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What you need to know: Financial Aid Deadlines and Process

Posted by on Monday, October 29, 2018 in Scholarships and Financial Aid, Vandy Bloggers.

You may know Vanderbilt for its stellar academics, its hometown of Nashville, or the many ways VU students balance work and fun. Did you know that Vanderbilt also has one of the best financial aid programs in the country? In fact, Princeton Review has ranked Vanderbilt #1 for Great Financial Aid this year. If you want to know more about why our financial aid program, known as Opportunity Vanderbilt, is so good, head over to the website of the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

In order to take advantage of this great program, you have to apply for financial aid. Today, we bring you the details on our financial aid process and deadlines. Read on for what you need to know!

Required Forms

For U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens, Vanderbilt requires the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile provided by the College Board. We use these applications to determine eligibility for federal, state, and institutional assistance. We only require the CSS Profile for international applicants. You’ll need this info to complete the financial aid applications as accurately as possible:

  • Parent(s) 2017 Federal Tax Return and W-2’s
  • Student 2017 Federal Tax Return and W-2’s
  • Records of untaxed income such as child support and interest income
  • Information on cash (savings and checking account balances), investments, and real estate


There are priority filing dates for each of the admission decision plans, along with the dates that award information will be available for admitted students (more info on admission decision plans is available through the Dates and Deadlines page of the admissions site):

Early Decision I

  • FAFSA and CSS Profile – November 7, 2018
  • Financial aid awards available – Mid-December, 2018

Early Decision II

  • FAFSA and CSS Profile – January 2, 2019
  • Financial aid awards available – Mid-February 15, 2019

Regular Decision

  • FAFSA and CSS Profile – February 1, 2019
  • Financial aid awards available – Late March, 2019

Completing the FAFSA

Remember that the FAFSA is free! Before you complete the FAFSA, an FSA ID is required for both the student and parent. The FSA ID is used to confirm your identity and allows an electronic signature on federal student aid documents. Your FSA ID will remain the same each year and it is extremely important to keep this information confidential. To learn more or create your FSA ID, click here.

Once you successfully create FSA IDs, you are ready to complete the 2018-2019 FAFSA. You will have the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer your 2017 Federal tax information directly to the FAFSA. Make sure that both the parent and student electronically sign the FAFSA with their FSA ID. Vanderbilt’s school code for the FAFSA is 003535.

Completing the CSS Profile

The CSS Profile application is similar to the FAFSA but gathers more information. There is an application fee of $25 for the first school and a $16 fee per additional school. It is possible to qualify for a fee waiver and eligibility information is available here. Vanderbilt’s school code for the CSS Profile is 1871.

Tax Returns

We also require admitted students to submit a copy of 2017 tax returns for parent(s) and student. The Office of Student Financial Aid will request a copy be submitted via IDOC after the student is offered admission. If you submit your tax return information for another school participating in IDOC, then that information will be made available to us once requested.

If you are not sure if you qualify for need-based financial aid, we offer two tools to help you find out: the Net Price Calculator and the MyinTuition Quick Cost Calculator. The Net Price Calculator provides a more in-depth analysis of your estimated financial aid award while the MyinTuition Quick Cost Calculator offers a quick look at what you might receive. For either tool, the estimates rely on you to provide accurate information. If you have any questions about the financial aid process, please feel free to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at 1-800-288-0204 or

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