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Chapter 4: Services for Students

Athletics / Black Cultural Center / University Chaplain and Affiliated Ministries / Child Care Center / Dining / Learning Center / Mail Services / Opportunity Development Center / Parking and Transportation / Police Department, University / Student Financial Aid / Student Health Center and Other Medical Services

Topics marked by an * link to sites whose materials are part of the Student Handbook. Where information on the linked site contradicts information on Handbook pages, or is different from information on Handbook pages, the information on the linked site takes precedence. To return to the Handbook, use the browser's back button.

Academic Advisers

Advisers are informed members of the faculty who are available to counsel students about academic affairs. An advisee may "drop in" or make an appointment during normal office hours. The deans of schools also provide academic consultation and counseling through services provided by their offices or by other offices to which they may refer a student.


Vanderbilt University competes at the highest level of the NCAA (Division IA) within the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt offers opportunities for students to compete in intercollegiate baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's cross country, men's cross country, football, women's golf, men's golf, women's lacrosse, men's tennis, women's tennis, women's indoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field, women's soccer, and men's soccer.

During the 2002/2003 academic year, 322 students participated in intercollegiate athletics. Athletic financial support is contingent upon ability and ranges from no athletically related aid to partial or full grant-in-aid. As reported in the 2002 NCAA Graduation Rates Report, 80% of Vanderbilt's student-athletes graduate. The University graduation rate for all students is 83%. Further information regarding the Department of Athletics can be found at the Athletic department Web site (http://www.vucommodores.com*).

See also Campus Recreation (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/CampusRecreation/*).

Black Cultural Center

Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center

The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center provides African and African American cultural programming for the University community and promotes the retention of African-descended students. Dedicated in 1984, the Center is named after the first African American student admitted to Vanderbilt (in 1953).

The Center represents the University's efforts in promoting diversity and fostering understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritages and values in our world. In this respect, the Center also serves as a clearinghouse for information relative to African and African American culture and life. Symposia, lectures, music, academic materials, and publications on the universal black experience provide a broad spectrum of activities for the University and the general public.

The Center is a system of support to African-descended students, but is open to all students for a variety of cultural and educational experiences throughout the year.

University Chaplain and Affiliated Ministries

The University Chaplain and other ministers and professional staff affiliated with the University provide for worship, counseling, study, social action, and fellowship for individual constituencies and join in cooperative programs that minister to the University. SeeReligious Practices in University Policies and Regulations, and Soliciting for Religious Activities in the Publicity, Promotion and Advertising section of Community Life. For additional information, visit the University Chaplain and Affiliated Ministries Web site (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/religiouslife/*).

Child Care Center

The Vanderbilt Child Care Center operates as a service to University staff, faculty, and students. Tuition is determined by the age of the child. The Center offers both full- and part-time care. Further information is available from the Vanderbilt Child Care Center, call 322-8076 or 936-1990.


Vanderbilt Dining offers a meal-plan program (VU Meal Plans) providing students comprehensive dining options. Features include extended hours, increased locations, wide variety, a rollover account for missed meals, and bonus bucks added at the beginning of each semester. The new inclusive "Premium Plan" combines all plans: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Freshman students living on campus are required to participate in the Dinner Plan. The Dinner Plan is a 7-meal-per-week plan serving dinner Sunday-Friday and brunch on Saturday. All other food is sold separately unless the student adds the Breakfast or Lunch plans. Other students may purchase the Breakfast Plan, Lunch Plan, Dinner Plan or Premium Plan by checking the selection on their housing applications or by purchasing the plans at the Vanderbilt Card Office located in Sarratt Student Center.

There are a variety of dining options conveniently located across campus. The Rand Dining Center, The Pub, Stonehenge Deli, Varsity Hill, Alpine Bagels, and Villa Pizza, all host the VU Meal Plans. Vanderbilt Dining also operates six convenience stores including the Varsity Marketplace in Branscomb which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when school is in session.

For more information on VU Meal Plans, visit www.vanderbilt.edu/dining/VUmealplans.*

For more information on Vanderbilt Dining, visit www.vanderbilt.edu/dining.*

The Identification Card

The Vanderbilt Card serves as the student ID card. Students can use it to access debit spending accounts, enter the Dinner Plan, and gain admission to campus buildings such as residence halls, academic buildings, and the Student Recreation Center.

