Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition & Estimated Fees
The Divinity School and Vanderbilt University have a generous financial aid program. Awards are to degree-seeking students based upon merit and need. Merit scholarships are awarded through the Divinity School. They range from full tuition and a stipend to one-third tuition. Need-based aid in the form of federal work-study and loans is available through the University Office of Student Financial Aid. Most students find that while tuition at Vanderbilt may be higher than at other theological schools, our average tuition award is also higher, making Vanderbilt a very affordable option.
A typical financial aid package includes scholarships, grants-in-aid, federally-funded graduate student loans, and college work-study employment. In addition, the Divinity School’s Office of Admissions and Student Services can provide information and advice about funding from outside sources, including denominational loan and scholarship programs.
Merit-Based Financial Aid
The Divinity School offers generous merit-based scholarships to virtually all students enrolled on a full-time basis. Scholarships, varying in value, are guaranteed for the entire length of the degree program if the holder is registered for a minimum of 9 or more credit hours per semester. Other restrictions may apply, as stated in the conditions of the award. Scholarship students are expected to maintain a satisfactory grade level and may be expected occasionally to perform tasks related to the academic program and community life of the Divinity School.
No additional application is required to be considered for most merit-based awards, although applicants must complete all application materials by January 15 to be considered for one of our named, full-tuition scholarships. A full list of available scholarships and their criteria may be found here.
Notification of merit scholarship decisions is included in the admission acceptance letter. Typically, applicants may expect to hear an admission and financial aid decision within four to six weeks of submitting a completed application, but no earlier than the first week of February.
Need-Based Financial Aid
Applications for federal aid and work-study employment become available in January of the year for which the student intends to enroll. These include the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Vanderbilt Graduate/Professional Student Financial Aid Application.
Yellow Ribbon Program at Vanderbilt Divinity School
Chapter 33 students with 100% entitlement are eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program is a supplement to the Post 9/11 GI Bill that helps veterans bridge the gap between the Post 9/11 tuition benefit and the actual cost of tuition and fees. At Vanderbilt University Divinity School, the Yellow Ribbon program provides Professional students in the master of theological studies degree program and the master of divinity degree program up to 12,000 additional tuition dollars per year ($6,000 from Vanderbilt University and $6,000 matching funds from VA). The benefit is distributed in the amount of $3,000 for the fall and the spring semesters. The exact amount of Yellow Ribbon dollars received is based on the student's tuition and fees balance after Chapter 33 benefits and tuition scholarships aid are applied. In the Divinity School, Yellow Ribbon awards may reduce, or be reduced by, the School's award of a tuition scholarship. Students currently on Active Duty are not eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program. The University will review its Yellow Ribbon commitment each year. Participation levels may vary in future years.
Financial Aid Video: How to Keep From Mortgaging Your FutureThis 30-minute video, developed by Auburn Theological Seminary, offers an account of how several students have approached financing a theological education. For detailed budget spreadsheets and information on national studies on theological student indebtedness, please visit the Auburn Theological Seminary website.