Full Room and Board Adjustments for All Vanderbilt Students

Full Room and Board Adjustments for All Vanderbilt Students

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Dena Liu started this petition to Vanderbilt and

We would like to start by acknowledging all of the hard work that faculty, administration, and the financial aid staff have invested in trying to meet students' financial needs in a timely manner. Unfortunately, the policies Vanderbilt is enacting are failing to support students in their greatest time of need. We are calling on Vanderbilt to provide full room and board adjustments to all students regardless of their financial aid status and transparent communication surrounding these policies.

At Vanderbilt, all students have access to the same food, utilities, and similar housing options. As this New York Times article explains, the campus serves as a “great equalizer”. Home-based learning does not allow this to occur; instead, economic disparities become visible through the Zoom camera. Students are once again left stratified according to their respective socio-economic realities.

Vanderbilt’s policies serve to exacerbate these differences, rather than mitigate them. Currently, Vanderbilt is calculating housing and dining adjustments proportional to the amount that students pay—leaving students on financial aid in severe financial need. Students are facing unprecedented challenges related to transportation home, housing, food, internet, utilities, which negatively affect students’ studies and academic performance. The policies Vanderbilt has implemented (Emergency Hardship Fund and individual financial review) are subjective and serve to stigmatize low-income students, as they leave low-income students at the mercy of their individual financial aid counselors to beg for only a portion of the money they have previously been guaranteed. Moreover, students are routinely denied funds through these types of additional review processes (as is currently the case) because demonstrating financial need isn’t always black and white. 

Vanderbilt students on financial aid have already been means-tested and awarded a certain amount of funds to cover their housing and dinings costs, and therefore should receive the equivalent of these funds back to support themselves during this crisis. Many of Vanderbilt’s peer institutions (Caltech, Carleton, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Scripps, Pomona, Princeton, UVA, Washington & Lee, Yale) are already providing full room and board adjustments to all students regardless of financial aid. If Vanderbilt is truly dedicated to its nationally renowned financial aid program, it should lead the way in these policies and be proactive rather than reactive in addressing students’ needs.

We stand in solidarity with the Graduate Workers United and their petition for support for graduate students during this time. Please sign and share their petition here. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about our efforts, please contact us via Instagram @vandyquestbridge or @vandyfirstvu or email at vanderbilt.chapter@questbridge.org or vandyfirstvu@gmail.com

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!