Entering students will be issued Vanderbilt Cards at the Vanderbilt University Card Office. Returning students who have lost their Vanderbilt Cards may obtain replacements during regular office hours upon payment of a $15 fee.

  • Cardholders must report a lost card as soon as possible either to the Vanderbilt University Card Office during business hours or at any attended retail location that accepts the Vanderbilt Card as a method of payment, so that debit spending account and access privileges can be frozen. Lost cards may also be reported to the Department of Police and Security at 322-2745.
  • The Vanderbilt Card is nontransferable and restricted to use by the person whose picture and signature are on the card. Cardholders may not lend their cards to anyone or ask anyone to purchase items for them with their cards. Violation of this policy may result in confiscation of the card and in disciplinary action. Vanderbilt Card account information will be released only to the cardholder or to a third party designated by the cardholder.

See Identification Card in University Policies and Regulations.

Billing and Refunds

All billing on the student's account is handled through the Office of Student Accounts. Prorated refunds may be made in some cases of prolonged illness or withdrawal from the University, upon the recommendation of the student's dean.

For additional information, visit the Vanderbilt Card Office Web site (http://thecard.vanderbilt.edu/vucocard.htm).

Learning Center

The Learning Center helps good students become better learners. Programs and services include academic counseling, individual tutoring, course specific study halls, and learning strategies workshops. Call 3-6829 or drop by 1014 Branscomb Quadrangle for more information.

Mail Services

Two United States Post Office substations are located on the campus:

  • Station B-ZIP code 37235-in Rand Hall, and
  • Station 17-ZIP code 37232-in Medical Center North (serving the Medical Center).

Post office boxes are also located at Hill Student Center, ZIP code 37203; however, this location is a mail distribution center only and does not offer the full services of a Post Office substation.

All resident undergraduate students living in University-owned facilities are eligible for post office boxes at Station B or Hill Student Center, free of charge.

Nonresident and postbaccalaureate students are charged a box rental fee. The box rental fee is nonrefundable and will be charged to the student account at the beginning of the school year.

Students typically retain their campus post office boxes for the duration of their studies at Vanderbilt. However, students who leave the University for any reason other than to participate in study abroad programs or for medical reasons may not receive their mail through campus mail boxes and should submit a change of address card to the appropriate Post Office manager. Students may be assigned new mail boxes upon their return to the University.

Students, registered campus organizations, and departments may use the campus mail service without paying postage. Items to be distributed through the campus mail or placed in campus post office boxes must have four straight sides and be no smaller than a post card (3-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches) and no larger than a 9 x 12 envelope. Each item must be properly addressed and must include a return address.

Authorization for the limited distribution of unaddressed mail may be granted for the activities of governmental and other organizations that have a broad public purpose, provided the exception is not simply for the purpose of advertising an event or party. Authorization may be obtained for such things as public opinion polls and orientation activities. Groups seeking such authorization should apply five days in advance to the supervisor of the Station B Post Office.

Candidates for student offices will not be granted authorization to distribute un-addressed mail.

Foodstuffs may not be delivered through campus mail unless adequately packaged in an envelope or box.

Mailings of more than twenty-five pieces must be arranged by box number in numerical order.

All campus mailings of 250 pieces or more should be in Station B one week before the expected delivery to ensure timely receipt.

Greeting cards for all holidays must be in Station B well in advance of the holiday to ensure timely delivery.

For Station B:

U.S. mail, Federal Express, and other courier deliveries should be addressed as follows, replacing XXXX with your box number.

Jane Doe
Vanderbilt University
VU #35XXXX [your box number]
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-XXXX [your box number]

For Hill Student Center:

U.S. mail, Federal Express, and other courier deliveries should be addressed as follows:

James Doe
Vanderbilt University
Peabody # [and your 3 or 4 digit box number]
230 Appleton Place
Nashville, TN 37203-5701

(The zip code and "plus 4" will be the same on all Peabody addresses.)

