Tuition and Financial Aid
Planning carefully for your theological education is a wise personal and spiritual practice. The Office of Admissions, Vocation, and Stewardship is here to assist you in planning for and beyond your Divinity School education.
Click on a financial topic below for more information:
- Tuition & Estimated Fees
- Financial Aid (Merit- and Need-Based)
- Yellow Ribbon Program (for U.S. veterans)
- Budgeting and Planning Resources
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, federally-funded graduate student loans, and college work-study employment. In addition, the Divinity School’s Office of Admissions 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 degree-seeking students regardless of citizenship. Scholarships, varying in value, are guaranteed for the duration of the degree program. 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 invited 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
Need-based aid at Vanderbilt is restricted to U.S. citizens and is administered via the Office of Student Financial Aid in the form of federal loans and work-study eligibility. Applications for federal, need-based aid become available in January of the year for which the student intends to enroll using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you choose to take out federal, need-based loans, we recommend becoming familiar with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Students who plan to work full-time in a public service job following graduation may qualify for loan forgiveness.
The Divinity School and Vanderbilt University welcome and encourage U.S. veterans to apply. Vanderbilt is a full participant in the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. To learn more, please visit Vanderbilt University's Yellow Ribbon website.
Worried about how to afford theological education? Need help thinking through how to make ends meet?
Our Stewardship website offers a number of resources to consider as you plan your next steps.
For more information about the Divinity School's Stewardship resources and financial coaching program, please contact Lillian Hallstrand, Director of Stewardship and Vocational Planning, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.