Affordability

Image of Vanderbilt Campus and The Old Gym in fall

Through Opportunity Vanderbilt, we meet 100% of every student’s demonstrated financial need, without loans.

Our resolve to make a Vanderbilt education accessible and affordable to all admitted students is stronger than ever. Both our need-based and merit-based scholarships reflect our dedication to making a Vanderbilt education possible.

  • #1 Best Financial Aid, Princeton Review, 2021
  • 65% of undergrads receive some form of financial assistnace
  • $41.5 million in scholarships for 2019/2020 first-year students

Our financial aid program does not involve income bands or cutoffs that limit eligibility.

See the chart below to see how we're making Vanderbilt accessible to all qualified students regardless of their economic circumstances.

Need-Based Awards to First-Year Students 2020-2021

Parent Income Range Median Annual Award % Of Applicants Offered Aid Award Range
$0 - 39,999 $75,591 97% $45,136 - 80,794
$40,000 - 59,999 $73,167 100% $26,761 - 80,308
$60,000 - 79,999 $70,861 99% $28,095 - 77,399
$80,000 - 99,999 $65,927 97% $29,976 - 79,001
$100,000 - 119,999 $58,739 98% $23,007 - 79,902
$120,000 - 139,999 $55,018 100% $22,555 - 70,082
$140,000 - 159,999 $45,959 96% $13,207 - 66,534
$160,000 - 179,999 $41,684 89% $8,792 - 63,194
$180,000 - 199,999 $39,255 91% $4,334 - 56,058
$200,000+ $32,716 29% $1,447 - 55,741

Net Price Calculator

Our net price calculator can be used to estimate your need-based financial aid eligibility at Vanderbilt. Please note that this calculator is intended for use by U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens (as defined by the U.S. Department of Education for federal student aid purposes) who will be full-time, first-year undergraduate students. Our calculator will NOT produce any indication of your potential for receiving merit-based Vanderbilt assistance or your potential to be admitted as an entering freshman.

Please keep in mind the information generated by the net price calculator will be an estimate. The results will only be as accurate as the information provided; read instructions carefully and use the help icons as needed. The net price calculator is currenlty applicable to the 2019-2020 academic year.

Cost of Attendance

Academic year 2021-2022

Tuition$54,840
Housing$12,000
Meals$6,376
Books and supplies$1,194
Student services fee$1,430
Student health fee$696
Personal expenses$3,002
Travel AllowanceVaries
Estimated Total

$79,538

(plus travel)

First-year fee$908
New student transcript fee$100
Engineering fee*$1,000
First-year engineering laptop allowance*$1,600

Modest annual increases can be expected. Students should also allow for travel expenses and health insurance (if purchased through Vanderbilt).

*The Engineering Fee and Engineering Laptop Allowance apply to engineering students only. First-year engineering students are required to either purchase a laptop from Vanderbilt or provide their own computer that meets published requirements.

campus walk
shots of campus

Merit Scholarhip Programs

Vanderbilt awards merit-based scholarships to applicants who demonstrate exceptional accomplishment and intellectual promise.

Three signature scholarships — the Ingram Scholars Program, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship, and the Chancellor’s Scholarship — comprise the majority of Vanderbilt’s merit-based awards. Recipients of these scholarships are guaranteed full-tuition awards for up to eight semesters that include a stipend for research, study abroad, a creative endeavor, or the required Immersion Vanderbilt experience.

International Students

Vanderbilt University offers need-based scholarships to a limited number of international undergraduate applicants.

International first-year applicants are eligible to apply for all merit-based scholarships offered at Vanderbilt.

Need-Based Scholarship FAQ

  • Do I qualify for financial aid? What‘s the maximum income that my family can have and still qualify?