Mailing Instructions and Shipping:

University policy prohibits residential staff from accepting package deliveries due to the lack of storage space and concerns regarding liability. For these reasons, students must make arrangements with their shippers to hold trunks and boxes until the students are able to pick them up at the terminal, or to make arrangements to have the shippers deliver the trunks and boxes to students in their residence halls after the students have checked into the residence halls. Residents must make arrangements to meet shippers who are delivering trunks and boxes.

First-class mail is posted immediately to student boxes. Boxes, packages, or mail requiring signatures are inventoried when they arrive at Station B (the central campus post office located in Rand Hall) or Peabody (Hill Center). A claim slip is then placed in the student's mailbox to notify the student about the receipt of a priority mailing. Students may claim parcels or priority mailings at the package window Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The package window is open 10:00 a.m.-12 noon on Saturdays. (Special move-in hours and location are listed below.) Packages must be picked up at the central pick-up station August 24-September 13, 2002. (See below for additional information about the central pick-up station, located in Lot 16, adjacent to the University Club.)

The campus postal service will have special hours during Move-in Weekend.

Station B will be open:

  • Friday-Saturday, August 23-24 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Peabody Mail Room will be open:

  • Friday, August 23 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Station B offers a central pick-up during the first three weeks of the semester. From Saturday, August 24 through Friday, September 13, 2002, packages may be picked up from a trailer, located in Lot 16, adjacent to the University Club, 2402 Garland Avenue.

Students must present valid student ID cards and the package notice slips obtained from their Station B or Peabody boxes to claim their packages. Hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Students may use any carrier, and should insure all packages up to the value of the contents. Students should number the packages when sending more than one. Example: 1 of 4; 2 of 4; 3 of 4; and 4 of 4.

Before August 24 and after September 13, student packages will be delivered to Station B or the Peabody Mail Room. Packages will be held for fourteen days before they are returned to the sender.

For more information call the Station B Post Office at (615) 322-2934. Students who need assistance on how to ship items from Vanderbilt should visit Station B or the Peabody Mail Room.

Opportunity Development Center

The Opportunity Development Center (ODC) serves as a resource in the following capacities:

  • to assist in keeping the administration informed of the University's obligations under state and federal equal opportunity laws;
  • to coordinate and monitor the University's compliance with regard to equal opportunity laws;
  • to serve as a source of information for faculty, staff, and students who may have questions or complaints pertaining to equal opportunity in employment practices, University sponsored programs and activities, and educational opportunities;
  • and to coordinate services for persons with disabilities.

The following federal and state laws impose special obligations on the University:

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • Titles VI and VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
  • Executive Order 11246, as amended
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974
  • The Age Discrimination Act of 1975
  • Tennessee Fair Employment Practices Law
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Of these laws, Title VI, Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act protect students from discrimination in educational and recreational programs and activities sponsored by the University. Discrimination is prohibited by Title VI on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin and by Title IX on the basis of sex, which includes sexual harassment. Students with disabilities are protected by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ODC is the office responsible for coordinating services for students with disabilities. (See alsoVanderbilt Campus Disability Access in University Policies and Regulations.)

Students who feel they have been subjected to discriminatory treatment may call the Opportunity Development Center staff for additional information (including information on the student grievance procedure). For more information, visit the ODC Web site (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/odc/*).

Parking and Transportation

Motor vehicles operated on campus by Vanderbilt University faculty, staff, and students must be registered annually with the Office of Traffic and Parking.

For information about parking regulations, visit the Office of Traffic and Parking Web site (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/traffic_parking/*).

For information about bicycles on campus, see the Bicycles on Campus of University Policies and Regulations.

Golf Carts. Golf carts are prohibited on campus, except when used by those departments (Alumni Events, e.g.) that must use such carts in the undertaking of their responsibilities during special events. Rare exceptions may be made by the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Housing and Residential Education in consultation with the Director of the Student Health Center and the Opportunity Development Center for students whose mobility impairment cannot be accommodated by any other device. Golf carts approved for use on campus must be registered annually with the Office of Traffic and Parking. Golf carts may not be operated on Metro streets and must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks.

