Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Tavey Capps
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Duke University
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Tavey Capps
Environmental Sustainability Director
Office of the Executive Vice President
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Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

Duke's Financial aid initiative
As part of our ongoing commitment to make high-quality undergraduate education more affordable, Duke announced in December 2007 a series of enhancements to its need-based undergraduate financial aid program that took effect in the 2008-09 academic year. These enhancements include

* eliminating the parental contribution for families with incomes less than $60,000;
* eliminating loans for families with incomes less than $40,000;
* reducing loans for students from families with incomes up to $85,000; and
* capping loans for eligible families with incomes above $85,000.

“The strength of the University depends on its ability to select and recruit students on the grounds of ability, dedication and promise, not on a family’s financial circumstances,” said President Richard H. Brodhead, who in his 2004 inaugural speech identified increasing the University’s endowment for financial aid as one of his highest priorities. “We have deliberately focused these new investments on relieving the burden not only for parents with incomes below the national median but for students from middle-income families as well.”

The 2012-13 Duke budget includes $128.2 million -- a 7 percent increase from the FY12 budget -- to support Duke’s undergraduate financial aid program and fund these enhancements. About 52 percent of undergraduates receive financial support to attend Duke; about 43 percent receive need-based aid.

Duke Financial Aid Policies and Procedures Guiding Principles
Duke University views its financial aid program as an investment in students and their futures. We seek a diverse student body and are committed to ensuring that aided students can take full advantage of the Duke experience. To that end, Duke admits U.S. citizens, permanent residents and a limited number of foreign students without regard to financial circumstance or aid eligibility and meets 100 percent of each admitted student's demonstrated need throughout their nine semesters of potential undergraduate enrollment.

Duke, like many similar institutions, uses the 568 Presidents' Group Consensus Approach to Needs Analysis to determine each student's family contribution. This formula, whose guiding principles are articulated under Bulletin Board/Tips on this page, is designed to ensure that families with similar circumstances contribute similar amounts while families with different financial circumstances contribute proportionally different amounts toward a student's annual attendance costs. Duke does not "negotiate" financial aid, but does consider extenuating circumstances that may affect a family's ability to support educational expenses. Applicants are encouraged to submit dollar‐specific details relative to any extenuating or unusual circumstances that affect their ability to support educational expenses.

In addition to need‐based scholarships, grants and loans, merit scholarships are integral to Duke's financial aid program. Although all merit scholarships are awarded at the time of admission on the basis of academic distinction, other factors ‐‐ such as leadership, musical talent and other unique characteristics ‐‐ are considered. Several of these programs are awarded without regard to a student's demonstrated need. Recipients who meet the specified academic standards will retain their merit scholarship for the four years they are enrolled at Duke. Applicants for admission are considered for all available merit scholarships. No specific scholarship application is available or required.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

A brief description of any programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

A two-day pre-orientation program followed by ongoing support throughout the academic year is provided for high-need, first generation students. The program introduces students to the university "system" to help them negotiate more effectively and also introduces them to faculty to help them make meaningful academic connections on the first day. This program also promotes a sense of belonging and strength.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

The majority of assistance offered by Duke is in the form of need-based grants and scholarships. These funds do not have to be repaid and are calculated based on information from the CSS Profile and accompanying documentation. Students receiving need-based grants or scholarships from Duke are largely supported through endowments established by donors, and students receiving these awards may be asked to write thank-you letters to individual donors after receiving these awards.

A brief description of any programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

See above. Duke also has a parallel two day pre-orientation program for parents of first generation students.

A brief description of any targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

Excerpt from the current Duke Strategic Plan –
Chapter 3 - Duke's Enduring Themes - Affordability and access

Duke's historic commitment to affordability and access was built on the fundamental principle of justice, on our belief that access to higher education - and thereby worldly success - should be available to all, not simply to those who can pay. But in modern America, qualification for college admission has had a high correlation with family income, and the premier private universities tend to recruit classes substantially tipped toward upper income sectors. Universities alone, of course, cannot affect or right every cause contributing to the unequal preparation of the young. But just for that reason, we have a special obligation to do what we can, and assuming the share of costs that a family cannot afford to pay is our way of assuring that we recruit students on the grounds of ability, dedication, and promise alone, not of family circumstance. Moreover, society has a profound self-interest in seeing that those with talent have access to quality education. We tend to take for granted the dynamism that makes our economy and culture develop wealth and an envied quality of life, but there is no reason to believe these things are self-sustaining. They are driven by human intelligence and creativity, and for renewal, these resources need cultivation and investment. Making sure that those gifted with these traits get the education that will allow them to give the greatest return on their talents is the best way to provide for this social good. It is safe to say that the talent upon which we will someday want to draw is not confined to a single social origin or band of income.

