Don’t let the price tag associated with a college education at Vanderbilt University put you off from applying, as it offers a wonderful financial aid package to its students. Vanderbilt is committed to “enrolling talented, motivated students from diverse backgrounds” and it does not assess a student’s ability to pay when considering applicants. Instead it is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need, which does not include any loans.
Nashville is consistently rated as one of the top cities to live in the U.S. and Vanderbilt itself boasts a 97% retention rate for students. Each freshman student signs Vanderbilt’s honor code which was first introduced in 1875, and emphasises Vanderbilt’s community creed of “scholarship, honesty, civility, accountability, caring, discover and celebration.”
There is no family income restriction imposed on financial need. Need is assessed as the difference between the student and family expected contribution, and the cost of attending college. If a student is awarded an outside scholarship this counts towards their financial aid and does not reduce the family expected contribution. Various factors are taken into consideration beyond income, such as assets and the number of other children in the family.
Financial aid is comprised of Vanderbilt scholarships and grants, together with federal work study. Students may work up to 20 hours a week although there is the option for students to choose not to work, and replace their federal work study program with loans. Current costs are tuition at $38,952, which brings total estimated costs excluding travel to $56,634. Vanderbilt reiterates though that 100% of demonstrated financial need will be met, and families should not automatically assume they won’t qualify.
If financial need is demonstrated then there is no need for the student to apply for needs based federal loans. Students are encouraged to search out scholarships and grants early which can pay the costs of their education.
In addition to needs based financial aid the university also awards 200 merit based scholarships each year to students who “demonstrate exceptional accomplishment and intellectual promise.” These scholarships pay either partial or full tuition costs over the full four years of undergraduate attendance. 60% of current students receive some measure of financial aid, and 5% of incoming students are awarded with a merit based scholarship.
Vanderbilt also runs an active donors program and encourages parents and grandparents with the means to donate to the university. The program has raised $5 million in five years, a testament to the quality of education which students appreciate at Vanderbilt.