Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is known for being a top-ranked private research institution with well-regarded programs in engineering, humanities, and medicine, among others.
Vanderbilt tuition was $60,348 in 2022-23. This is substantially higher than the national average of $37,641 for tuition and fees at private institutions.
Costs for 2022-2023
Tuition & Fees
Books & Supplies
Room & Board
Total Cost of Attendance
Vanderbilt financial aid is available to those who can’t afford Vanderbilt University tuition, and 70% of students have scholarships, grants, and student loans. Vanderbilt is need-blind, so ability to pay doesn’t affect the admission decision.
Generally, financial aid is monetary assistance awarded to students based on personal need and merit. Students that qualify for financial aid can use it to pay for college costs like tuition, books, and living expenses.
The federal government is the largest provider of student financial aid. However, aid can also be given by state governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits. The different types include:
• Scholarships: These can be awarded by schools and other organizations based on students’ academic excellence, athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, and financial need.
• Grants: Generally based on financial need, these can come from federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations.
• Work-study: This federal program provides qualifying students with part-time employment to earn money for expenses while in school.
• Federal student loans: This is money borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It comes with fixed interest rates that are typically lower than private loans.
Colleges, universities, and state agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA can be completed online, but note that state and federal and school deadlines may differ.
You can find other financial aid opportunities on databases such as:
At Vanderbilt, 10% of students take out federal loans and 2% take out private student loans that average $27,798 to help cover Vanderbilt cost.
Private loans are funded by private organizations such as banks, online lenders, credit unions, some schools, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations. While Federal student loans have interest rates that are regulated by Congress, private lenders follow a different set of regulations so their qualifications and interest rates can vary widely.
What’s more, private loans have variable or fixed interest rates that may be higher than federal loan interest rates, which are always fixed. Private lenders may (but don’t always) require you to make payments on your loans while you are still in school, compared to federal student loans which you don’t have to start paying back until after you graduate, leave school, or change your enrollment status to less than half-time.
Private loans don’t have a specific application window and can be applied for on an as-needed basis. However, if you think you may need to take out a private loan, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA first to see what federal aid you may qualify for as it generally may have better rates and terms.
If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline or you’re struggling to pay for school throughout the year, private loans can potentially help you make your payments. Just keep in mind that you will need enough lead time for your loan to process and for your lender to send money to your school.
Based on 2022-23 numbers, the Vanderbilt University cost for four years, including Vanderbilt tuition, room and board, books, fees, and other expenses, would be $337,648. Compared to the average four-year cost at a private school of $218,004, the Vanderbilt cost is substantially higher.
The Vanderbilt University cost for tuition and fees plus room and board totaled $80,210 in 2022-23. Many students have Vanderbilt financial aid to help with these costs.
Graduate Tuition and Fees
Costs for 2022-23
Total Cost of Attendance
Vanderbilt University tuition and fees for graduate school was $53,722 in 2022-23. This is less than the average cost of graduate school at a private university of $62,100.
There are many options for graduate loans that can help with these costs.
Cost per Credit Hour
For part-time students, the cost per credit hour to attend Vanderbilt is $2,422.
Campus Housing Expenses
Costs for 2022-23
Books & Supplies
Room & Board
*Average rate based on available one-bedroom apartments on Vanderbilt University’s off-campus housing website in 2023. At Vanderbilt, freshmen are required to live on campus in one of 10 houses for first-year students. There are also Living Learning Communities (LLCs) for students with common interests, as well as residential colleges, which combine academic experiences with residential life.
There are many options for Vanderbilt off-campus housing within walking distance of the university.
Vanderbilt University Acceptance Rate
Number of Applications
The Vanderbilt University acceptance rate is just 7%, making the school extremely selective.
These are the materials Vanderbilt requires students to submit with their application.
• High school transcript
• Counselor letter of recommendation
• Two academic teacher letters of recommendation
• SAT or ACT scores
The deadline for Early Decision I is November 1, with a decision given by mid-December. The deadline for Early Decision II is January 1, with a decision given by mid-February. The deadline for Regular Decision I is January 1, with a decision given by late March.
SAT and ACT Scores
Standardized test scores are optional at Vanderbilt through the fall 2024 application process. For reference, here are the submitted test scores at the 25th and 75th percentile.
SAT Evidence-Based Reading/Writing
Popular Majors at Vanderbilt University
With 10 different schools and dozens of options for undergraduate degrees, students may have a tough time narrowing it down. Here are the most popular majors at Vanderbilt.
Sociology majors can choose from these areas of specialization: Culture, Institutions, and Socialization; Health, Environment, Population, and Migration; Politics, Law, and Conflict; and Race, Ethnicity, and Gender. They also have the opportunity to study abroad.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 237
Students in the Economics program have the ability to customize their coursework by choosing classes in other departments or through study abroad. They study topics ranging from climate change and taxes to immigration and crime.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 209
3. Computer Science
Those pursuing a Computer Science degree learn about breakthrough technologies, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and much more. They also have opportunities for hands-on learning through lab work and internships.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 158
Students in this program take courses like Cellular Neurobiology, Psychopharmacology, Neurological Disease, Learning and Memory, The Visual System, and Experimental Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience. They can also participate in more than 80 labs.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 62
5. Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering majors get the benefit of both theory-based classes and hands-on experience. Graduates go on to work in the robotics, automotive, aerospace, electrical, chemical, solar, petroleum, or metal-producing industries.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 51
6. Biomedical Engineering
In this program, students can take electives in biophotonics, medical imaging, synthetic biology and cellular design, bioMEMS, nanobiotechnology, and computer-aided drafting for BME design.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 47
Psychology majors take courses in clinical science, human cognition, developmental psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience, and also participate in research projects.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 45
There’s an option to add a specialization in Literary Studies, Creative Writing, or Specialized Critical Studies for students getting their degree in English. Classes include Women Poets in America, Existential Fictions, The Poetics of Science, and Monsters in Fiction.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 40
9. Political Science
In this program, political science majors can choose an area of focus: American Government, Comparative Politics, International Politics, or Political Theory. Coursework includes American Public Opinion and Voting Behavior; The American Presidency; Constitutional Law and Judicial Process; Democratization and Political Development; Politics of Global Inequality; and Causes of War.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 40
10. Engineering Science
Engineering students can tailor their studies to what they’re most interested in. They also get real-world engineering experience through this program. Graduates go on to work for companies like AT&T, Deloitte, and McKinsey & Co.
Undergraduate degrees in 2020-21: 37
Here are Vanderbilt University’s graduation rates:
• 4 years: 89%
• 6 years: 93%
• 8 years: 93%
Post-Graduation Median Earnings
Vanderbilt University graduates earn $84,415 a year on average. This is much higher than the national average for graduates of $50,391.
If a top-ranked research-focused institution is what you’re looking for, and you can meet the rigorous acceptance criteria, you may want to consider Vanderbilt. Although it’s more expensive than the average private university, there are financial aid options available. Plus, Vanderbilt grads go on to earn a salary that far exceeds the average, which can help make the cost worth it.
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