Vanderbilt ready to provide financial assistance to its students impacted by Katrina

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Vanderbilt began accepting visiting students from Gulf Coast institutions, the university reassured current Vanderbilt students from the devastated areas that the university is prepared to help meet their changing educational financial needs.

To help with that effort, the university established a fund to provide aid to current students as well as two other funds to support displaced students temporarily enrolled at Vanderbilt and to provide financial assistance for the medical center’s disaster relief efforts.

David Mohning, director of student financial aid, said most current Vanderbilt students have already paid for the fall semester, but those who have suffered losses as a result of the devastation that may affect their financial situation may be considering how they will pay for the spring semester. “We just don’t want them to think they have no option financially, and they have to pack it up and go home.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to meet the financial need of our students to attend Vanderbilt,” he said.
In an e-mail to undergraduate deans and others, Mohning urged that students who have been financially affected by the hurricane and its aftermath be advised to immediately contact his office “when it appears that their ability to remain in school or meet their financial obligations associated with their continued enrollment here at Vanderbilt is in jeopardy.”
He said he and his staff would move quickly to reassess the students’ financial needs and help them secure additional funds, if needed.

Mohning said the offer applies not only to students who are already receiving financial aid and now may need more, but also to students who had not previously applied for need-based financial aid but may be in need of assistance now as a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, students from Gulf Coast institutions began enrolling as visiting students at Vanderbilt. Nearly all of Vanderbilt’s colleges and schools had been contacted by students from institutions in the affected area about taking classes at Vanderbilt this fall. As of Friday about 20 undergraduate students had registered as visiting students, and the law school, Owen Graduate School of Management, Divinity School, Engineering School, Graduate School and Peabody College of education and human development had begun accepting applications from graduate and professional students displaced by the hurricane.

The Middle Tennessee Medical Reserve Corps, based at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was seeking volunteers to go to the aid of the hurricane victims. The call went out to health care professionals and other skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds, such as military logistics, military command and control, certified electricians and other qualified individuals who can help support a mobile health care infrastructure.

In addition, MTMRC was seeking donations of durable and nondurable medical supplies, as well as personal equipment suitable for urban search and rescue activities, such as power and hand tools, rigging equipment, fire extinguishers and portable radios.

Individuals who wish to volunteer must apply online to the Middle Tennessee Medical Reserve Corps at Only those individuals who apply online will be considered.

Area wholesalers, retailers and medical equipment supply vendors who wish to make donations were asked to contact 322-4400.

The Medical Center was also awaiting word on whether it would receive any of the patients from Gulf Coast hospitals who are expected to be airlifted into Nashville Saturday.

Student groups began accepting Friday donations for Second Harvest Food Bank to help provide relief for victims of the hurricane. Beginning Monday, students on Vanderbilt’s meal plan will be able to trade a side item for a non-perishable item that will be donated to the food drive. Every item that a student donates at Rand Dining Hall will be matched by the university’s Dining Services. If students don’t want to trade a side order, they may purchase an item to donate.

For more information about Vanderbilt’s efforts related to this disaster, visit

Contact: Elizabeth Latt, 615-322-NEWS

John Howser, 615-322-4747

Explore Story Topics