How it Works

The financial aid process at Duke begins each year when you file an aid application. Duke reviews each application and determines the amount the student and family is expected to pay. Any remaining costs are covered by financial aid in the form of grants, work study, and limited student loans.

Note: The Financial Aid Office considers students for need-based aid only. If you are interested in learning about merit scholarships, outside scholarships, veterans benefits, or other sources of aid, click the link below.

Learn About Merit Scholarships & Other Sources of Aid

Your Family Contribution

Your family contribution is made up of two parts: the amount expected from parent(s) and the amount expected from your student.  Duke expects a minimum contribution from a first-year student of $2,600 per year, regardless of income.  The parent contribution is calculated by the Financial Aid Office based on the income and assets held by the family.  Families with a total annual income of $60,000 or less and typical assets will have an expected parent contribution of $0.  

Your Aid

Once we’ve determined your family contribution, we’ll build your financial aid award.  The financial aid award may consist of  work study, limited student loans*, grants, and scholarships.  All applicants are offered up to $2,200 in work study funding which can be earned during the academic year. (Click here to learn more about what work study is and how it can help.)  In addition to work study, some applicants are offered federal or low-interest loans. The rest of your family's need will be met with grants and scholarships.

Want information on how your family contribution is determined, the types of aid available, how we handle changes in your circumstances, and more? Get the full details on our policies and guidelines.

Learn more about how aid at Duke works

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 $61,000
Family Contribution $20,000
Remaining Need $41,000
Example Financial Aid Award
Work Study $2,200
Student Loan $4,000 (varies by income level)
Need-based Grant $34,800
Total Need-based Aid $41,000 (Total Aid = Remaining Need)


The contribution expected from your family is based on factors like income, assets, and number of children attending college at once.  To estimate your own family contribution, click the button below.

Want to estimate your contribution? Click here.

*Loan amounts included in an aid award are determined based on the chart below:

Total Income Loan Award
under $40,000 $0
between $40,000 & $55,000 $2,000
between $55,000 & $70,000 $3,000
between $70,000 & $85,000 $4,000
Over $85,000 $5,000

Once the appropriate loan and work study levels have been applied, the remaining financial aid will be issued in the form of need-based grants and scholarships.

What to do next

When determining how much a family can contribute, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you'd like to learn more about our review process and policies, other sources of aid, or how to apply, we've provided links below to more information. 

Learn more about how aid at Duke works

Learn About Scholarships & Other Sources of Aid

Apply for aid