Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Next Steps at Vanderbilt University

Next Steps at Vanderbilt University is a 2-year nonresidential certification program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social skills, and vocational training.


Semester Expenses Annual Expenses
One Standard VU course per semester
Other inclusive class workshop offerings
Extra-Curricular Art and Dance Classes (optional)
Program expenses
Student Recreation Center access
Library access
Vocational support
Academic counseling
Course materials (excluding books)
Totals* $7,500 $15,000

Fees are payable on a semester basis and cover all educational aspects of Next Steps at Vanderbilt. 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.

Consumer Disclosures

How Students are Paying Tuition

The majority of students pay for tuition with the help of their families. However, some families have successfully reached out to local agencies and civic groups for scholarships. Vocational Rehabilitation Departments in many areas of the country are supporting postsecondary education programs with funding.

Federal Financial Aid
Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a federally approved Comprehensive Transition Program. This status enables eligible students to apply for Federal Financial Aid. The Federal Student Aid website has added a page explaining financial aid for students with ID; following this link provides further assistance.

Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship
Eligible students may also qualify for the Tennessee STEP UP Scholarship. The STEP UP Scholarship will award $4,000 per year for up to two years, and is available to Tennessee residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have received a diploma or certificate from a Tennessee high school within 16 months of enrolling in qualified postsecondary programs. For more information, 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.


The Vanderbilt Office of Financial Aid is also a resource. Contact the people below for assistance.

For families with last names starting with the letters A through L:
Melinda Nixon, Student Financial Aid Officer

For families with last names starting with the letters M through Z
Lea Voigt, Student Financial Aid Officer

The phone numbers to reach either of them are 1-800-288-0204 (toll free) or 615-322-3591 (local).