    Income is only one consideration when awarding need-based financial aid. Other factors matter as well, such as family size, number of children in college, family assets, etc. There is not a specific income that would automatically disqualify a family from receiving need-based aid. Applying for aid by filling out the FAFSA and the CSS Profile is the only way our Office of Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships can determine your eligibility for financial assistance. To obtain an estimate of your need-based financial aid eligibility, visit our net price calculator page.

  • How do I apply for financial aid? What forms do I need to complete? Where do I get these forms?

    To receive need-based aid, Vanderbilt requires the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid PROFILE and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Both the FAFSA and CSS Profile can be found online.

  • I can‘t afford the application fee, what do I do?

    Students can submit application fee waivers from NACAC or the College Board along with their application for admission. These waivers will be accepted in place of the $50 application fee. 

  • I don‘t have the money for the matriculation deposit right now but the deadline is coming up, can I get an extension?

    The Office of Undergraduate Admissions may grant students extensions on the matriculation deposit. Extensions are typically granted for one week at a time. Contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 800.288.0432 if you need to request an extension of your matriculation deposit.

  • I received an outside scholarship, how will that affect my need-based aid package?

    Historically, Vanderbilt students have been very successful in obtaining outside scholarships or other sources of financial assistance. These outside scholarships/sources must be taken into account as part of a student‘s total need-based aid package and cannot be counted as part of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If an adjustment to a need-based financial aid package is necessary, the outside scholarship will be used first to replace a student‘s earnings expectation before reducing Vanderbilt need-based assistance.

  • I received an ROTC scholarship, how does that work?

    Army and Navy ROTC programs are active on the Vanderbilt campus. Students who participate in the Navy ROTC program have the option of commissioning into the Marine Corps upon graduation. Students can participate in Air Force ROTC programs through nearby Tennessee State University.

    Scholarship students in the Army or Navy ROTC programs receive full tuition, fees, a book allowance, uniforms, and a monthly stipend that increases each year in which they are in the program. Scholarship students in Air Force ROTC can receive scholarships varying from $3,000 up to full-tuition scholarships based on your scholarship type, which may also include money for some fees, books, and a monthly stipend.

    Vanderbilt provides all students receiving ROTC scholarships an additional $6,000 per year toward any other expenses. If your family has additional demonstrated need, you can apply and possibly qualify for need-based financial aid.

  • I‘m a resident of Tennessee. How does the lottery scholarship work with my need-based aid package?

    Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships (TELS) are included as part of the overall grant assistance that Vanderbilt offers in meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need.

  • My financial aid offer was less than I had expected. How might I request a reconsideration of my financial aid award?

    Students should work with the Office of Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships if there are questions about their particular financial aid award and how that award was determined. Students can work with their aid officer to amend any information or provide additional details regarding significant changes in their family‘s circumstances that may have occurred. Students can request a matriculation deposit extension from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions if your financial aid award offer is still under review.  The Office of Student Financial Aid can be contacted at 615-322-3591 or via email at finaid@vanderbilt.edu

  • The total cost of attendance presents a financial burden for my family. How can I afford Vanderbilt?

    It is important to remember that Vanderbilt practices a need-blind admissions process and is committed to meeting 100% of every family’s demonstrated need through gift aid and a reasonable expectation of student work. Our Net Price Calculator can be used as a tool to estimate the amount of need-based financial aid your family may receive, but we will not know what exactly your package will entail until you officially apply by submitting the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.

  • What are some common misconceptions about financial aid eligibility?

    I didn‘t get any aid when I applied to college, so you won‘t either! Just because your neighbor lives in a house that looks similar to yours, or your parents work at similar jobs, doesn‘t mean that you have similar financial need. Many different criteria are assessed when considering your eligibility for financial aid at Vanderbilt. 

  • What does Vanderbilt mean when it says that it will meet "100% of demonstrated need?"

