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Your New VU

Your New VU 2020

Announcement: In light of Vanderbilt’s phased approach to re-opening on-campus operations and activities, information on this webpage has been updated to reflect the new timelines for enrollment and orientation processes.  Please note that all Transfer Student Orientation activities will take place virtually through the Brightspace learning management system. Visit the Transfer Student Orientation webpage for more information about this required program. For more information and updates, please visit or call the Fall 2020 Helpline at (615) 322- 4357.


May 2, 2020

Welcome to the Vanderbilt family! We are honored that you have chosen to join our university. Whether you are a new student or their family, Your New VU will be an information source for the next several months. It maps out the requirements you must complete prior to arrival, important guidance about your transition into the university, and the many resources and opportunities Vanderbilt has to offer during your first year.

In these highly uncertain times, Vanderbilt is committed to keeping you informed as you and your family prepare to begin your Vanderbilt journey. Your New VU was designed to give you a glimpse into your first year at Vanderbilt and will help guide the decisions ahead of you. In this document, there is key information about the mandatory Transfer Student Orientation, fall course registration, as well as how and when to turn in required forms. Your New VU will help you learn more about the systems in place to support student health, wellness, and safety, and take a look at the wide range of opportunities that make up Vanderbilt student life.

Use the checklist included in Your New VU to ensure you complete the steps necessary to make a smooth transition to Vanderbilt. This will make certain that you are ready from day one to take your place on campus as a Commodore.

We know some of you may have questions regarding the fall semester. As Interim Chancellor Susan R. Wente has stated, it is our goal and sincere hope to welcome you to campus in the fall, though no final decisions have been made at this time. We encourage you to visit the university’s Fall 2020 website frequently, as information is updated there regularly. The Fall 2020 website will include updates to dates or processes referenced in Your New VU.

Again, congratulations to you and your family on your admission to Vanderbilt! Our entire community looks forward to greeting you.


Douglas L. Christiansen, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for University Enrollment Affairs
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education

Vanessa B. Beasley, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Dean of Residential Faculty
Associate Professor of Communication Studies

  • What to Do and When to Do It
  • Special Information for New Students
  • Mandatory Immunization and Health Compliance
  • Reasonable Academic Accommodations
  • Student Health Insurance
  • Be Smart-Be Safe Online Education Programs
  • Student Meal Plan
  • Preparing for Classes
  • Commodore Card
  • Office of Student Accounts
  • Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships
  • Planning Ahead

What to Do and When to Do It

May 2020

  • Bookmark the Transfer Students website for all relevant information.
  • Register for your VUnetID.
  • Families: Submit your email address to the Parents and Family Programs website to receive newsletters.
  • Prepare immunization and health information that might require contacting or visiting your health care provider (due by May 15).
  • Start checking your VU Gmail regularly for important information, including your bills.
  • International Students: Check the email you used to apply for Vanderbilt admission frequently for important updates regarding visas, and travel arrangements. (Note: Your VU Gmail may not be accessible in all countries.)
  • Submit Commodore Card photo online (between May 15 and July 15).

June 2020

  • Review the information in your school or college’s registration packet and follow instructions about advising and registration carefully (registration period: June 8–26).
  • Sign up for the VANDY Plan (by August 31). (VANDY Plan payments are due by the 15th of the month. Visit the Payment Options page for more information).
  • Register as an absentee voter/make voting plan.
  • Visit the Vanderbilt University Off-Campus Housing Service website for information on off-campus housing and how to find a roommate

July 2020

  • Prepare your requests for academic accommodations (students with disabilities or medical or psychological conditions) to SAS (due by July 1).
  • Sign up for the VANDY Plan (by August 31). (VANDY Plan payments are due by the 15th of the month. Visit the Payment Options page for more information).
  • Submit Commodore Card photo online (by July 15).
  • Select Commodore Cash funds online for Commodore Card (by July 15).
  • International Students: Look for an email from your International Orientation Leader, if you have signed up for International Student Orientation.
  • Make changes to your class schedule if necessary during the open enrollment and student change period (July 22–September 2).
  • Start pre-ordering books from the bookstore.
  • If you plan to waive Vanderbilt health insurance, do so at the Gallagher Insurance Company website (before August 1).

