Affording a Duke Education

Duke University is strongly committed to its financial aid program and the principle that a student’s financial resources should not be a barrier to enrollment. We view need-based aid as an investment in students and look forward to making Duke as affordable as possible for students from all financial backgrounds.  

More than half of our undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance through a combination of outright grants, federally guaranteed loans, subsidized work study, and merit and athletic scholarships. We are committed to helping all our students take full advantage of the Duke Experience.

Total dollar amount of grant aid coordinated for Duke students in 2015-1016: Over $118 Million

How to Apply

  1. First, you should indicate on your application for admission that you are applying for financial aid. While the Undergraduate Admissions Office will not consider your positive response in it admissions decisions (for U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents, and DACA/Undocumented students), it does alert the Financial Support Office to prepare a financial aid award for you.

  2. If you are a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, you will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS Profile. 

  3. If your parents are divorced or separated, both parents will need to submit financial information. We will calculate a separate contribution for each parent and add them together to determine an Expected Family Contribution. If one or both of your parents are remarried, we will remove consideration of income earned by your stepparent. After you complete the CSS Profile you will receive a form for your non-custodial parent to complete.

  4. If you are an international student, you will need to complete the CSS Profile Application and submit it online.

When Should I Apply for Financial Aid?

Although U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents may apply for financial aid at any time, the following deadlines ensure that you will receive your financial aid award along with your offer of admission:

For Students Entering in Fall 2018

Early Decision Applicants

November 15

  • 2018-2019 FAFSA, CSS Profile (and Noncustodial Profile)

November 22

  • Noncustodial parent tax and wage documents to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Support

Regular Decision Applicants

February 1 

  • 2018-2019 FAFSA, CSS Profile (and Noncustodial Profile)

Transfer Applicants

March 19   

  • 2018-2019 FAFSA, CSS Profile (and Noncustodial Profile)


How is My Aid Calculated?

Our Financial Support Office calculates the parent contribution using national and institutional standards while taking into account the unique circumstances each family faces. The formulas include factors such as income, family size, the number of children in college, assets, and special circumstances, which we invite you to share with the Financial Support Office. Families earning less than $60,000 a year have no parent contribution. Students are also expected to contribute to their education, including part of what they earn during the summer before they enroll at Duke. The parent and student contributions together comprise the family contribution. For more detailed information, visit

Once your family contribution is calculated we subtract it from the total cost of attending Duke (including tuition, fees, room and board, books, personal expenses, and transportation). The balance is the amount of your financial aid award. Each family’s financial aid package equals that family’s demonstrated need.


Sample Duke Financial Aid Award:

Below is an example of what a financial aid award would look like for a family whose expected contribution is $20,000.

Example Financial Need
Cost of Attendance $72,710
Family Contribution $20,000
Remaining Need $52,710
Example Financial Aid Award
Work Study $2,200
Student Loan $5,000 (varies by income level)
Need-based Grant $45,510
Total Need-based Aid $52,710 (Total Aid = Remaining Need)



What is Included in a Financial Aid Award?

Work Study ($2,200/year)

Work study opportunities are offered in each student’s financial aid package. Students apply for their own on-campus work study jobs, usually through Most students work 8-10 hours per week, and employers are happy to work around students’ class schedules. Students are paid directly for their work and are encouraged to use work study earnings for books and personal expenses.

Student Loan ($5,000/year maximum)

Low-interest, deferred payment student loans are offered as part of some financial aid packages according to the following guidelines:

Table showing how total income impacts loan awardStudents painting at the "Free Expression" bridge/tunnel









Duke grant funds comprise the main portion of most need-based grant awards; federal, state and local grant funds are also included as appropriate. Students receiving need-based grants or scholarships from Duke are largely supported through endowments established by donors. These funds do not have to be repaid and are calculated based on information from the CSS Profile and accompanying documentation.


Frequently Asked Questions