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congrats to our 2022 persistvu graduates

Video Recording of our PersistVU Graduate Recognition Ceremony Speakers, Virginia Richards, Sung Jin Lee, and Dr. Cassanora Lampley (via Zoom)

What is PersistVu?

PersistVU acknowledges that holding the identity and experiences as a person from low-/lower-income backgrounds is multifaceted and unique. The PersistVU Identity Initiative works to create systems of support and community building that help combat the societal narratives associated with low-/lower-income communities while acknowledging the impact of the lived experiences of Vanderbilt’s scholars and faculty. Many of the students who have collaborated on the development of this identity initiative are members of QuestBridge, one of PersistVU’s Network Partners. The Initiative’s Network Partners uplift the various realities of people from low-/lower-income backgrounds. The Network Partners also aim to debunk classist and elitist narratives that create oppressive environments for members of our campus community to maneuver, such as, the institutional and societal barriers that too often define and limit the capacity for success, as well as negatively impact mental, emotional, physical, and financial wellness.

What are some common experiences of people from low-/lower-income communities?

There are a multitude of barriers and experiences related to coming from limited and low-income households and communities. Vanderbilt University, the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, and QuestBridge recognizes that some scholars and faculty members who identify with low-income experiences can relate to:

  • financial anxiety,
  • pressure to be resilient and achieve socioeconomic mobility for themselves and their families,
  • sharing earnings with loved ones,
  • turning down personal and professional opportunities due to unaffordability,
  • information and resource gaps,
  • imposter syndrome,
  • working part- or full-time throughout the educational journey, and more.

As individuals from low-income backgrounds may keep these considerations in mind, certain attributes develop to help navigate the challenging circumstances, such as resourcefulness, decision-making, critical thinking, problem-solving, commitment, and perseverance, to name a few.

Recognizing some of the lived experiences of people from low-income households comes with an understanding of the collective and communal-oriented nature of how people do what they can to take care of themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors. There is power and strength in the village it takes to survive and navigate the socioeconomic classes of the United States.

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You may encounter a number of experiences that are common for students from low-income backgrounds. We have prepared a list of resources to guide you through these potential challenges.

Upcoming Events

Join SCNO (Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations) and the Vanderbilt QuestBridge chapter on February 27th from 6-7pm in Buttrick 101 for an introduction to social impact and consulting event! This event is exclusive to FGLI students at Vanderbilt, and RSVP is mandatory! The event will be an overview of one of the most discussed industries right now, ~consulting~, and we will have an open dialogue-style panel of student leaders from QuestBridge and SCNO exec. We will share professional resources, discuss the philanthropy/social impact environment, and present our authentic experiences in pursuing consulting/social impact work while in undergrad. RSVP via AnchorLink here:

Choosing a Major

You may need to click through departments in some links to find the Department Chair.

Financial Confidence
  • Dore Money $marts offer a free online tool called GradReady that has short lessons on budgeting, debt management, banking, and other topics.
  • HireADore helps locate open work-study and/or regular job positions on or near campus.
  • Experience Vanderbilt provides up to $500 for student activities.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of getting to know your financial advisor. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship offers individual appointments and workshops on budgeting, preparing financial aid applications, and loan repayment.
  • Additional money for books, or other expenses if they exceed expected costs.
  • Ask for a health insurance waiver if the cost would be financially straining.
  • Vanderbilt Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative that works to maximize the economic benefit for Vanderbilt community members.
  • Net Price Calculator
  • Federal Work-Study
  • National Center for Education Statistics: Vanderbilt University
Academic Resources
Getting Involved in Student Organizations
Finding Work

resources for Work/Life/School balance

Remote work opportunities:

Learning Campus Culture
Additional Resources: