Vanderbilt University

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#6, overall score 78.83/100

Fun Fact:

One of the facilities in the engineering school is called Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium, donated by an alumnus in honor of longtime professor Dillard Jacobs.

Why should Jewish students attend Vanderbilt University? Vanderbilt is a top school with a great social scene and a robust, supportive Jewish life. Chabad at Vanderbilt hosts a Pesach Seder and Rosh Hashanah Dinner on Alumni Lawn attended by hundreds of students, weekly Shabbat dinners and a host of events and learning opportunities. If a student is serious about academics and wants to have a great time and stay connected with their Judaism, Vanderbilt is a top choice. — Rabbi Shlomo Rothstein, Rohr Chabad House at Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University prioritized the recruitment and retention of Jewish students in the early 2000s with the construction of Hillel’s Schulman Center for Jewish Life and their support of the Vanderbilt Hillel program. Subsequently, Vanderbilt Hillel has become a warm and welcoming family for Jewish students seeking to study at Vanderbilt University, one of the country’s premier academic institutions. Students have access to kosher food and can join Hillel’s variety of micro-communities catering to a variety of student interests. Additionally, students attending Vanderbilt University will have the opportunity to enjoy being a part of a vibrant and growing Jewish community in greater Nashville, one of the nation’s fastest growing and most dynamic cities. — Brian J. Small, assistant director, Vanderbilt Hillel


  • Location: Nashville, Tenn.
  • Region: South
  • Campus type: Big city
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 6,871
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 1,000
  • Jewish population share: 15%
  • Student origin: 10% in-state / 90% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Vanderbilt Hustler
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Commodores
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Armada / VUDU

COST & AID Score: 12.5/15

  • Score: 12.5/15
  • Tuition: $47,664
  • Room & board costs: $15,584
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $48,559
  • Average loan debt: $23,973
  • Starting median salary: $61,100
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: No

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 7:1
  • Median SAT range: 1400-1550
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 15/20

  • Score: 15/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 160
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: Dores For Israel, The David Project, TAMID
  • Jewish Agency for Israel fellow: Yes
  • BDS vote in last four years: Never introduced

SAFETY Score: 5.33/11

  • Score: 5.33/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 1
  • Campus crime rate: 3.89/1,000 students (medium low)
  • City crime rate: 47.99/1,000 people (high)
  • LGBT center: Yes

JEWISH LIFE Score: 26/34

  • Score: 26/34
  • Hillel: Vanderbilt Hillel
  • Chabad: Rohr Chabad House at Vanderbilt University
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Jewish fraternities: ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: None
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 15
  • Hillel Friday night services: 2
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 65
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 50
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 4 (1 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 2 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Dinah Shore
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: Hebros is comprised of a group of students that utilizes Hillel’s kosher BBQ grill to make southern BBQ brisket (the right way) for big social events, holidays and programs.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: Vegetarian kosher food is readily available, and Chabad at Vanderbilt runs a kosher food truck called Aryeh’s Kitchen during lunch. Menu includes smoked brisket flatbreads, hot pastrami sandwiches, chicken and soups. Hillel’s Schulman Center for Jewish Life is home to Grins Vegetarian Cafe, which is kosher.

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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