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Opportunity Vanderbilt

In 2008, as the nation faced the Great Recession and many other universities reduced their commitment to financial aid, the Vanderbilt community came together to make a bold promise.

With the support of university leaders and generous donors, it promised to meet the financial needs of every undergraduate who attends Vanderbilt. There would be no loans and no income cutoffs. It would operate a need-blind admission process, accepting students based on their merit, not their family’s ability to pay.

That bold promise paid off in the form of Opportunity Vanderbilt—the university’s nationally renowned financial aid program that replaces student loans with grants and scholarships. As we look to its future, we seek to secure additional endowment support, which will help sustain this this transformative initiative for generations.

Demographic trends show an increasingly large portion of talented students will need financial assistance to attend Vanderbilt. Through Opportunity Vanderbilt, our community will continue to lead in providing access to a first-rate education, transforming countless lives in the process. This is a noble but expensive proposition, and sustaining it requires the continued investment of our alumni, parents and friends.

Gifts of all sizes make a difference to our students and can be directed to a “pooled” endowed fund. The minimum gift to name an endowed need-based scholarship is $100,000. This gift can be fulfilled over several years.

A separate account is established for your scholarship, but assets from Vanderbilt’s overarching endowment are pooled and invested collectively, as with a mutual fund. The endowment currently pays out 5.0 percent of a three-year average market value, a rate set by the Board of Trust. Income earned above the payout is returned to the endowment to ensure your fund benefits students for years to come. We have consistently performed in the top echelon of all endowments.

The chart below estimates the impact various endowed scholarships could have on our students, at the current annual payout rate.

 Gift Level  Description Estimated Annual Distribution
 $1,000,000  Helps support 1-5 scholars each year  $45,000 to $50,000
 $500,000  Helps support 1-3 scholars each year  $22,500 to $25,000
 $250,000  Helps support 1-2 scholars each year  $11,250 to $12,500
 $100,000  Helps support 1 scholar each year  $ 4,500 to $ 5,000

Vanderbilt will send you periodic updates on the status of your endowed fund and, after awarding begins, information about the recipients. You may also receive communication from the recipients and visits may be arranged.