Duke's commitment to financial aid and need-blind admission is the investment we make to produce the trained talent our future world will require - and when we think of graduate and professional schools, this means the talent that will keep our own fields strong and strongly advancing. Some 45% of all Duke undergraduates receive aid from the University. To meet the challenge to be able to ensure that we select and recruit students on the grounds of ability, dedication and promise alone, we have recently engaged in a $300 million Financial Aid initiative to strengthen Duke's financial aid endowment. We have dedicated our institutional resources to financial aid over time, and launched this focused and substantial fundraising effort, not only because of our responsibility to nurture talent for the good of society at large, but also because we believe that when we enable students to come to Duke from other income groups, other regions, other countries, we create a better experience not just for them but for every member of our common community.

* We must provide increased support to ensure broader access to our undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools.
* We must increase support for professional students committed to less remunerative careers.

Graduate Student Affairs - Diversity Initiatives

The Graduate School has a long-standing commitment to increasing the diversity and quality of its graduate student body. Our primary goals are to increase enrollment of students from traditionally underrepresented groups, to provide students with sufficient funding to complete their graduate studies in a timely manner, and to promote an academic and social environment where these scholars can flourish. Targeted recruiting strategies (including undergraduate research opportunities like the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) that give potential students a taste of the graduate student experience) are vital to these efforts, and the involvement of Duke's graduate faculty is central to these strategies.

A key mission of the Office of Graduate Student Affairs is to coordinate, supplement, and expand the recruiting efforts of graduate departments and programs. Each year GSA participates in recruitment fairs across the country that enable us to meet potential graduate students and to answer any questions they might have about Duke's graduate programs. GSA coordinates with other nearby schools to bring talented undergraduates from across the country to visit our campuses. Activities during these visits typically include seminars on graduate admissions and financial aid, panel discussions with faculty and graduate students, departmental visitations, and informal gatherings.

Other mechanisms the Graduate School employs in the recruitment of students from traditionally underrepresented groups include participation in national consortia designed to promote diversity in graduate education; targeted faculty recruitment visits to colleges and universities; and the development of external and institutional funding to support summer research opportunities for undergraduates.

GSA provides general counseling for students from traditionally underrepresented groups, develops programs to enhance their participation in graduate student life, and helps students to identify external sources of funding. The office also provides recruitment, retention, and completion data and helps to initiate various summer research opportunities that identify potential graduate students early in their college careers.

A brief description of other admissions policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

When awarding undergraduate financial aid, Duke adheres to the following principles:

To the extent they are able, parents and students have the primary responsibility to contribute to educational expenses before Duke awards financial aid.
Families should contribute to educational expenses according to their ability. Those with similar financial profiles should contribute similar amounts.
Both income and assets, including business income and assets, are part of the assessment of the parents' and applicants' ability to pay.
Institutional aid is awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by the information provided on an applicant's CSS Profile and supporting tax and wage information.

In addition,

From http://financialaid.duke.edu/undergraduate-applicants/how-does-it-work (Duke's Financial Aid Website)

Your family contribution is made up of two parts: the amount expected from parent(s) and the amount expected from you. 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.

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.

A brief description of other financial aid policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

The Financial Aid System at Duke has multiple steps. Undergraduate applicants can calculate their aid on the duke financial aid website.

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.

A brief description of other policies and programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students not covered above:

To help families with more than one child in school:

Duke adjusts the expected contribution for families receiving need-based aid with multiple students in college at the same time. The Parent Contribution is adjusted to 60% of the full calculated contribution for families who have two children in college and to 45% of the full calculated contribution for those with three children in college. Please see the notes below for the guidelines regarding these adjustments.

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of any scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

Students taking fewer than three credits during an academic term have their tuition prorated based on a per-course tuition charge and their book allowance reduced to half their full-time allotment. Such students are subject to the following:

The tuition component of their budget for the term is reduced to the amount charged on their Bursar’s bill. The book component of their budget for the term is reduced to half of their full-time allowance. Need-based aid is reduced to reflect the reduced eligibility that results from the lower charges. Eligibility for certain programs is affected. Part-time students are not eligible to receive the North Carolina Tuition Grant for that term. Pell Grant award amounts for that term are reduced. To determine the correct Pell amount, the payment schedule for periods less than full-time must be consulted.

A brief description of any onsite child care facilities, partnerships with local facilities, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

Duke Child Care Partnership - Parents who work at Duke University and Health System have greater access to quality child care through the Duke Child Care Partnership.

On-site Child Care at Duke - Duke faculty, staff and graduate students have two options for on-site childcare at Duke: the Duke Children's Campus and The Little School at Duke.

Child Care Services Association - Choosing a child care provider can be a difficult decision. Child Care Services Association, a non profit child care resource and referral agency, helps families access affordable high-quality child care for their children from birth through age 12. This service is provided free of charge.

Dependent Care Reimbursement Account - Duke offers you a Dependent Care Reimbursement Account to help you take advantage of tax savings on eligible dependent care expenses.

A brief description of other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (accessibility and affordability indicators)?:

Indicators that the institution is accessible and affordable to low-income students::
Percentage (0-100)
The percentage of entering students that are low-income ---
The graduation/success rate for low-income students ---
The percentage of student financial need met, on average ---
The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt ---

The percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students:

The website URL where information about the institution's affordability and access programs is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.