Skip to Content


Graduate School

Home > Financial Information > Information

Awards and Assistantships

Vanderbilt University expends its awards and assistantship funds for the twin purposes of attracting superior students and providing assistance to the faculty in instruction and research.

Financial awards are available in several forms, with considerable variation from one program to another. Students wishing to be considered for financial awards administered by the Graduate School should check the appropriate box under "Plans for Graduate Study" on the Personal page of the online application and make certain that a complete application is received by January 15.

All fellowships and assistantships described below are awarded on the basis of academic merit and potential for scholarship.

Fee Structure

Tuition in the Graduate School will be charged at the rate of $1,782 per semester hour for the 2014/2015 academic year and is subject to change in the future.

Fees are as follows for 2014 - 2015:

  • $422 - Activities and recreation fee
  • $2,539 - Medical insurance
  • $30 - One time transcript fee

Financial Aid Online

A number of internet sites provide important information about financial support. Mark Kantrowitz's FinAid website is perhaps the most comprehensive resource available in any format. It provides easy access to FastWeb, a searchable database of over 180,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans in addition to links to a number of important resources. The Indiana College Aid Network links to scholarship and financial aid information sources, including Peterson's and Princeton Review sources, a minority fellowship database compiled at the University of Chicago, and a number of searchable databases that allow individuals to match fellowships, scholarships, and internships to their personal qualifications and needs. The Foundation Center Online offers extensive information ranging from assistance in locating possible funding, to copies of applications, to pointers in proposal writing.

In addition to these helpful links, Vanderbilt's Division of Sponsored Research provides links to possible funding sources. An important site for graduate students and recent graduates is COS, a searchable database of detailed information about thousands of federal and non-federal funding opportunities. The The Vanderbilt Library also provides links to information on financial aid and funding.

Loan Assistance

Loan assistance is available for graduate students in the form of subsidized and unsubsidized loans through the Federal Stafford Loan program, the Federal Perkins Loan program, and certain alternative/private loan programs. Eligibility for the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan and the Federal Perkins Loan is based on financial need, but the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is available regardless of need. (However, students are required to complete the need-based application process before a Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan may be awarded.) Alternative/private loans are available from private sources that are not based on financial need. We recommend that students apply for federal loans first and then pursue additional sources of funding if necessary.

In order to be considered for the Federal Loan programs, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This may be done online.

Detailed information on eligibility criteria and application procedures may be obtained from the Office of Student Financial Aid, 2309 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203-1725.

The Office of Financial Aid

Other Sources of Support

Vanderbilt cannot offer financial awards to all qualified applicants. Prospective applicants are urged to apply for fellowships or grants from national, international, industrial or foundation sources. Information on such fellowships may be obtained through undergraduate financial aid or career counseling offices or from directories of funding sources, such as the Annual Register of Grant Support and The Grants Register, in university libraries.

Listed on the Office of Honor Fellowships Graduate Student page are some of the major non-University fellowships for which U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply. These fellowships pay annual stipends in addition to a tuition allowance. Students who receive an award from Vanderbilt and from a non-University source may be permitted to hold both concurrently, although Vanderbilt may adjust its award accordingly.

Office of Honor Scholarships Graduate Students Information.

University Tuition Scholarships

Service-free awards that pay all or part of tuition costs. Maximum award value is currently $30,792 for the nine-month academic year.

The following four awards are normally supplemented by a full University Tuition Scholarship:

  1. University Fellowships
    Service-free awards that provide stipends of up to $21,000 for the academic year.
  2. Graduate Teaching Assistantships
    Awards that provide stipends of up to $21,000 for the academic or calendar year to students who assist in supervised teaching of undergraduates.
  3. Graduate Research Assistantships
    Awards that provide stipends of up to $22,000 for the academic or calendar year. Students carry out thesis or dissertation research with support from a research grant.
  4. Traineeships
    Service-free awards that provide stipends of up to $23,000 for the calendar year to students who study full-time in certain areas of the sciences or engineering.
  5. Teacher Training Awards.
    A number of half-tuition, service-free University Tuition Scholarships are available to students pursuing the Master of Arts in Teaching degree. M.A.T. students may receive support as teaching assistants in certain programs.

