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Duke to Provide Sixth-Year Tuition Scholarships for Ph.D. Students

August 17, 2017

Beginning in fall 2017, Duke will provide tuition scholarships for Ph.D. students in their sixth year who do not have other sources of tuition support. The new tuition scholarships will serve as a supplemental resource for the small number of sixth-year students who do not have tuition support from external or departmental funding.

Email Announcement from Dean Paula D. McClain

SUBJECT: Sixth-year tuition scholarships for Ph.D. students

Dear students,

I hope you had an enjoyable and productive summer. As the new academic year rapidly approaches, I am writing to let you know about a new source of financial support that we recently finalized for Ph.D. students.

Effective immediately, Duke will provide tuition scholarships for Ph.D. students in their sixth year who do not have other sources of tuition support. Duke already covers tuition for all Ph.D. students for their first five years as part of their guaranteed funding package. Most of our students who go into a sixth year are able to obtain external or departmental funding that includes tuition support. A small number, however, are not. The new scholarships will cover tuition for those students in their sixth year.

For fall 2017 and spring 2018, any sixth-year Ph.D. student who does not have external or departmental tuition support will receive a tuition scholarship. Starting in fall 2018, sixth-year Ph.D. students who do not have external or departmental tuition support will be eligible for a tuition scholarship if they meet certain criteria. See the end of this email for details and more background information. Please contact The Graduate School’s financial support team at grad-finaid@duke.edu if you have questions.

Like many of our existing student resources, these new scholarships were the result of direct collaboration between students and administrators at various levels throughout Duke. I want to thank Provost Sally Kornbluth for driving the discussions, as well as providing the seed funding for the scholarships. I also want to thank Valerie Ashby, dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, for her role and support in this process. Finally, we want to thank the students who have worked collaboratively with us on this issue, including Rashmi Joglekar and the executive committee of the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

This new financial resource follows the expansion in Ph.D. student support announced in April, which included increased coverage for recreation fees, a longer accommodation period for students after childbirth or adoption, and higher allowances of stipend supplementation. As we have always done at Duke and at The Graduate School, we will continue to work closely with our students to support your academic success. As always, if you have suggestions about your experience at Duke, please contact our Office of Graduate Student Affairs at grad-gsa@duke.edu.

I hope to see you next week at The Graduate School’s welcome reception for new students and welcome-back reception for returning students. Good luck in the new year!

Sincerely,

Paula D. McClain, Ph.D.
Dean of The Graduate School and
Vice Provost for Graduate Education

 

More about the Sixth-Year Tuition Scholarships

All Ph.D. students at Duke are guaranteed funding for their first five years of study. This guaranteed funding includes tuition support for those five years. At the current tuition rate, that amounts to more than $168,000 in tuition coverage.

After the fifth year, tuition becomes the responsibility of the student. For some students, this is not an issue because they finish their degrees in five years. Among the students who do go into a sixth year or beyond, most are able to obtain external or departmental funding that cover tuition, but some are not. Each year, about 3 percent of the roughly 2,500 Ph.D. students at Duke pay tuition out of pocket.

Starting in fall 2017, Duke will provide tuition scholarships to students in their sixth year if they meet certain criteria (see below). As was the case when we began providing guaranteed summer research fellowships three years ago, our goal with this new resource is to help students focus on their academic work and complete their degrees sooner.

Distribution of Sixth-Year Tuition Scholarships

Fall 2017

Any sixth-year Ph.D. student who is not receiving tuition support from external or departmental funding for fall 2017 will receive a tuition scholarship. The Graduate School and the departments are compiling a list of students who meet this criterion. The Graduate School will contact those students between August 29 and September 15 about the tuition scholarship. If you have not received an email from The Graduate School by September 15 and believe that you are eligible for a sixth-year tuition scholarship, please contact grad-finaid@duke.edu.

Spring 2018

Any sixth-year Ph.D. student who is not receiving tuition support from external or departmental funding for spring 2018 will receive a tuition scholarship. The Graduate School will work with the departments to identify those students later this semester. The Graduate School will contact those students in December with information about the tuition scholarship.

Fall 2018 and Beyond

Starting with fall 2018, sixth-year Ph.D. students will be eligible for a tuition scholarship if they meet both of the following criteria:

  • The student has applied for external funding or for competitive fellowships from The Graduate School within the prior or current academic year.
  • The student was unsuccessful in obtaining external funding or competitive Graduate School funding that provides tuition support.

Note: These tuition scholarships are not meant to be replacements for current departmental funding mechanisms, which will be expected to continue. Rather, they will serve as a supplemental resource for the small number of students not covered by the current mechanisms.

If you have any questions, please contact grad-finaid@duke.edu.