance Cornell and AAP's power to attract talented architects, artists, planners, urbanists, and scholars. Gifts toward scholarships would enable the college to fully support our students' varied set of needs and would also reduce the student debt burden upon graduation, leaving all possible career choices open for students to empower their creative contributions and professional impact.

Ways You Can Make An Impact

A person placing architectural structures on pedestals for review.

Endowed Scholarship Gifts

Endowed scholarships remain the most effective way of ensuring access for our students, now and into the future. Scholarships designated to AAP—through a gift of $100K or higher (payable over five years)—would create a permanent fund that generates enough income to award a scholarship to a student every year in perpetuity. Through AAP's scholarship initiative, a donor with an existing scholarship in AAP has the option to enhance their fund through a gift of $25K or more.

In addition, Cornell has pledged a 1:2 match for endowed undergraduate scholarship commitments of $250K and above. For graduates of the last 20 years, the university has pledged a 1:2 match for endowed commitments of $150K or more. These funds are available through 2026, or until they are fully leveraged.

If you would like more information about making an endowment gift, please contact us at aapalum@cornell.edu.

A person placing architectural structures on pedestals for review.

A person painting with a building behind them.

A person painting with a building behind them.

Current-Use Scholarship Gifts

To make an immediate impact, donors may choose to commit $25K or more (payable over five years) to the AAP Undergraduate Scholarship Fund or to the AAP Graduate Fellowship Fund.

Tuition / Aid At A Glance



If you are interested in the scholarship initiative and supporting our students, please contact Keith Hejna or Jessica del Mundo.

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