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When Is a Deadline Not a Deadline?

Posted by on Tuesday, February 5, 2008 in Application Process.

Good Afternoon,

It is super-Tuesday and I have yet to vote. It was a choice between arising early and stand in line or sleep later and vote on the way home from work and stand in line. Obviously, I took the latter.

In this case for me, waiting does not have a real consequence. I will still have the opportunity to vote and my vote will count the same regardless if I go at 7:00am or 7:00pm. However, when it comes to financial aid deadlines, there may be consequences for filing late.

First, let me explain how things work at Vanderbilt. Our priority deadline for filing for need-based financial aid for regular decision period is February 1. However, we will continue to process applications as they are received, giving full consideration for Vanderbilt assistance even though the application(s) may have been submitted after the February 1 priority deadline.

From a practical standpoint, however, the later you choose to file will translate into a financial aid decision that is issued later. Since our matriculation deadline is May 1, our goal is to have your financial aid decision in the hands of students well in advance of this deadline. Obviously, if you file on April 1, we will evaluate your eligibility and send notification within 2-3 weeks. This will not leave a great deal of time to plan and ask questions prior to the May 1 deadline. Also, the failure to file by a deadline may affect eligibility for certain types of state financial aid assistance.

I am often am asked the question: “Should I wait until my tax returns are finished before filing for assistance.” The answer, typically is ‘no.’ You should estimate your income, if necessary, to file as close to our deadline as possible. We will ask for a copy of both parent and student tax returns, so we will update the application information to be correct with the final tax return. However, please understand, absent final (and accurate) income figures on the FAFSA and PROFILE applications, our estimated award to the student is as good as the income provided to us.

Should you have questions regarding the application process, please visit our website at: And, as always, feel free to send any questions to:

Now, if I can only find my voter registration card…



  • Anonymous

    March 31st, 2008

    My son has been wait-listed. What are the financial aid ramifications with that scenario?

  • Brad

    March 31st, 2008

    If a student is admitted off of the waitlist, we will provide the same financial aid package as if the student was admitted during the regular process. In other words, there is no financial “penalty” or reduction in package due to a student being admitted off of the waitlist if and when that happens.

  • Anonymous

    April 21st, 2008


    Thanks for answering the inquiry regarding financial aid as it applies to waitlisted students. As parents, we had the very same question, but the first poster beat us to the punch in asking. As you might imagine, this is of absolute importance as waitlisted students (and the parents who write the checks) decide whether or not to send in the proverbial “nonrefundable” deposits to other schools while hoping for the Vandy Admissions staff to make that one phone call. We want to again extend our thanks to the Vandy Admissions and Fin Aid staffs for being so open with these procedural questions and responses. Vandy has made the process as smooth as can be expected for those of us who are parents of waitlisted students. Feel free to have Admissions call and offer our daughter a spot in the Class of 2012!