Honor Fellowships

Several honor fellowships are awarded by the Graduate School to highly qualified students entering study for the Ph.D. or the master's degree, if that is the highest degree offered by the program. In order to be considered for these awards, an applicant's file must be complete by January 15.

Individual departments nominate applicants for these highly competitive awards, which are announced in early March. The honor fellowships listed below are in addition to a fellowship, assistantship, traineeship, or tuition award and are made for a period of five years for the Ph.D., two years for the master's.

  • Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Graduate Scholarships: $6,000
  • University Graduate Fellowships: $10,000

Provost's Graduate Fellowships

The Graduate School offers these fellowships to under-represented minority graduate students who intend to pursue the Ph.D. degree in preparation for an academic teaching career. Each award provides a $10,000 stipend awarded as a supplement to any other funding that is offered to the applicant and are made for a period of up to five years

Yellow Ribbon Program

Last updated: August 5, 2011

Vanderbilt University Graduate School statement on participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, effective as of Fall 2011.

  1. As a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, the Graduate School of Vanderbilt University is committed to provide financial aid as necessary (specifically, in the form of tuition and fees) up to $6,000 per academic year to each post-9/11 eligible Veteran who is admitted and enrolls as a student in a degree program and who is determined by the VA to be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Students admitted to the Graduate School as special, non-degree students are not eligible for Yellow Ribbon financial aid from the Graduate School.
  2. All applicants admitted to the Graduate School are considered for merit-based financial aid as described in our Catalog and website. A large proportion of Vanderbilt's Graduate School students receive substantial funding from the University, in the form of stipends, tuition, and fees, or a combination thereof. In fact, it is exceptional for a student to be offered admission to full-time study in a Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt without a commitment of substantial aid from Vanderbilt University. In some instances, students admitted to master's degree programs in the Graduate School are also offered financial aid, but not as frequently or to the same extent as are Ph.D. students.
  3. The order of precedence for financial support using VA benefits is as follows: (a) any financial aid awarded by Vanderbilt for tuition and fees will be paid on behalf of the student in the form of a credit to the student's Vanderbilt account; (b) any balance remaining for tuition and fees after the Vanderbilt aid has been applied may be eligible for VA education benefits, as determined by the VA and in coordination with the Vanderbilt VA benefits administrator, up the VA annual limit of $17,500; (c) any balance remaining, after the above aid and benefits have been applied, may then be eligible for Yellow Ribbon benefits, subject to the conditions stated below.
  4. Any financial aid from Vanderbilt in the form of tuition and/or fees awarded to a Graduate School student who is eligible for the Yellow Ribbon program will count toward meeting Vanderbilt's Yellow Ribbon commitment under this policy. For an eligible veteran who has been awarded financial aid (tuition and/or fees) greater than or equal to $3,000 in either the fall or spring semester, the financial aid provided by Vanderbilt will be deemed to have fully satisfied the Yellow Ribbon obligation for that semester.
  5. The sum of Vanderbilt aid for tuition and fees, combined with veteran's benefits (basic benefits and Yellow Ribbon), cannot exceed the total cost of a student's tuition and fees.
  6. Where admitted applicants are awarded aid in amounts less than $6,000 per year, or who are awarded no aid, upon notification that the admitted student is eligible for the Yellow Ribbon benefit, the Graduate School will increase its award to equal one-half of the value of tuition for that semester, minus any VA benefits for tuition and fees, not to exceed a total of $3,000.
  7. This policy statement will appear on our Web site and will be included in materials sent to admitted applicants who are identified as veterans.
  8. Graduate School students who believe their financial aid from Vanderbilt has not been determined in a manner consistent with these guidelines, above, may appeal to the Graduate School Associate Dean for Academic Services.