    Based upon the financial data submitted on the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid PROFILE and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your family situation will be reviewed to determine an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). After your EFC has been determined, we will calculate the difference between the cost of attending Vanderbilt and the contribution expected from your family. This difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and your EFC is your family‘s demonstrated need. Vanderbilt will meet 100% of this need without loans, through a combination of grants, scholarships and earnings from work expectation. Under certain conditions, and based upon individual family circumstances or desires, loans from federal and/or other sources may ultimately be made available to students upon their request to replace any earnings expectation in their award or to replace some portion of their family‘s expected contribution.

  • What is "work study?"

    The Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP) provides part-time employment opportunities for students with financial need. FWSP awards are distributed as bi-weekly or monthly paychecks according to the hours worked and hourly wage. Undergraduate students may work up to 20 hours per week. A job fair is held every fall for students who have FWSP as part of their financial aid package to help them find a job on campus.

  • What types of financial aid does Vanderbilt award?

    Vanderbilt will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need without loans, through a combination of grants, scholarships and an earnings from work expectation. Under certain conditions and based upon individual family circumstances or desires, loans from federal and/or other sources may ultimately be made available to students upon their request to replace any earnings expectation in their award or to replace some portion of their family‘s expected contribution.

  • What‘s the best way to get the most financial aid?

    It is important to start early and do your research through books, online, and at financial aid workshops offered at your high school or local community. When applying for aid, read the directions, pay attention to deadlines, and make sure you submit all appropriate documents.

  • What‘s the difference between institutional and federal aid?

    Institutional aid is money awarded by Vanderbilt University. Most institutional aid is in the form of grants and scholarships. Federal aid is money awarded by the government in the form of grants, loans, and work study.

  • Will my need-based aid be affected if I apply early decision vs. regular decision?

    No, students who apply for admission to Vanderbilt will receive the amount of need-based aid that their family qualifies for regardless of the decision plan. Students who apply under binding early decision plans and also apply for assistance through the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid PROFILE will receive a tentative financial aid award notification, but final financial aid packages will not be mailed for all admitted students until around late March. For this reason, we encourage families who wish to compare financial aid packages with other schools to apply regular decision.

Merit Based Scholarship FAQ

  • Am I eligible to receive a merit-based scholarship if I am applying as a transfer student?

    No, Vanderbilt‘s merit-based scholarships are awarded to incoming first-year students only. However, transfer applicants are eligible for need-based financial aid.

  • Am I more likely to receive a merit-based scholarship if I apply Early Decision or Regular Decision?

    All Early Decision and Regular Decision candidates who submit completed applications by the appropriate deadline, including a completed scholarship application, will be considered for merit-based scholarships at Vanderbilt. There is no advantage or disadvantage to applying Early Decision in regards to scholarship awarding. However, all merit-based scholarship consideration occurs in February and March, so students admitted to Vanderbilt Early Decision will not be notified of any merit-based scholarship offers until late March (when Regular Decision candidates are also notified).

  • Are there merit-based scholarships available for specific majors?

    Most merit scholarships at Vanderbilt are offered without regard to any specific intended major. However, a number of major-based-scholarships are offered to students admitted to the Blair School of Music.

  • Do I need to apply for merit-based scholarships at Vanderbilt?

    The application for the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship is required; you must apply to be considered. For the Ingram Scholarship Program and Chancellor's Scholarship, the application is strongly encouraged; preference is given to those who apply. Students who wish to be considered for additional merit scholarships are encouraged to complete the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship application. You may apply for merit scholarships via MyAppVU after submitting your application for admission. More information can be found on the Scholarships website.

  • Does Vanderbilt offer athletic scholarships?

    Yes.  As a Division I athletic program that competes in ten women’s and six men’s sports, interested students should refer to our official athletic site for more details about how the scholarship process works for their particular sport.

  • Does Vanderbilt participate in the National Merit Program?

