Health insurance

Although students are not required by the College to have health insurance, we strongly encourage them to enroll in a plan that provides coverage in the Mount Vernon area.  Before arriving on campus, please review your current policy to make sure it covers your student when they are away from home. If your student does not have good coverage in Iowa or is not currently insured, these websites may be helpful to you in finding a policy:  

 Questions about student insurance can be directed to Stephanie Abresch, Clinic Coordinator at (319) 895-4465 or  email

Emergency planning

Family, campus or regional emergencies may occur while your son or daughter is at Cornell. Have multiple options for communicating (e-mail, cell, text, designating a friend of family member outside your hometown and Mount Vernon through which to relay messages) in case one mode is down. 

Rapid Alert Messaging & emergency numbers

All new students should register for RAM Alerts, Cornell’s emergency text messaging service that notifies them of safety concern situations on or around campus. Also encourage your student to program important numbers (Campus Safety and Mount Vernon Police) into their cell phone for emergencies.

  • Cornell College Campus Safety:  319-895-4299
  • Mount Vernon Police:  319-895-6141

Smoke-free campus

State law requires all indoor and outdoor campus spaces to be smoke free. 

Managing stress

Stress can affect students physically and emotionally.  There are many ways students can manage stress on campus for no cost. Short-term counseling is available at the Counseling Center. There is a Stress Free Room located in Ebersole. The Roe Howard Fitness Center located on the middle level of the Thomas Commons is available for personal fitness, or sign up for yoga, Pilates, or other activities through our Wellness Programs.

Renter’s insurance

Cornell highly recommends that you obtain a renter’s insurance policy to cover replacement of your student’s belongings while living away from home. Just like in your home, destructive events (like pipes bursting) can destroy property. Cornell, like other colleges, does not insure students’ personal property, but we do provide immediate assistance. Think of us like the Red Cross; we’ll intervene right away to place students in safe and secure places to live and help meet immediate needs (e.g., textbooks, clean clothes). But replacing entire wardrobes, computers, etc. is the purpose of insurance. Check with your agent or research online to obtain a policy to cover your student’s belongings on and off campus. 

First aid kits

Encourage your student to pack a first aid kit for college. Basic wound care supplies, a thermometer, and common over-the-counter medications are good to have on hand. The Health Center can help with these supplies during its hours of operation, but needs for simple first aid supplies often arise after hours.

Internet safety

Advise your student to use caution when posting personal information and pictures on social networking sites.

Don't tempt a thief

Most thefts in college residence halls are crimes of opportunity committed by fellow students and only take a moment to happen.  For example, a room door is left standing open and valuables (such as cash or an iPod) are sitting on a dresser near the door and make for easy picking.  Encourage your student to keep valuables stowed away and lock their doors when the room is unattended and when they are sleeping.  Our campus is a safe place and these practices help keep it that way.