August 2020

  • Look for an email from your Transfer Student Leaders (August 4-7)
  • Place your pre-arrival COVID-19 test kit order by 2 p.m. CDT (August 5)
  • Complete Student Return to Campus Acknowledgment Form (by August 5)
  • Download VandySafe app to start mandatory daily symptom monitoring (by August 10)
  • Complete your pre-arrival test via telehealth Zoom meeting between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. CDT (Aug. 11-12)
  • Drop off your pre-arrival test kit at the UPS store or brown UPS drop box by 4 p.m. your local time (August 12)
  • Schedule readjustment is available in YES (Sophomores: August 5, Juniors: August 4, Seniors: August 3)
  • Classes for all undergraduate schools begin (August 24)
  • Submit reflective essay on the Campus Reading to Brightspace (by August 24)
  • Complete the Transfer Student Orientation online modules in Brightspace (August 15-August 31)
  • Attend mandatory Transfer Student Orientation synchronous Zoom meetings (August 18, August 21, August 24, August 27) Note: Times and Zoom links will be posted on Brightspace on August 15.
  • Pay fall tuition, fees, and other charges or sign up for VANDY plan (by August 31). Visit the Payment Options page for more information.
  • Sign up to receive AlertVU on your phone or other devices (before you arrive to campus)
  • International Students: Finalize arrival plans by submitting your pre-arrival form online

Communication Between May & August

  • Early May Acknowledgement of receipt of the matriculation fee, request to submit photo for your Commodore Card
  • May, June, July Information about health insurance waiver deadline (email from Student Accounts)
  • Late May – Early June Registration materials and instructions from your school (mail or email)
  • Early June Meal Plan (postcard, domestic mailing only)
  • Early June Directory of Dining Services (mail, domestic mailing only)
  • Mid-July Bookstore information on ordering textbooks and course materials (email)
  • Early August Letter from your Transfer Student Leaders (mail/email)
  • Early August Email from student health insurance provider Gallagher



  • A valid photo ID to pick up your Commodore Card
  • Transfer Student Leader letter containing contact information and group number
  • Directions to campus and hotel


Special Information for New Students



Bookmark the Transfer Students website and the visit often for updates you may need in order to prepare for your arrival. This website will contain the most up-to-date information available regarding fall programming. You should check this website often, and visit the university’s Fall 2020 website frequently, as information is regularly updated. 


Follow @TransfersofVU on Instagram and join the official Vanderbilt Transfer Students Fall 2020 group on Facebook. You will receive frequent updates about what is happening to prepare for your arrival, and you will become part of the digital community that connects us all.

Mandatory Immunization and Health Compliance


MANDATORY IMMUNIZATION COMPLIANCE: The Student Health Center maintains a website that outlines the immunizations that you are required to receive before arriving on campus. Tennessee state law and Vanderbilt University regulations dictate that all students comply with the immunization requirements. Students will not be able to register for classes until their immunization and tuberculosis documents have been received, reviewed, and approved for compliance by Student Health.

IMMUNIZATION COMPLIANCE AND HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE FORMS: The Health Questionnaire form is due to Student Health by May 15. Note that other official immunization records (those including a physician signature or from a state, county, or previous undergraduate institution) are accepted as well and are also due by May 15. This is a recommended deadline because undergraduates register for classes in early June.

The VU form is preferred over other documents, because it provides Student Health with fully detailed information before you arrive on campus:

Demographic information, which includes:

  • Personal contact information
  • Emergency contact information
  • Immunization history (required and recommended vaccinations)
  • Tuberculosis screening survey and necessary testing, if applicable, signed by a health care provider for verification
  • Brief health history, including all significant physical or mental health issues, so providers at Vanderbilt can provide you with the appropriate care

A pre-college physical exam is strongly recommended, but it is not required. If you have ongoing health problems or chronic health conditions, you should contact the Student Health Center (SHC) or the University Counseling Center (UCC) prior to your arrival on campus to assure the continuity of your care.

Call the SHC at (615) 322-2427 to schedule an appointment with a provider. Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m. CT. To contact the UCC, call (615) 322-2571.

Information regarding the compliance process and checklist can be found at the Student Health Center website. All necessary forms need to be downloaded from the site, completed, and uploaded to the secure Vanderbilt Student Health portal. Forms will not be sent to you.

Student Health Insurance


STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE AND INSURANCE WAIVER: All students have access to the Student Health Center. While office visits are free and other services at the SHC have minimal charges, all students are required to have health insurance coverage in the event that hospitalization or care outside the SHC is required.

In order to ensure that all students have adequate coverage, there is a Vanderbilt-sponsored health insurance policy available to students. The cost of the policy is automatically billed to your student account unless you submit an approved online waiver by August 10, 2020. The online waiver process requires that you submit documentation of other comparable insurance coverage. International students are not eligible for the waiver process of the student health insurance plan.