    Yes, Vanderbilt provides scholarship assistance for admitted and enrolled students who are named National Merit Finalists. Students must designate Vanderbilt as their first-choice school with the National Merit Corporation by the deadlines set by the National Merit Corporation and enroll as an entering first-year student to receive Vanderbilt's National Merit Scholarship. For those finalists who also receive one of Vanderbilt's merit scholarships, we guarantee an additional $2,000 in National Merit total scholarship dollars per year from all sources (with Vanderbilt supplementing any smaller corporate or one-time National Merit Corporation awards). Those finalists who do not receive an additional merit scholarship from Vanderbilt will receive a total of $5,000 per year in National Merit scholarship from all sources (with Vanderbilt supplementing any smaller corporate or one-time National Merit Corporation awards).

  • I received an ROTC scholarship, how does that work?

    Army and Navy ROTC programs are active on the Vanderbilt campus. Students who participate in the Navy ROTC program have the option of commissioning into the Marine Corps upon graduation. Students can participate in Air Force ROTC programs through nearby Tennessee State University.

    Scholarship students in the Army or Navy ROTC programs receive full tuition, fees, a book allowance, uniforms, and a monthly stipend that increases each year in which they are in the program. Scholarship students in Air Force ROTC can receive scholarships varying from $3,000 up to full-tuition scholarships based on your scholarship type, which may also include money for some fees, books, and a monthly stipend.

    Vanderbilt provides all students receiving ROTC scholarships an additional $6,000 per year toward any other expenses. If your family has additional demonstrated need, you can apply and possibly qualify for need-based financial aid.

  • If I receive a scholarship from an organization outside of Vanderbilt, how will that impact my scholarship offer from Vanderbilt?

    Scholarship funding received from organizations outside of Vanderbilt will typically be added on top of any merit-based scholarship award from Vanderbilt up to the cost of attendance (COA).

    If a student is receiving need-based financial assistance, outside scholarships/sources must be taken into account as part of a student‘s total need-based aid package and cannot be counted as part of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If an adjustment to a need-based financial aid package is necessary, the outside scholarship will be used first to replace a student‘s earnings expectation before reducing Vanderbilt need-based assistance.

    For specific questions about outside scholarship awards, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Undergraduate Scholarships at 800-288-0204.

  • What is the profile of a merit-scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt?

    Each of our scholarship programs maintains different criteria --therefore the available funding is awarded to students with different “profiles.”  First and foremost, students must excel within the highly competitive and holistic admissions review process. The Ingram Scholars Program recognizes students who plan to combine a professional or business career with an entrepreneurial spirit and exceptional commitment to civic-minded service, innovation, and leadership. The Chancellor’s Scholarship recognizes students with outstanding academic records who have worked to build strong high school communities by bridging gaps among economically, socially, and racially diverse groups, and have demonstrated significant interest in issues of diversity education, tolerance, and social justice. The Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship recognizes students who combine outstanding academic achievement with strong leadership and contributions outside the classroom.

  • What sort of merit-based scholarships are available at Vanderbilt?

    Each year, Vanderbilt awards about 300 merit-based scholarships to incoming first-year students who demonstrate exceptional accomplishment and high promise in intellectual endeavors. These awards range from partial to full tuition and are renewable through four years of undergraduate study as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic performance. Financial need, unless otherwise specified, is not a factor.

    Vanderbilt awards a number of scholarships to students choosing to enroll in any of the four undergraduate schools, including our three signature, full-tuition awards: The Ingram Scholars Program, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship, and the Chancellor’s Scholarship. Detailed descriptions of these awards can be found on the Scholarships website.

    Additional awards include: the Carell Family Scholarship for students who have held part-time employment during their high school years; the John Siegenthaler Scholarship for outstanding minority students interested in a career in journalism and/or public policy; the Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Scholarship for students interested in pursuing a career in sports journalism; and the Curb Leadership Scholarship for students who place creativity and innovation at the center of their lives and use their talents and leadership to create new possibilities. Vanderbilt also awards specific scholarships to qualified students residing in Houston, Texas, and selected counties in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. To ensure consideration for these awards, students must apply for admission to Vanderbilt and should also complete the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship application.