I might have the greatest job in the world. I get to travel. I get to meet intelligent, interesting young people. When not traveling, I go to work on a beautiful campus in the middle of Nashville. I even have a season baseball ticket.
Still, the best part is that I can make some promises that very few of my colleagues at other institutions can make. Before midnight on Wednesday, that list only included two. Now, with Vanderbilt’s new Expanded Financial Aid program, I can add a very important third commitment.
I am here to talk about each of those three promises, and how individually each is wonderful, but in concert, puts Vanderbilt into select company. So let’s get started.
Vanderbilt Meets 100% of demonstrated financial need.
Essentially, this means that Vanderbilt will cover whatever the difference is between what your family can afford and what Vanderbilt costs.
Essentially, you and your family fill out FAFSA and the College Board CSS Profile. Using a federal calculation (on the FAFSA) and an institutional calculation (with the much more specific CSS) Vanderbilt determines a number that amounts to the money your family can spend for one year of higher education. Let’s say it’s $10,000. That number is deducted from our total cost ($53,000) to get your need. The remaining $43,000 will be fully and totally met in your financial aid package.
A lot of schools make this promise, but they are unable to fund all of the students that they would like to admit. Which is where the second promise comes in.
Vanderbilt has a need-blind admissions process.
This means that we admit students completely based on their merits, talents and perspectives. Finances are never taken into account during the admissions process for any US citizen or permanent resident. Inside Higher Ed called need-blind the “gold standard” and I am most proud of this promise. It guarantees that Vanderbilt is accessible to anyone who will contribute to our intellectual and social community. It’s as simple as that.
Vanderbilt will no longer package NEED BASED Financial Aid loans
Promise three is the icing on the cake. We want students to have enriching academic experiences while on our campus and not have to choose academic programs with loan repayment in mind. We want students to have the motivation and financial means to pursue graduate school, work in the service sector and become community leaders and educators.
Occasionally I make these promises to families who simply do not believe it. That perhaps there is a catch or that it’s simply too good to be true. I assure you, there is no fine print. These commitments are legitimate and stand at the philosophical core of what we do. I encourage you to get in touch with our financial aid office if you have any questions. This is an exciting time for Vanderbilt and regardless of your ability to pay, you can be a part of it.