Upon waiver submission, you will receive a reference number that the waiver request has been received. Each waiver is verified for comparable coverage outlined by Vanderbilt University. You will then receive confirmation, via the email(s) you provide in the waiver request, of whether your waiver request has been approved. Once it is approved, the charge for the policy will be removed from your student account.

By mid-May, the websites for the Gallagher Student Health Insurance plan will be live. You can visit the Student Health Center website to learn more about the plan and the waiver process. An insurance representative can be reached at the SHC at (615) 343-4688, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. CT, to answer any questions.

Insurance waivers must be completed by August 10, 2020, if you do NOT wish to purchase (and be billed for) the student health insurance plan. All necessary forms need to be downloaded from the site, completed, and uploaded to the site to submit. Forms will not be sent to you.

Be Smart-Be Safe Online Education Programs

BE SMART–BE SAFE MANDATORY ONLINE EDUCATION: Vanderbilt devotes considerable resources to assisting students in making intelligent choices regarding their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of other students and the larger Vanderbilt community. Among these resources are online education programs designed to provide critical information about our community’s expectations around topics such as preventing sexual assault, making safer and healthier choices about alcohol use, thriving in and sustaining a culture of inclusive excellence, and protecting vulnerable populations. Please monitor your Vanderbilt email address throughout the summer for a series of emails more information about the program requirements, access information, and deadlines. For more information about these requirements, visit the Student Accountability, Community Standards & Academic Integrity website, or contact


Students Dining

Off-campus students who wish to purchase a meal plan are able to do so. To learn more about the specific meal plans, visit the Campus Dining website.  Each meal plan includes the following:


A “meal” is a combination of items from the menu, which may differ from one on-campus dining location to another, depending on the menu and type of service offered. At each location, signs will define the items that compose a meal at that particular venue.


Commodore Cash is the primary spending account used by students. It can be used to make debit purchases at any campus retail location that accepts the Commodore Card as a method of payment. Meal Money is used as an enhancement to the VU Meal Plan.

Meal Money is an additional debit spending account available for isolating funds for food purchases. Meal Money can be used at on-campus dining locations, vending machines, and off-campus participating local Taste of Nashville restaurants.

For more information on the Commodore Card, to make a Commodore Cash selection, or to add funds to your Commodore Card, please visit the Card Services website. Click on “University,” then “Students” for an overview.


This program allows you to use your Commodore Card at local partner restaurants, just as you would a debit or credit card. Purchases at Taste of Nashville locations are debited from your Meal Money. “Meals” cannot be used off-campus. Visit the Campus Dining website for the list of participating restaurants.


Vanderbilt Campus Dining can assist you in making wise choices to meet your nutritional goals and is happy to help you navigate food allergies, health conditions, or other dietary restrictions. Several resources are available, including registered staff dietitian Emily Suttle, an online nutrition calculator, an executive chef, and more.

Attend the Special Dietary Accommodations Meeting (date and location TBD) if you have specific needs. Visit the Campus Dining website for more details.



REQUESTS FOR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: Transfer students seeking reasonable accommodations for the 2020–2021 academic year due to a medical, psychological, or disability impairment should contact Student Access Services prior to July 1, 2020.

The SAS website provides information for students regarding reasonable accommodations, documentation guidelines, and other information about the office. All students who request reasonable accommodations due to a medical, psychological, or disability impairment must submit full and current documentation to SAS.

Preparing for Classes

JUNE 8–26

COURSE REGISTRATION: YES (Your Enrollment Services) allows you to see the class schedule for fall 2020 and to store your class selections in a shopping cart.

You will receive a registration packet from your school in late May or early June that will include the exact dates of your registration windows, information on how to match your class choices to requirements in your school, and how to contact an adviser for assistance in choosing your courses. Please read your registration packet carefully when it arrives and follow the directions and timeline provided. Your packet will either be mailed to your home address or emailed to your VU Gmail address.

User guides are available at the Registrar website to assist you in using the registration system.


OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD: The registration system reopens July 22 so you can make adjustments to your schedule, if necessary. Open enrollment ends September 2, a week after classes start. That first week of classes is commonly referred to as the add/drop period.


The External Education Unit will review previous course work for newly admitted students. Courses that are already listed in the Transfer Credit Search tool will be posted to your Vanderbilt record. For courses taken elsewhere that have not been evaluated by Vanderbilt, the External Education Unit will seek course syllabi and facilitate the evaluation process for you. In the event that a course syllabus cannot be found, the External Education Unit will send you an email notifying you that you will be responsible for obtaining a detailed syllabus. You can then submit the detailed syllabus and course through the Transfer Credit Submission application in YES.