Public Transportation. City buses, operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), serve the major arteries to the west and south of the campus (West End Avenue and Twenty-first Avenue South). All inbound bus routes converge in downtown Nashville, where connections may be made to outlying areas, shopping centers, and the Metropolitan Airport. For MTA route, fare, and schedule information, telephone 242-4433 or check the MTA schedule board on the ground floor of Rand Hall.

Police Department, University

Emergency Number: 421-1911

The Vanderbilt Police Department emergency hotline, 1-1911, can be dialed from any campus phone. Call the hotline if you need an ambulance, see a fire or explosion, witness a crime in progress, or have any other need for immediate police assistance.

Emergency Phones

More than 100 emergency telephones are located throughout the University campus and Medical Center parking areas. Most emergency phones look like pay phones without dial faces and are clearly labeled "Emergency." Some of the phones are enclosed in red metal boxes with a light on top, and some of the phones will activate a blue strobe light when the receiver is picked up. When someone picks up the receiver or presses the emergency button on any of these phones in an emergency situation, the phone automatically dials the Police Department dispatcher. Touch-tone speakerphones equipped with a red "Emergency" button are located at the main entrances to all residence halls. Pushing one of these Emergency buttons will connect the caller directly with the Police Department communications center. An open line on any Emergency phone will activate a priority response from an officer. An officer will be sent to check on the user of the phone, even if nothing is communicated to the dispatcher. Cooperation is essential to help us maintain the integrity of the emergency phone system. These phones should be used only for actual or perceived emergency situations. Phone locations are based on recommendations from the University community. Suggestions are welcome.

The Parking Map (available from the Office of Traffic and Parking) and the map in the Vanderbilt Directory both show the locations of emergency phones.

Escort Service

Escort Dispatcher: 421-8888

The escort service, available during hours of darkness, can be reached by calling the escort dispatcher at 421-8888. Male and female students, employees, and visitors crossing campus singly or in pairs are encouraged to use the walking escort service offered by the University Police Department. Walking escorts are provided from point to point on campus during the hours of darkness; however, if you travel in a group of three or more, your safety factor increases significantly, thus eliminating the need for a security escort. Because the demand for escorts escalates late at night, a waiting period should be expected at that time.

Occasionally, vehicular escorts are provided for exceptional cases, such as transporting persons with disabilities or helping individuals reach medical facilities. Vehicular transportation is not intended as a taxi service; it is a service for those in need. Inclement weather is not a sufficient reason for vehicular escort.

In addition to the above, during the academic year, VUPD also oversees the operation of SafeTrips (http://police.vanderbilt.edu/safetrip.htm*). The SafeTrips program is the result of a collaborative effort on the part of VUPD, The Division of Student Life, SGA, and Interhall. The SafeTrips program offers a van service that operates from dusk to 2:00 a.m. (5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings) and makes stops at designated locations. This service is augmented by student workers who provide walking escorts during the same time period. Call SafeTrips at 421-8888.

Lost and Found

Recovered property may be turned in at any time to the Police Department . Inquiries about lost items may be made by calling the Police Department Lost and Found property clerk at 343-5371, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the University Police Department Web site (http://police.vanderbilt.edu/).*

Student Financial Aid

The Office of Student Financial Aid counsels students and parents concerning need-based financial assistance (institutional, state, and federal) available to Vanderbilt students. Eligibility for need-based assistance is determined through a needs analysis process using the Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Collegeboard Profile. Upon the student's completion of all required financial aid application materials, this office will provide information regarding a student's eligibility and finalize assistance for the student. Grants, scholarships, student loans, parent loans, and student employment are available for eligible students and/or parents. For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid Web site (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/FinancialAid/finhome.htm*).

Student Health Center and Other Medical Services

The services provided at the Student Health Center are designed to meet the routine primary health care needs of all degree-seeking students. Except in emergencies, students should call for appointments to minimize waiting time and avoid missing classes.

Immunization (vaccine) requirements (or signed waiver) mandated by the State of Tennessee as of July 2003:

  • All new incoming students who will be living in on-campus housing: Meningococcal meningitis vaccine (one injection)
  • All new incoming students regardless of housing status: Hepatitis B vaccine series (three injections)

The vaccines can be obtained from a private health provider, a local health department or through the Vanderbilt Student Health Center. Waiver forms are mailed to all incoming first year undergraduate students and are available to all students at the Student Health Center. Documentation of receipt of vaccines or signed waiver forms must be submitted to the Student Health Center.

