For the most part, decisions about financial assistance are made by individual departments, and many departments and professors secure money for their students from outside the University. Other financial resources are available to the entire graduate student community.
Some awards, such as the Provost’s Graduate fellowships, the Harold Stirling Vanderbilt awards, and the University Fellows Scholarships are conferred from endowments or university funds, but you must be nominated by your department to receive these . The Graduate School sponsors a fellowship workshop every fall with information on how to apply for a variety of fellowships and scholarships (NSFs, etc.). In addition, the Graduate School Office receives information on graduate, dissertation, and post-doctoral fellowships.
- Fellowships, scholarships, and university awards
- Contact: Graduate School
- 411 Kirkland Hall
- Student loans and work-study
- Student account loans, refunds, and credits
- Contact: Student Accounts
- 110 21st Ave S., Suite 100 (the Baker Building)
- Peabody students
- Contact: Peabody Registrar’s Office
Most graduate students receive some type of financial assistance from the University; however, financial difficulties can still arise. Sometimes difficulties can be solved by your departmental administrator; if not, the experience of past graduate students suggests that the best policy is to make an appointment with a Financial Aid Officer in the Office of Student Financial Aid.
In case of financial emergencies, check with your DGS or departmental accountant as well as with Financial Aid. Some departments have access to emergency loan funds which can be borrowed at low or no interest. International students can also check with the International Services Office. Emergency funding tends to be scarce but is available.
The good news is that Tennessee has no state income tax (although the city sales tax is especially high to compensate). The bad news is that federal taxes are a continual source of confusion for graduate students, and, owing to liability issues, the university will not offer any official tax advice to students.
Each student’s situation is unique due to the many sources for graduate student funding. Students who have taxes taken from their checks should be issued a W-2 at the end of the calendar year and can fill out a 1040 as usual. For the rest of us, the best course of action is to consult older students in your department, the IRS website, or a tax lawyer or professional tax lawyer. The IRS has audited Vanderbilt graduate students in the past, so make sure you know whether or not you owe federal taxes and how much.
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