Are you considering taking less than a full courseload? Read on to learn how that would affect your financial aid.

"If I drop below four credits in a semester, how will that affect my financial aid?"

If you have need-based Duke grant in your financial aid ("Duke Grant" or a named endowment), if your charges are reduced because of your part-time status, we'll reduce your grant aid accordingly. Your family contribution will not change. This means that there often isn't a financial benefit for a student to take fewer courses, because their out-of-pocket costs will remain the same. 

If, after your charges are reduced, your cost of attendance is less than your family contribution, you would not be eligible for financial aid. However, your out-of-pocket cost may then be less than it would be if you were taking four credits. (Please see the "EFC $60,000" example at the bottom of this page.)

If you're taking 3.0 or 3.5 credits, you're considered a full-time student for financial aid. Your charges and aid won't be affected. 

If you take fewer than three credits, your aid will be reduced by the same amount as the reduction in the tuition charges and book costs (the part-time book allowance is half of the full-time book allowance). Your family contribution will remain the same, as will the budget for housing, meals, and miscellaneous expenses. 

Your bill from Duke will most likely go up by $300 (an estimate) relative to a typical semester because we have reduced your financial aid budget for books.

If you're taking fewer than 2.0 credits, you would not be eligible for grant aid from Duke. You may also no longer be eligible for federal loans. Contact your financial aid counselor to learn more specifics about your aid eligibility.


"Can I see some examples?"

Asher has an EFC of $30,000 and is taking 3.0 credits because their academic dean approved an underload for this semester. 

Asher's charges and aid will be the same as if they were taking a full course load, because taking 3.0 credits is considered full-time for financial aid.

Samir has an EFC of $10,000 ($5,000 per semester) and is taking 2.0 credits in the spring semester of his senior year. 

He will be charged less tuition because he is not taking a full course load. We will reduce his aid by the amount of his tuition reduction, and we will also reduce the amount of aid he receives for book expenses. His out-of-pocket costs to Duke will be nearly the same as if he were taking a full course load. He could potentially expect his Duke bill to go up by an estimated $300 because we have reduced his financial aid budget for books.

Cara is taking two classes during the second semester of her senior year. Her EFC is $60,000 ($30,000 per semester). If she were taking 4.0 credits, she could expect to pay her full family contribution for one semester ($30,000).

Cara's cost of attendance for 2.0 credits (the sum of the expenses we use to calculate financial aid) would be estimated at $22,000 for the spring semester ($13,000 for tuition; $3,500 dining; $4,500 housing; $1,000 fees and miscellaneous expenses)*.

Since Cara's total costs for 2.0 credits (estimated at $22,000) are less than her family contribution ($30,000), she would not be eligible for financial aid. However, her family could expect to pay $22,000 for this semester instead of $30,000, so the semester would be less expensive for her than a typical semester.


*These figures are estimates; please visit the Bursar's website for actual charges for tuition and other items.

Raoul is taking one credit in the second semester of his senior year.

Students taking 1.0 credit are not eligible for Duke grant aid, so he would not be eligible for grants from Duke. He would also not be eligible for federal loans.