Frequently Asked Questions

 

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NEED-BASED AID

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 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.

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.

Matriculation deposits may also be waived based on the student’s financial need.  In order to request that your matriculation fee be waived, or to request a week-long fee extension, contact your admissions counselor or call our front office at 800.288.0432.

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.

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.

Army, Navy, and Marine ROTC programs are active on the Vanderbilt campus. Students can participate in Air Force ROTC programs through nearby Tennessee State University.

Scholarship students in the Army, Navy, or Marine ROTC programs receive full tuition, books, uniforms, and a monthly stipend that increases each year in which they are in the program. Scholarship students in Air Force ROTC can receive either $15,000 scholarships or full-tuition scholarships, both of which 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.

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

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

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.

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 things go into a need-based aid package, and a lot depends on the cost of attendance at the school you‘re going. If your friend didn‘t get need-based aid, maybe they attend a school with a lower cost of attendance than Vanderbilt.

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 with 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.

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.

Vanderbilt will meet 100% of demonstrated financial need with 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.

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.

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.

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 on or around April 1. For this reason, we encourage families who wish to compare financial aid packages with other schools to apply regular decision.