"I'd like to appeal for more grant aid. How do I do that?"

At Duke, we take the time to personally consider each individual family's financial circumstances.

We make every effort to be as accommodating as possible and to give you every benefit we can. When we share your financial aid offer with you, we have offered you all the considerations we can based on the information you shared.

If your family's financial circumstances have recently changed, however, or if there's important information you didn't include in your financial aid application, please let us know. We share information below to help you understand what we can and cannot consider in an appeal.

The following circumstances are automatically considered when evaluating your financial aid:

  • Federal, state, and other taxes
  • Medical expenses that are either
    • 4% of your total income or less, or
    • reported on your IRS Form 1040 Schedule A, line 1
  • Routine household expenses
  • Routine vehicle and travel expenses
  • Tuition expenses for children in private primary/secondary schools
  • Multiple children in college
  • Previously reported special circumstances

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The following may qualify as a special circumstance:

  • Support of multiple households (married family members living apart, elder care, or care of family overseas)
  • One-time income
    • Withdrawal of retirement funds for emergency purposes
    • Moving allowances or similar expenses incurred and reimbursed by an employer
  • Funeral expenses or unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that are both
    • 5% of total income or more, and
    • Not reported on your IRS Form 1040 Schedule A
  • Educational debt
    • Note: we will only consider parental educational debt that is currently in repayment, documented, and for students (parents and/or siblings) who are no longer enrolled
  • Job loss or significant reduction in income

If you have experienced one of the situations above (other than job loss or income reduction), please visit our Forms page to download the Special Circumstances Form. Please email us at finaid@duke.edu for submission instructions.

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When determining financial aid eligibility, the following are not and will not be considered in our analysis, and therefore would not qualify as special circumstances:

  • Expenses related to
    • Pets
    • Housekeepers
    • Vacations
    • Weddings
    • Extracurricular Activities
  • Consumer Debt
  • Fraternity/sorority dues
  • Graduate school expenses for siblings and/or other family members
  • Financial aid offers from other institutions
  • Unwillingness to contribute to educational expenses
  • Inability to pay the calculated family contribution from current income*

*Please note: It is our expectation that families will use all resources available to them to finance the expected family contribution (EFC) including current salary, savings, investments, payment plans and parent loans if necessary.

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  • Duke's current policy regarding income reduction or job loss is to collect information once the calendar year has closed and the full impact can be assessed.
  • If you experienced a significant reduction in pay in the most recent tax year due to job loss/termination, wage/salary reduction, or mandatory furlough, we will reevaluate your financial aid when you are able to provide tax documents from that tax year so that all earnings information can be assessed.
  • How to Submit an Appeal: Please see "How to Submit an Appeal" in the section below. 
  • When considering financing options, we recommend looking into monthly payment options, additional federal student loans, federal parent loans, or other private/alternative loan options.  Find out more about your financing options, and contact us if you need assistance.


For Changes that Occurred in 2021

For students seeking assistance in the 2022-2023 aid year:

If you experienced a significant reduction in pay in 2021, you may submit your 2021 taxes for a reevaluation of your 22-23 aid. Please email us at finaid@duke.edu (or email your financial aid counselor) for submission instructions, including the student's name, student ID, financial aid ID, and any other information you feel may be important. You will be asked to submit your complete 2021 tax return, including all statements and schedules, and your complete 2021 W2s/wage statements.

Families should be aware that data must be collected from the entire household who wishes to appeal on the basis of income loss (i.e. wage statements must be received for all wage earners) to determine the net change in household income for the current aid year. Applications submitted citing only one family member's change in earnings will not be considered. This includes both the custodial and noncustodial parent in the case of divorce, unless the noncustodial parent's information has been waived.

Please note that the deadline to submit appeals for 21-22 aid was March 1, 2022.


For Changes Occurring in 2022

If you are experiencing a reduction in income in 2022, you may submit your 2022 taxes prior to March 1, 2023 for a reevaluation of your 22-23 financial aid. Tax returns received after March 1, 2023 will be used to evaluate aid eligibility for the 23-24 academic year. 

Please email us at finaid@duke.edu (or email your financial aid counselor) for submission instructions, including the student's name, student ID, financial aid ID, and any other information you feel may be important once your 2022 tax returns are available.

In order to submit an appeal, please take the following steps:

  • Gather your relevant documents. For example, if you are appealing based on job loss in a previous tax year, please gather your W2s/wage statements and full tax documents from that year.
  • Please email finaid@duke.edu or your financial aid counselor and request a secure link to upload your files. Do not send sensitive documents over email. When you reach out, please include the student's name, student ID (for current students), financial aid ID (CBFinAid ID, for applicants), and any other information you feel may be important.
  • When you have received the secure link to upload your files, please upload all relevant documents at one time, including the cover sheet if instructed to do so.
  • Appeals generally take 8-10 business days for processing, and this time frame may change depending on the volume of appeals we receive. Please wait to hear back before checking in regarding the status of your appeal.


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