Medication and supplies ordered by Student Health physicians and practitioners can usually be provided on the premises to students at or near cost. The Health Center encourages use of the Vanderbilt Card, cash, or check for purchase of medication and supplies. Some routine laboratory tests are provided at minimal costs, but customary lab fees will be billed for diagnostic tests or treatment provided elsewhere, including any location in the Vanderbilt Medical Center or Vanderbilt Clinics. If a student is referred to a specialist, charges incurred are the responsibility of the student.

Charges are also made for any visits to the VUMC Emergency Department, including those made during hours when the Student Health Center is closed. Emergency Room charges may not be covered by insurance unless an accident or emergency illness is involved.

Care provided at the Student Health Center is confidential to the extent permitted by law.

Unless Vanderbilt University Medical Center personnel are asked by the treated student not to do so, residential staff in the Office of Housing and Residential Education may be notified when a Vanderbilt University student is admitted or treated in the Vanderbilt University Hospital or Emergency Room. This practice allows the Office to provide support and assistance to students and their families.

Students who voluntarily or involuntarily withdraw from the University for medical or mental/emotional health reasons must be cleared by the Director of the Student Health Center before being permitted to re-enroll.

Hospitalization Insurance

All degree-seeking students registered for 4 or more hours at Vanderbilt are required to have injury/illness insurance coverage acceptable to the University. The University has endorsed a student health insurance plan offered by the Koster Insurance Agency. Information about the plan is available at the Student Health Center or by calling the insurance assistant at 343-4688. A student registered for four or more credit hours is automatically enrolled in this insurance plan and will be billed unless he or she completes the online waiver process.

The annual premium is in addition to tuition. Coverage extends from a set date in August through the same August date of the following year whether the student remains in school or is away from the University. However, there is no pro rata refund included in this coverage.

This plan provides hospital, surgical, and major medical benefits. A brochure explaining the limits, exclusions, and benefits of the plan is available at registration, in the Office of Student Accounts, or at the Student Health Center.

Students are responsible for submitting the appropriate claim form to the insurance carrier for each accident or illness. These forms are available at the Student Health Center.

Waiver of Insurance Plan

A student who does not wish to subscribe to the insurance plan offered through the University must notify the University of injury/illness coverage acceptable to the University under another policy. Waiver of the student insurance plan does not affect eligibility for services at the Student Health Center. The online waiver process may be found at www.kosterweb.com.* To waive coverage, students should select Vanderbilt University and follow the directions.

Undergraduate Students. New students must complete the online waiver process if they do not desire the coverage provided by Koster's plan for Vanderbilt Students. The insurance charge will not be waived if the online process is not completed by August 19 for the fall semester, and by January 7 for student who are newly enrolled for the spring semester. The waiver process will remain in effect each academic year unless an acceptance card is completed and received by the Office of Student Accounts.

Graduate/Professional Students. New and returning students must complete the online waiver process each academic year if they do not desire the coverage provided by Koster's plan for Vanderbilt Students. The insurance charge will not be waived if the online process is not completed by August 19 for the fall semester, and by January 7 for students who are newly enrolled for the spring semester.

Family Coverage

An additional premium is charged for family insurance coverage. An eligible student who wishes to provide coverage for his or her spouse, University-certified domestic partner, and/or children may secure an application form from the Student Health Center at the time of registration. Forms should be sent to Koster Insurance Agency 1515 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA 02169.

International Student Coverage

International students and their dependents residing in the United States are required to purchase the international student health insurance plan approved by the University and offered through the Koster Insurance Agency. Exceptions are made if the University deems coverage adequate from another source. Information and applications are provided through the International Student and Scholar Services http://www.vanderbilt.edu/isss*).

For more information, visit the Student Health Center Web site (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/student_health).*

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Foreword | A Statement of Principles | The Honor System | Community Life | Services for Students | University Policies and Regulations | Student Conduct | Residential Life | Alcohol and Controlled Substances

Copyright © 2003 Vanderbilt University. Last modified 15 August 2003. For more information, please email studentlifetech@vanderbilt.edu.