Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University Student Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Located in Nashville, TN, Vanderbilt University is a private, not-for-profit university that offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition, and admission information.

Is Vanderbilt University the School for You?

Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, TN, a city well known for its music scene and culture. Vanderbilt is a 4-year, private university offering classes at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked Vanderbilt #17 among national universities. Get the facts about Vanderbilt below, including pros and cons, and decide if it's the school for you.


  • Graduation rate is 47 percentage points higher than the national average
  • Student-faculty ratio is lower than the national average
  • Average student debt following graduation is $8,117 lower than the national average
  • Accepts dual and AP credits


  • Total cost is $20,583 more than the national average
  • Acceptance rate is almost 50 percentage points lower than the national average

Rankings and School Analysis

The total cost of attending Vanderbilt during the 2011-2012 school year was $58,554. This amount, reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), included tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. The national average for 4-year, private, not-for-profit universities was $37,971 during that same school year, according to the College Board. Despite this higher-than-average total cost, the average student debt at graduation was $18,543 for the graduating class of 2011, or about $8,000 less than the national average. In addition, U.S. News and World Report actually ranked Vanderbilt as #16 for best value, with 43.4% of students receiving need-based grants, leading to an average discount of 64% from the estimated total cost.

Vanderbilt University houses 10 colleges. It offers 68 bachelor's degrees, 75 master's degrees, and 56 doctoral degrees in about 20 disciplines. Graduate teaching assistants make up about 20% of the instructors that you'll encounter at Vanderbilt. The NCES reported that the ratio of student-to-faculty is 8 to 1, lower than the national average of 16 to 1, meaning that you will likely be able to get personalized attention when you need it. Also, the majority of your classes, about 62%, will be comprised of less than 20 students. About 8% of your classes will have more than 50 students.

Vanderbilt accepts AP and dual credits, so you may want to look out for these opportunities at your school if you're still attending high school. If you're especially keen on attending Vanderbilt, you should also pay close attention to your grades, class rank, and standardized test scores, since Vanderbilt's acceptance rate is 14.2%, significantly lower than the national average of 65.5%, making Vanderbilt a 'most selective' school according to U.S. News and World Report.

After 4 years, 87% of students who started as freshmen in 2005 had finished their bachelor's degree program, NCES reported. This is higher than the national average of 40%. After 6 years, 92% of those same students had graduated. Vanderbilt reported that, of the graduating class of 2012, 51% are employed, and 34% went on to some form of professional or graduate program.

Getting In & Financial Aid

Your application will include the common application and the Vanderbilt supplement, 3 letters of recommendation, your high school transcript, a list of your extracurricular activities, and a personal essay. The letters of recommendation must include 2 from teachers and 1 from a guidance counselor. Of the entering freshman class of 2011, 89% were in the top 10% of their high school class, with 3.7 being the average high school GPA. When it comes to standardized test scores, 48% of student submitted their SAT scores, and 62% submitted their ACT scores.

After submitting your application no later than January 3, you will be notified of acceptance on April 1. The priority deadline for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is February 5. The FAFSA application is the usual starting point for all need-based aid. At Vanderbilt, 53% of full-time undergraduate students applied for need-based aid, and 47% were determined to have need. Of those who were determined to have need, 100% had their need fully met. The average financial aid package for first-time freshman students in 2011 was $44,385. In that same year, the average financial aid package for all full-time undergraduates was $43,163.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013) January 3*
Financial Aid Priority Application Deadline (2013) February 5*
Admission Notification Date (2013) April 1*
Application Fee (2011) $50**
Acceptance Rate (2012) 14.2%*
Tuition & Fees (2011) $41,332**
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $44,385***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011) 100%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $18,543***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 2.1%**

Life at Vanderbilt University

At Vanderbilt, all unmarried undergraduate students are required to live in on-campus housing. There are 28 residence halls at Vanderbilt, all of them classified as either upper class or first year. Vanderbilt offers meal plans, and 8 dining hall locations.

At Vanderbilt, 62% of students are classified as white, with no other race or ethnicity comprising more than 10% of the student population. The male-to-female ratio is almost an even split. When it's time to study, you can choose from one of 8 libraries, including some specialized libraries, such as a biomedical library, a law library, a divinity library, and a music library. When not studying, you will have the chance to participate in over 460 student organizations and clubs, including 19 fraternities and 16 sororities.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Large city**
Student Population (2012) 6,796 undergraduate students
5,949 graduate students*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 50% to 50%**
% of Full Time Students (2011) 99%**
% of In-state Students (2011) 13%**
% of International Students (2011) 6%**
Retention Rate (2011) 96%**
Campus Housing Available Yes**
% of Students Living on Campus 86%*
Number of Libraries About 8*
Extracurricular Activities Over 460*

Article Sources: *Vanderbilt University, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***U.S. News and World Report

Contact Info

  • Address: Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 2305 West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203
  • Phone: (615) 322-2561