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Access2VLS Need-Based Grants

Access2VLS Need-Based Grants for First-Year J.D. Students

Through the generosity of Vanderbilt Law alumni, Access2VLS grants provide targeted financial assistance that facilitates enrollment and helps reduce borrowing for students with demonstrated financial need.

VLS admission decisions are need-blind, and each candidate admitted to the entering first-year J.D. class is considered for Law School merit scholarship funding based on their full application for admission in the context of the admitted pool with no consideration of financial need.

Access2VLS grants pay up to $5,000* of first-year students' unmet tuition need after FAFSA expected family contribution (EFC) and VLS merit scholarships. After receiving their individual scholarship decisions, admitted JD applicants whose VLS merit scholarship awards do not fully meet their tuition-need (defined as VLS tuition minus the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)) may request an Access2VLS grant that pays up to $5,000 of the student's unmet first-year tuition need (defined as the student's tuition-need minus the student's VLS merit scholarship).

The following examples A through C show three students each receiving a $30,000 merit scholarship (VLS merit scholarship median value) in the admission process; their individual EFCs as calculated by FAFSA; and the Access2VLS amounts for which each could qualify. A student receiving no merit scholarship could also qualify for an Access2VLS grant as in example D:


1L Tuition FAFSA EFC Tuition Need Annual Merit Schol Unmet Tuition Need

Access VLS Grant

Schol plus Grant
A $63,000 $20,000 $43,000 $30,000 $13,000 $5,000 $35,000
B $63,000  $30,000  $33,000  $30,000  $30,000   $3,000 $33,000 
$63,000   $40,000 $23,000  $30,000  $30,000   $0 $30,000 
 $63,000  $50,000 $13,000  $0   $13,000 $5,000  $5,000 

Access2VLS Instructions

Access2VLS grants pay up to $5,000* of students' unmet tuition need after FAFSA expected family contribution (EFC) and VLS merit scholarships.  

After receiving a VLS scholarship decision, an admitted candidate may request an Access2VLS grant by: 1) filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, and 2) submitting the Access2VLS request form in their application portal.

Complete the FAFSA

The FAFSA should be submitted directly to the federal processor online at

Suggested filing date: February 1

Please Note: Regardless of the FAFSA instructions, admitted students who are age 26 or under must submit parental financial information to be considered for an Access2VLS grant. The requirement to provide parental data may be waived for: 1) married students age 26 or under not claimed as dependents, or 2) students age 26 or under for whom parents are deceased. Please contact the Law School Admissions Office regarding waivers:

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

If you use estimated figures when completing the FAFSA, you must submit corrected figures via the FAFSA website as soon as they are available.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT)

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents who filed a U.S. tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA form and to transfer the data directly in to their FAFSA form. We highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:

  • It is the easiest way to provide your tax return information.
  • It is the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA form has accurate tax information.
  • You will not need to provide a copy of your or your parents' tax returns to Vanderbilt.

Verification of financial information provided on the FAFSA is required. The verification process will be completed by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or by submitting tax returns. Please do not submit any tax documents to our office unless we specifically request that you do so.
*In the Access2VLS program's 2020-21 inaugural year, current funding allows us to provide individual grants capped at $5,000 to eligible members of the first-year J.D. class entering in fall semester of 2021. These one-time grants apply to the 2020-21 academic year ($2,500 per semester).

International students are not eligible for Access2VLS grants.