Read more about transferring course credits at the Registrar website.


Each undergraduate college has its own guidelines and deadlines for students to declare majors. Incoming transfer students who have a major on their form are assigned faculty advisers from that department. Students can also refer to the academic advising information and FAQs for each undergraduate school for information:

Blair School of Music

College of Arts and Science*

Peabody College

School of Engineering

*The College of Arts and Science’s Pre-major Academic Advising Resources Office (CASPAR) is available to provide support, advice, and perspective to transfer students who have no major selected. Advisers work with students to ease the transition from high school to college, as well as offer guidance during the major selection process.


The degree audit is an online tool that allows students, advisers, and administrators to track students’ academic progress toward completion of degree requirements. The audit is available through the YES suite of applications. Course catalogs can also be accessed for your reference. Class standing is regulated and determined by each undergraduate school.


Immersion Vanderbilt provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to pursue their passions and cultivate intellectual interests through experiential learning. This intensive learning experience takes place in and beyond the classroom and culminates in the creation of a final project. Transfer students also complete an Immersion project. Make an advising appointment with the Office of Immersion Resources as soon as you can to discuss your options, ideas, and how to get started on your very own project. You will give your Immersion Vanderbilt project its own unique title that will go on your transcript, so plan ahead and seek help to make the most of this opportunity.


REQUESTS FOR REASONABLE ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS: Transfer students seeking academic accommodations for the 2020–2021 academic year due to limitations related to disability should contact Student Access Services (SAS) prior to July 1, 2020. All students who request reasonable accommodations because of functional limitations due to disability must submit current documentation to SAS. Although requests for accommodations are reviewed throughout the semester, you are encouraged to contact the office by July 1 to avoid delays in service.

The SAS website provides information for students regarding reasonable accommodations, documentation guidelines, and other information about making the transition to Vanderbilt.


The Commodore Card is your official Vanderbilt ID. It is used for identification, for access to residence halls, academic buildings, and campus events, and as a debit card for meal plans and other purchases on and off campus. Visit the Card Services website for more information.



Commodore Cards for new students are made in advance of the first day of classes. Your photo is needed for the Commodore Card.

Photos must include a shoulder pose (no hats or sunglasses) on a neutral background with no other people in the photo. The online submission website will be active on May 15. You will need your VUnetID and password to upload your photo. The photo is used for more than just your Commodore Card so remember that your professors will see it on class rosters.

Photos can be uploaded on the Card Services website.


You must agree to the terms and conditions of the online Student Account Agreement form within the YES portal to be able to add funds.

  1. Go to the Card Serves website and click on “Add Commodore Cash for Immediate Use.”
  2. Log on using your VUnetID and password.
  3. Select “Add Funds” and follow the prompts.
  4. Submit and log off. Funds will be available immediately.


Commodore Cash consists of funds added to your Commodore Card for debit purchases at dining locations, Varsity Markets, the Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt bookstore, mail services, laundry, printing and copying, transportation services, off-campus restaurants, sporting venues, and other locations.

Printers that accept the Commodore Card are located across campus. You can conveniently send print jobs from anywhere on campus and then tap your Commodore Card at the printer to release print jobs.

To ensure that funds are ready for your use when you arrive on campus, the deadline for making a Commodore Cash selection is July 15.

The amount you select will be applied to your Commodore Card for BOTH the fall and spring semesters. Funds are fully refundable if not used and will roll over at the end of every semester. These funds will be billed along with tuition, meal plans, and other university charges.

You also must acknowledge the terms and conditions of the online Student Account Agreement form, which is available when logging into the YES portal. Please note that the acceptance of these terms and conditions is mandatory and will be required on an annual basis.

Office of Student Accounts

(615) 322-6693 or (800) 288-1144 | Website


All Vanderbilt University students are required to acknowledge the terms and conditions of an online Student Account Agreement form when logging into the YES portal. The acceptance of these terms and conditions is mandatory, and it will be required on an annual basis. Failure to agree to these terms will prevent access to the YES landing page. Once the terms have been accepted, a copy of the most recently accepted form will be available for viewing and printing within the YES portal. Please read these terms and conditions carefully.


A Guarantor Authorization and Debt Repayment Agreement allows Vanderbilt University to release pertinent financial information to the guarantor(s) listed on the form (usually your parents or guardian). Without proper signatures, no financial information can be disclosed to anyone other than the student. You will receive an email from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions with a link to the Student Accounts website, so you can download and complete the Guarantor Authorization and Debt Repayment Agreement.


