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Frequently Asked Questions


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

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).

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.