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Cost and Tuition Assistance

Next Steps at Vanderbilt University Fees

Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a 4-year certification program for students with Intellectual Disability, providing individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social skills, and vocational training.

Fees Include:

  • One to two standard Vanderbilt University electives per semester
  • Other inclusive class workshop offerings
  • Career and Community Studies foundational coursework
  • Academic counseling
  • Vocational support
  • Community career development site visits
  • Internships
  • Course materials (excluding books)
  • Extracurricular Art and Dance Classes (optional)
  • Program expenses
  • Student Recreation Center access
  • Library access
  • Student Medical Fee


Total semester expenses for 2023 - 2024 are $12,847.50 (25,695.00 annually).


Fees are payable on a semester basis and cover all educational aspects of Next Steps at Vanderbilt. Modest annual increases can be expected.

Meal plan fees and purchasing parking permits are paid separately.

*Please note these are tentative costs that are subject to change as program requirements change.


Student Account Balance Refund

Next Steps students are afforded the same considerations as all Vanderbilt University students in regards to tuition refunds. Please see the Vanderbilt policy here.


Paying Tuition

Eligible students have tuition assistance options available to them. It is important that students and families explore each of these opportunities early in the application process.


How Do We Pay For Next Steps At Vanderbilt?


Please use our guide here and the resources below. 


Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Department

Vocational Rehabilitation Services recognizes the valuable job readiness training and experiences that Next Steps provides. VR awards $3,000 per semester ($6,000 per year) in Transitional Learning Services funds for all 4 academic years. All Next Steps students are required to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Assistance in becoming a vocational rehabilitation client can be found here.  


Federal Financial Aid 

Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a federally approved Comprehensive Transition Program. This status enables eligible students with an intellectual disability to apply for Federal Financial Aid that includes Pell Grants and Supplemental Aid.  The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website has added a page explaining financial aid for students with an intellectual disability. The school code for Vanderbilt is 003535.


Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship

Eligible students may qualify for the Tennessee STEP UP scholarship. The STEP UP Scholarship will award $3,500 per year for up to four years and is available to Tennessee residents with an intellectual disability who have received a diploma or certificate from a Tennessee high school within 16 months of enrolling in a qualified post-secondary program. For more information, click here.


Tennessee Promise Scholarship

The Tennessee Promise scholarship is a last-dollar scholarship*, meaning it can cover up to a certain amount to assist in covering tuition costs not covered by all other gift aid. Eligible students are required to complete TN Promise program requirements during their final year of high school as well as continue to meet community service requirements each semester. For more information, click here.

* T.C.A. § 49-4-708(c)(6) states the amount of the award at an eligible four-year public or private institution shall be the average cost of tuition and mandatory fees at the public two-year institution less all other gift aid (Pell, TSAA, and TELS).


Tennessee Reconnect Grant

The Tennessee Reconnect Grant is a “last dollar” scholarship* that pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after all other gift aid has been applied. This grant is available for Tennessee residents who want to pursue certificates or associate degrees and have a FAFSA dependency status of independent. For more information, click here.


Tennessee Student Assistance Award

Students may be eligible to receive the TSAA grant provided they meet the deadline of submitting a FAFSA no later than March 1 and receive a processed Student Aid Report with a valid EFC (Expected Family Contribution) of $2,100 or less. They must be a Tennessee resident. It is preferred that the student apply as early as possible as funds are limited for this grant and awarded on a first come, first serve basis. For more information, click here .


Education and Training Services

This is an option for EFC (Employment and Community First Choices) recipient funds. Covered expenses may include enrollment fees, books, and other educational materials and transportation related to participation in training courses, conferences, and other similar events. Reimbursement up to $500 per year. The Managed Care Organization is the responsible party to authorize a service for a member based on their needs and assessment. For more information, click here. 


Vanderbilt University Faculty and Staff Dependent Tuition Assistance

Vanderbilt University faculty and staff may also be eligible for the Dependent Tuition Assistance benefit. This university benefit awards 55% of the cost of tuition to the dependents of eligible employees. This benefit may also be applied to a dependent’s tuition at other Comprehensive Transition Programs (CTP) throughout the country. For a list of these CTP’s click here.



Vanderbilt University offers the VANDY Plan monthly payment option to students and families. Available through Sallie Mae, expenses can be paid in 10 interest-free monthly payments. Visit the VANDY Plan information page. Please note this option must be started in the spring for the following academic year.


How to Apply for Aid

Federal and many state financial aid programs rely on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility. This form is the starting and ending point for many of the programs you may qualify for. It is both how you apply for financial aid and how the college knows you are eligible for aid. The FAFSA is available online at or in paper form by calling 1-800-433-3243. The easiest way to fill out the FAFSA is online using the Department of Education’s step-by-step guide.

You’ll be able to fill out the FAFSA quicker if you gather these documents.

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically: The FSA ID provides a method for you to electronically sign your FAFSA. Go to to establish your FSA ID. Note that establishing your ID may require some time (1-3 days) to allow processing.

You can apply for federal aid through the FAFSA between January 1 and June 30 every year. You will likely receive a better financial aid package the earlier you apply. Also, many schools have deadlines for FAFSA completion, so make sure you are aware of any additional deadlines. Schools may use the information on the FAFSA to determine eligibility for other scholarships or aid. For example, in order to be eligible for TSAA funds, you must file your FAFSA by March 1. In order to be eligible for Step Up funds, you must apply by September 1 for the fall term, and by February 1 for spring and summer terms.

Important Resource

The Vanderbilt Office of Financial Aid is an important resource. Contact Aliceteen Morrow for assistance:; 1-800-288-0204 (toll free) or 615-322-3591 (local).