Fall Tuition, Fees, and Other Charges: Vanderbilt student account statements are sent electronically to students’ VU Gmail. You are responsible for granting parents, guardians, or other payers access to e-billing.


  1. Log into your YES landing page and click “Billing Portal.”
  2. On your Account page, click “Add New” in the Other Payers section.
  3. Enter the information that is requested and click “OK.” (You must enter the username that your additional payer will use.)

Once completed, the username and temporary password will be sent to your additional payer via email. Simply repeat this process to add more than one additional payer to your account.

In each month that items are posted to the account, an email will be sent to your VU Gmail address and other payers’ email addresses with the subject line “Your Vanderbilt e-bill is now available for viewing.”

You and your other payers can view your bill and make payments simply and securely. Each time an online payment is made, a confirmation email will be sent. If you prefer to mail your payment, print your e-bill and remit the top portion with your payment.

For more information, visit the Student Accounts website.

Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

(615) 322-3591 or (800) 288-0204 |

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is available to all students and families to discuss options for financial assistance. Please visit our website at for information and additional FAQs.

  • What are my next steps to receive my financial aid?
    OSFA will communicate with you through your Vanderbilt email address; be sure to check regularly for updates. Review your Financial Aid Checklist on your YES student portal regularly and submit any requested documents as soon as possible. Requested verification documents must be sent through IDOC (College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service). Financial aid will not pay to your student account if your checklist is incomplete.
  • Will I receive the same financial aid package every year?
    Your 2020–2021 financial aid offer is for this year only; you must reapply for need-based financial aid each year. If you are not eligible for need-based aid this year, and your financial circumstances change, you may apply for aid in future years.
  • How do I maintain financial aid eligibility?
    All students receiving institutional need-based aid and/or federal Title IV financial assistance must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. The course credit hours attempted/completed and your cumulative GPA will be reviewed at the end of each semester. Maximum time frame to receive institutional aid is four years (eight semesters or the equivalent) of full-time enrollment.
  • What if I have an outside scholarship?
    If you will receive an outside scholarship, you are required to inform the OSFA by completing the Outside Scholarship Notification Form. Scholarships must be taken into account as part of a student’s overall need-based aid and cannot replace what the family is expected to contribute. Scholarship checks must be sent directly to the OSFA.
  • How do I get my Work Study money?
    Your financial aid offer may include Academic Year Earnings or Federal Work Study. These funds will not be added to your student account; students must earn these funds through a work-study job, and earnings will be paid in the form of a paycheck. There are numerous jobs on campus. Students can find and apply for jobs at
  • How do I use financial aid to purchase books?
    If you received financial aid over and beyond your direct costs, you may add these funds to your Commodore Card by July 15 to purchase your books via the Vanderbilt bookstore, Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt. Through the Student Registration page of the YES portal, you can order your books and opt to pay for them using your Commodore Card. Although students can use Commodore Cash for books only at Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt, the bookstore matches competitors’ prices through the first week of classes to ensure students receive the best price.
  • Are loan options available?
    It is our firm belief that families should borrow only when absolutely necessary. Federal Direct Loans and a limited number of private loans are available. Please review loan options and if you want to add a loan to your financial aid award package, request the loan amount by emailing
  • Are there resources to help me with financial planning?
    Vanderbilt’s Dore Money Smarts program offers a free tool called GradReady. This tool is available to all students and includes information for managing tuition, budgets, and bills.


Before you book your flights for breaks, confirm your class and final exam schedules, both of which you will know at the end of the first week of classes.

We encourage you to visit the university’s Fall 2020 website frequently, as information is updated there regularly. The Fall 2020 website will include updated policies and decisions regarding Vanderbilt University’s operations.

  • August 24 First day of classes
  • November 20 End of in-person classes
  • November 21–29 Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30 First day of online instruction
  • December 4 Undergraduate classes end
  • December 5–13 Reading day and undergraduate examinations
  • January 11 First day of classes
  • March 6–14 Spring Break
  • April 26 Last day of classes
  • April 27–May 6 Reading day and undergraduate examinations

Make your voice a part of the political process by creating a plan for voting during your time at Vanderbilt. If you are an out-of-state student, decide if you plan to register in your home state or in Tennessee. If registering in your home state, consider registering in person before you move to Tennessee. If registering in Tennessee, you may register online at or with a form available on campus. For more information about voting while at Vanderbilt, visit the Office of Active Citizenship & Service website.