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Vanderbilt scholarships, student loans and grants

Compare in-school financing options to foot that $73K bill.

Knowing how you’re going to pay for school is a key decision when deciding to apply for or attend college — especially a relatively expensive university like Vanderbilt. In addition to federal and Tennessee-funded options, Vanderbilt’s own scholarships, grants and loans might play a key role in whether or not you enroll.

How much does it cost to go to Vanderbilt University?

Cost of attending VanderbiltAnnual cost
Room and board$16,910
Books and supplies$1,294
Other expenses$2,874
Total cost for the 2019–2020 academic year$73,148

As you can see, tuition is only part of the cost of attending Vanderbilt University. Housing, textbooks and health insurance also factor in to how much you might pay while in college. And there’s a chance you might have to pay even more.

For example, international students have to pay $3,650 more for the required health insurance plan. First-year students are also required to pay a “First Year Experience Fee” of $836. And engineering students are often responsible for paying lab fees.

Even more, these estimates don’t include the cost of transportation if you live off campus.

Does Vanderbilt offer a tuition payment plan?

It does. Students who are unable to afford tuition and fees upfront can enroll in the Vandy Plan. The Vandy Plan is an interest-free installment plan that allows you to pay off your tuition over several months. Borrowers pay a small fee to enroll and can pay by bank transfer or credit card.

Payments aren’t due until the semester after you receive funding. So, Fall semester payments don’t start until May 15 of the following year, while Spring semester payments begin on October 15. Contact the Vanderbilt Office of Student Accounts for any questions about the enrollment process.

Vandy Plan enrollment period
  • Fall semester: May 1 through August 31
  • Spring semester: October 1 through January 31

Vanderbilt University scholarships, grants and fellowships

In addition to Tennessee and federal funding, Vanderbilt University has a handful of scholarship and grant programs. Only the top 1% of the first-year class can qualify for its merit-based scholarships for undergraduates. And grants are generally only available to graduate students.

Ingram Scholars Program

AmountFull tuition plus a stipend for a summer service project. You might be eligible for more funds if you’re unable to afford additional attendance costs.
Eligibility requirements

Your initial eligibility depends on factors like your commitment to civic service, leadership qualities and entrepreneurial spirit — based on your application and interview with the selection committee.

Accepted scholars can qualify for funding for their entire time at Vanderbilt as long as they:

  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.
  • Keep a 20-hour monthly service commitment during the academic year.
  • Complete one summer service project.

The Ingram Scholars Program is meant to fund undergraduates who aim to make public service a part of their careers. In exchange for tuition, Ingram Scholars are required to make a substantial community service or outreach commitment during the semester and over the summer.

There are no fixed eligibility requirements, though you might have a leg up on getting accepted if you’ve spent part of your high school career volunteering or working with community outreach programs. And while an application isn’t necessary, those who fill one out are given preference.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars Program

AmountFull tuition plus a one-time summer stipend for an immersive experience after second or third year. You might qualify for additional funding if you’re unable to cover the rest of your attendance costs.
Eligibility requirements

While there are no hard eligibility requirements to qualify, the selection committee considers factors like academic achievement, leadership skills, intellectual promise and contributions to your community. You must apply to be considered. Audition scores also factor into the application for Blair School of Music students.

To stay eligible, you must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher while you’re in school.

The Russell G. Hamilton Scholars program is a tuition scholarship for master’s and PhD students. It’s often paired with a fellowship like the University or Provost’s Graduate Fellowship Program. You don’t have to apply to be considered.

University Graduate Fellowships

Amount$5,000 per academic year
Eligibility requirementsYou must be a student entering a master’s or PhD program to apply.

The University Graduate Fellowship is a stipend for new, highly qualified masters and PhD students. You must apply by January 15 to be considered for the following academic year and your department must nominate you. Vanderbilt announces fellows in March.

The fellowship extends to two years for master’s students and three years for PhD students. At the end of the third year, PhD candidates can apply for an additional two years of funding. This fellowship comes with a Russel G. Hamilton tuition scholarship.

Provost’s Graduate Fellowships

AmountUp to $5,000 per academic year.
Eligibility requirements

To qualify, you must be a:

  • PhD student.
  • Member of an underrepresented minority group.

The Provost’s Graduate Fellowship is intended to encourage diversity in Vanderbilt’s master’s and PhD programs. Minority students who plan on pursuing an academic teaching career can qualify for a $5,000 yearly stipend in addition to full tuition coverage through the Russell G. Hamilton Scholarship Program.

Fellows qualify for three years of funding, though they have the option of applying for an additional two years once the third year is up.

Graduate Student Council Travel Grant

AmountUp to $500 per year.
Eligibility requirements

To qualify, you must be:

  • A graduate student at Vanderbilt.
  • Traveling to present research in an academic environment.
  • An active member of the Graduate Student Council.

The Travel Grant is meant to help graduate students present their work at academic conferences, symposia, workshops and other scholarly settings. The funds can cover transportation and housing for travel domestically and abroad. Students can only qualify for one travel grant per budget year, which spans from July 1 to June 30.

In addition to this, your department might offer grants and scholarships for travel or specific types of work. There are also several fellowship programs available to graduate and PhD students that can cover part or all of your tuition.

Are there other scholarship and grants available?

There are. In addition to Vanderbilt funding, you can also apply for federal grants like a Pell Grant and Tennessee scholarships and funding. You also might be eligible for even more local funding sources, depending on where you attended high school.

Does Vanderbilt offer student loans?

No. However, Vanderbilt students that are unable to cover the cost of tuition can apply for federal or private student loans. Vanderbilt recommends students first apply for federal loans by filling out the FAFSA before turning to private loans.

Vanderbilt’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has a searchable list of private providers that students have used in the past called FASTChoice. Or you can use the table below to find a lender that meets your needs.

Compare private student loan offers

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Stride Funding Income Share Agreement
As low as 2%
Up to $25,000
2 to 10 years
A student loan alternative for graduate students based on your future salary.
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 0.99% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

You need be a strong student to get into Vanderbilt — and an even stronger one to qualify for scholarships to pay for it. Vanderbilt offers very few need-based programs, making it potentially unaffordable for those who can’t qualify for federal or state funding.

Learn more about your financing options by checking out our guide to student loans.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to attend Vanderbilt Graduate School?

It depends on how many credit hours you sign up for — though PhD candidates typically have part or all of their costs covered by fellowships and teaching or research assistantship programs. For the 2018-2019 academic year, this is how master’s student costs broke down:

  • Tuition per credit hour: $1,967
  • Annual health insurance: $3,162
  • Recreation fee for Fall and Spring semesters: $478
  • Recreation fee for Summer semester: Around $79

Applying to a graduate program costs $95. All students also must pay a one-time $100 transcript fee and a $10 audit fee.

Does Vanderbilt consider your personal finances when you apply?

No. However, not everyone who’s accepted will be offered enough financial aid to foot the cost. Students who are unable pay out of pocket will need to consider both in-school as well as state and federal financial aid options.

Can I make payments to Vanderbilt in cash?

No, Vanderbilt stopped accepting cash payments in January 2019. You can make payments using the following methods:

  • ACH bank transfer
  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • International wire transfer
  • Check or money order

Picture: Shutterstock

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