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Vanderbilt expands financial aid to offer greater access

(Press Release from 10/1/2008)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt University's seven-year initiative to reduce students' education-related debt took a bold step forward in fall 2009 as the university will now replace all need-based student loans with Vanderbilt grant and scholarship assistance while continuing to fully meet the demonstrated need of its undergraduates.

Funded through a combination of strategic budget allocations and Vanderbilt's Shape the Future fund-raising campaign, the initiative – designed to increase access to a Vanderbilt education across all income levels – has already reduced the average overall indebtedness of graduating seniors by 17 percent.

"We enrich Vanderbilt's unique learning community and make it a more dynamic environment for everyone when we open our doors to highly talented and qualified students of all economic, cultural and geographical backgrounds," Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said.

Provost Richard C. McCarty added, "By eliminating need-based loans, we also free our students to consider choices about their careers or further study that they might have overlooked because of concern about the pressure of repaying students loans."

Vanderbilt's policy is to admit students on the basis of their talents and ability, rather than their ability to pay. The university also commits to fully meeting all students' demonstrated financial need. A top priority of Vanderbilt's ongoing Shape the Future campaign has been increased scholarship support, paving the way for the elimination of need-based loans in the financial packages the university offers to all eligible undergraduates.

"The generosity and activism of those who are contributing to this massive need-based initiative reaffirm everyone's passion for helping the most academically talented, diverse and engaged students," said Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Douglas Christiansen.

In addition to the significant funding that has already been committed to the debt-reduction initiative since its inception, the additional dollars that are required to fully replace need-based loans come from institutional reallocations and from earnings on an additional $100 million to be raised in new scholarship endowment over the next several years. Vanderbilt will specifically seek new philanthropic gifts from alumni and friends for this initiative.

In determining a student's demonstrated financial need, Vanderbilt takes into account each student's individual family circumstances and all educational costs such as tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, course materials, and personal and travel expenses. Vanderbilt has decided not to impose specified income-level caps in deciding eligibility for the program.

This program applies to all undergraduates with demonstrated need who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens.


Office of Student Financial Aid
Phone: (615) 322-3591
Fax: (615) 343-8512
2309 West End Ave.
Nashville, TN 37203-1725

Media Contact

Elizabeth Latt
Vanderbilt News Service
(615) 322-NEWS