Vanderbilt Law School Background Image

Access2VLS Need-Based Grants


Through the generosity of Vanderbilt Law alumni, VLS provides innovative Access2VLS need-based grants to entering J.D. students with demonstrated financial need for tuition funding.  During the 1L admission process, we consider admitted students for VLS merit scholarships based on their individual applications relative to other admitted candidates, and in a separate, subsequent process, we allocate Access2VLS grants to those with demonstrated tuition-need defined as tuition costs not covered by the combination of their VLS merit scholarships, external scholarships, external tuition benefits, and FAFSA-calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

We allocate Access2VLS grants to students in each entering 1L class who demonstrate tuition-need within the limit of Access2VLS funds available for that admission cycle. When the collective tuition-need of an entering class exceeds available funds, students are expected to meet a first amount of their individual tuition-need with loans, and those for whom total tuition-need exceeds that amount receive Access2VLS grant funding.*

Access2VLS grants are provided only during the first-year J.D. admission process, and like VLS merit scholarships, they are allocated evenly across three academic years (six semesters) of full-time study at VLS.** This means that the level of Access2VLS need-based funding a student receives is not decreased by the student’s earnings during law school.


Access2VLS Instructions for the J.D. Class Entering in 2023

After receiving a VLS scholarship decision, an admitted candidate may request consideration for Access2VLS grant funding by:

1)      submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and

2)      submitting the Access2VLS request form in their VLS application portal.


Complete the FAFSA

Suggested filing date: February 1, well before the March 22 deadline for completing the Access2VLS Request Form on your applicant portal.

The FAFSA should be submitted directly to the federal processor online. Please note that only U.S. citizens and U.S Permanent Residents who can use the FAFSA are eligible for Access2VLS grants.

On the FAFSA form, list Vanderbilt University's Title IV Code: 003535.

Please Note: Regardless of the FAFSA instructions, admitted students must provide student (and spouse, if applicable) and parental financial information on the FAFSA and must use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to be considered for Access2VLS grant assistance. ***

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents who filed a U.S. tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to access IRS tax return information for the FAFSA need analysis. Because the IRS Tool populates actual IRS data to your FAFSA form, it provides the easiest, safest, and most accurate way for each admitted candidate to provide a uniform need analysis based on verified family financial information for Access2VLS funding consideration and eliminates the need to provide copies of tax forms to VLS.

Your completed FAFSA also allows you to apply for Federal Direct Student Loans. Please note that the parental information requirement applies only if you apply for an Access2VLS grant; you do not need to provide parental information to use the FAFSA for loans only.


Complete the Access2VLS Request Form: Deadline March 22 

In addition to completing the FAFSA with parental information using the IRS Tool, admitted applicants must complete the Access2VLS Request Form on their application portal no later than March 22. To complete the form, you will need to provide information about any external scholarships or tuition benefits you expect to receive for your legal education.

*The amount of tuition-need met with loans is determined for each entering class based on the cumulative tuition-need among Access2VLS applicants in the context of total Access2VLS funds available.

** Dual-degree candidates are enrolled in the law school for only five semesters and, therefore, do not receive funding for six semesters, with the possible exception of the JD/MSF when funds are available.

*** Students whose parents are deceased may contact the Admissions Office to request a waiver of parental information.