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Three Promises

Posted by on Friday, October 3, 2008 in Advice for Parents, Application Process, Diversity at Vanderbilt, Scholarships and Financial Aid.

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.


Brent already laid out the back story of our Expanded Aid Program and two of our student Vandy Bloggers, Chris and Jean, have chimed in with their take on the exciting news.


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.


I promise.





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  • Talha Haseen

    October 12th, 2008

    Hey bloggers, I was wondering wheather applying early decision to Vander-awsome-bilt would affect at all the financial need of a student/family. I know that once you are accepted under the early decision plan you must attend vandy (which I can’t imagine anyone complaining about) but is it possible that financial aid could be declined and the student would end up in massive debt?

    Also could someone give me a decent picture of the “average”, well I wouldn’t really consider anyone at Vandy “average” in any aspect but could someone maybe tell me what exactly the addmissions counselors are looking for in the “average” not so “average” vandy student? And one more thing, how is the diversity at vanderbilt? I haven’t yet visited the campus personally but I wanted a rough idea of diversity at least.

    Thank you very much