Vanderbilt Merit Scholarship Essay

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship

Mission and History

The Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship began in 2007 with a gift from the Sartain Lanier Family Foundation of Atlanta designated to unite and strengthen Vanderbilt’s existing full-tuition academic merit scholarships under the aegis of a coordinated and cohesive scholarship.

The scholarship honors the vision of Vanderbilt University’s founder, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who endowed the university in 1873 with a gift of $1 million to “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.” Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars continue that mission, bringing intellectual and community leadership to the Vanderbilt campus where they forge interdisciplinary and interpersonal connections that unite people and ideas across the world.

Scholarship Benefits

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars receive full tuition, plus a one-time summer stipend for an immersive experience  following the sophomore or junior year. Vanderbilt will provide additional need-based financial aid to those Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship recipients whose demonstrated need exceeds the amount of full-tuition. Scholarships are renewed each year as long as the recipient maintains at least a 3.0 GPA. Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars have the opportunity to participate in a series of programs designed especially for highly talented students.

Application and Selection

The Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship application is required; you must apply to be considered. Applicants apply via MyAppVU after submitting admission application. Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholars are selected on the basis of academic achievement, intellectual promise, and leadership and contribution outside the classroom. In evaluating candidates, the selection committees review the entire application for freshman admissions along with the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship application. Audition scores are a factor in merit scholarship selection for Blair School of Music recipients.

Need-based financial aid is the largest source of financial assistance offered by Vanderbilt. To apply for need-based financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE forms online and submit them to Vanderbilt.

Students who plan to join the Reserve Officer Training Corps can apply for four-year scholarships through their high school or ROTC recruiter by December 1 of their senior year. Scholarships pay full or partial tuition, books and fees, and a monthly stipend. Vanderbilt provides a supplement to each service-selected award recipient. Recipients are typically required to serve in the military after college. Army, Naval, and Marine Corps ROTC are offered at Vanderbilt; Air Force ROTC is offered at nearby Tennessee State University.

Vanderbilt University also offers athletic scholarships to recruited athletes in six men’s and nine women’s Division I sports. For more information on Vanderbilt athletics, please visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *