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Financial FAQs


General

What types of tuition and fees are graduate students charged?
What types of financial aid are available?

Financial aid is money that is given, paid, or loaned to you to help pay for your college. There are several types of financial aid for Duke graduate students:

  • Grants, fellowships, and scholarships: Given as awards and do not require repayment. Some grants may require service (work) to be performed. Departments may nominate PhD applicants for competitive, merit-based fellowship awards provided by The Graduate School. Some graduate students also receive external fellowships from either private or governmental sources. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue these funding opportunities.
  • Loans: Borrowed from a lending institution. You are required to repay the loans with interest and loan related fees.. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Grad Plus Loans, and Carl Perkins Loans are available to graduate students.
  • Work-study employment: On-campus and approved off-campus employment that allows you to earn money for your education.
What does financial aid pay for?

Depending on your eligibility, financial aid can be used to pay educational expenses including tuition and fees, books and supplies, food, housing, transportation, and some personal expenses while you attend Graduate School.

How do I find information on non-Duke funding opportunities?

For external scholarships, check our Find Funding database, as well as the Graduate and Professional Student Funding page on the Office of Research Support website.

What is the difference between a fellowship and an assistantship?

Assistantships require some form of service (generally teaching or research), usually in the range of 15–20 hours per week. Fellowships require no service. Fellowship awards of tuition and fee payments are generally posted directly to the students’ bursar accounts.

What is the tax liability on fellowships vs. assistantships?

Fellowships are reportable as income with the exclusion of tuition, fees, books, and equipment. The university does not have tax withholding requirements for fellowships, although students may choose to have taxes withheld. The University does withhold taxes on assistantships, and the student receives a W2 form for tax reporting purposes. IRS publication 970 (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/) is the official word on taxation of fellowships and assistantships.

If I have been awarded federal work-study, am I guaranteed a job on campus?

No. Federal work-study is an opportunity to work. It is not a guarantee of on-campus employment.

Are my federal work-study earnings deducted from my student account?

No. Students have their earnings deposited directly to their bank account or receive a paycheck.

What is the difference between a tax return transcript and a tax account transcript?

A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. In most cases, your transcript includes all the information a lender or government agency needs. It does not show any changes that you, your representative, or we made after you filed. Check with your financial institution to make sure a tax return transcript will meet their requirements. The tax return transcript is free and is generally available for the current and past three years.

We can also provide a tax account transcript. The tax account transcript, which is also free, shows basic data from your return, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income, and taxable income. It also includes any adjustments you or we made after you filed your return. Like the tax return transcript, the tax account transcript is generally available for the current and past three years.

How will my financial award be paid?
I’ve received a bill from the Bursar’s Office. What should I do?

Students are ultimately responsible for payment of charges posted to their bursar account, regardless of the nature or source of their funding. Therefore, students should read and check their bills carefully to ensure that both charges and scholarship payments are correct. Students should be aware that some charges billed through the Bursar’s Office cannot be paid by departmental awards and must be paid directly by the student. Examples of these include library fines for lost books, late registration fees, and charges for parking permits and traffic tickets.

If, after reviewing your bill, you think an error has been made either in charges or fellowship payments of tuition and fees, take your questions to the director of graduate studies assistant in your department. Failure to pay your bursar account balance in a timely manner can result in late payment penalties, registration blocks, and, potentially, withdrawal from the Graduate School.

What if I can’t pay my Bursar’s bill or I need additional funds for extraordinary expenses?

Need-based federal financial aid is available for eligible students in the form of Federal Stafford Loan—unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Grad Plus Loan, Carl Perkins Loans, and federal work study. While there is no formal deadline for loan requests, the loan process takes two to three weeks. Students should take this processing time into consideration and should submit applications well in advance of when they will need the funds.

Applications should be submitted by e-mail, mail, or fax to:

The Office of Budgets and Finance, Duke University
Box 90061, Durham, NC 27708
grad-finaid@duke.edu
Fax: 919-681-8018


Loans

What kind of financial aid am I eligible to receive?

Graduate students are eligible for federal direct loans as long as they are actively enrolled in a degree-granting program.

Do international applicants receive financial aidfederal student loans?

There is no federal financial aid for international students at the graduate level at Duke. All international students should make arrangements for their college financial obligations before coming into the country.

When does the financial aid year start and end for federal loans?

The financial aid year runs from July 1 to June 30.

What happens to my financial aid federal loans if I withdraw?

In accordance with federal regulations, financial aid awards may be reduced based on withdrawal dates. Tuition refunds are calculated independently from financial aid award (or return) calculations. Official course withdrawal requests must be submitted to the appropriate academic advisor either in person or in writing.

Will I lose my federal loans financial aid if I withdraw from a semester or drop a class?

Most awards are based upon full time enrollment. If you drop classes during the add/drop period, the financial aid officer may adjust some of your financial aid to the appropriate enrollment level. You may be required to repay the difference between the full-time aid amount and the adjusted amount. If you must fully withdraw for a semester, the financial aid officer is required to recalculate your financial aid eligibility. You may be required to repay a portion of your aid. You should notify the financial aid officer if you reduce your enrollment after your aid is disbursed.

Can I continue to receive federal loans financial aid if I do not pass all of my classes?

We will measure your academic progress at the end of each semester. Financial aid recipients are expected to maintain a GPA of 3.0. You will receive the full Satisfactory Academic Progress policy in a separate mailing. Be sure to speak with the financial aid officer if you are concerned about loss of your aid eligibility.

I will be receiving a scholarship from a local organization. Will this affect the federal loans that I have received?

It is possible that outside aid could affect the amount of federal aid a graduate student receives. Send copies of any scholarship awards to the Office of Budgets and Finance so that your financial aid can be re-evaluated. Your award will be adjusted if necessary, and you will be notified if there are any changes.

What forms do graduate students need to apply for need-based financial aid (federal student loans and federal work study)?

Initially, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.. The FAFSA is required for any need-based loan program. Graduate and professional students are considered independent for financial aid purposes, so parental income information is not required.

What is Duke University’s code for the FAFSA?

002920

Do I have to file a FAFSA each year?

If you expect to receive federal student loans or federal work study, the answer is yes, even if your income does not change dramatically.

I've been selected for verification. What does this mean?

Verification is a random quality-control method used by the US Department of Education to check the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA. All schools that disburse Federal Title IV Funds are required to participate in the verification process. The verification process is a manual review of your application and requires a minimum of two to three weeks for processing. For more information on the verification process, contact our financial aid officer at grad-finaid@duke.edu.

What is the difference between a tax return transcript and a tax account transcript?

A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. In most cases, your transcript includes all the information a lender or government agency needs. It does not show any changes that you, your representative, or we made after you filed. Check with your financial institution to make sure a tax return transcript will meet their requirements. The tax return transcript is free and is generally available for the current and past three years.

We can also provide a tax account transcript. The tax account transcript, which is also free, shows basic data from your return, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income, and taxable income. It also includes any adjustments you or we made after you filed your return. Like the tax return transcript, the tax account transcript is generally available for the current and past three years.

How do I find information on non-Duke scholarships?

For external scholarships, check our Find Funding database, as well as the Graduate and Professional Student Funding page on the Office of Research Support website.

I will be receiving a scholarship from a local organization. Will this affect the financial aid that I have received?

It is possible that outside aid could affect the amount of federal aid a graduate student receives. Send copies of any scholarship awards to the Office of Budgets and Finance so that your financial aid can be re-evaluated. Your award will be adjusted if necessary, and you will be notified if there are any changes.

If I have been awarded federal work-study, am I guaranteed a job on campus?

No. Federal work-study is an opportunity to work. It is not a guarantee of on-campus employment.

Are my federal work-study earnings deducted from my student account?

No. Students have their earnings deposited directly to their bank account or receive a paycheck.

How much student loan money can I borrow?

Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in a given academic school year in a Direct Lending Unsubsidized Loan. Depending on credit approval, they can also borrow up to the cost of attendance budget in a Direct Lending GRAD PLUS loan.

How often do I need to complete the Master Promissory Note?

The Master Promissory Note is good for ten years in most instances.

Which Master Promissory Note should I sign?

All graduate or part-time students must complete the Master Promissory Note for the Unsubsidized Loan at www.studentloans.gov.

Can federal loans be used to cover living expenses?

Cost of attendance includes non-direct costs such as living expenses. The amount is based on averages. Living expenses for students enrolled for less than full-time status will be prorated.

Am I able to request additional loan assistance than what I accepted?

If students rejected a portion of their loan assistance at the beginning of the year and decide later that they need those funds, they can request that the Office of Budget and Finance reinstate their originally offered loan amounts. Students may be required to complete additional loan applications or documents depending on the loan type. If students accepted 100 percent of the aid they were offered in their financial aid award, they are generally not eligible to receive additional funding unless they can document extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical bills not covered by insurance). For more information on requesting additional funding for extenuating circumstances, contact the Graduate School financial aid officer (grad-finaid@duke.edu) and request professional judgment.

What is professional judgment?

Professional judgment is a process where The Graduate School financial aid officer considers a student’s special circumstances and potentially makes adjustments to his or her expected family contribution for educational expenses, standard budget, or financial aid dependency status, as determined by federal guidelines. Adjustments must be reasonable and documented, and the institution is held accountable for decisions made. | More information about professional judgment (PDF).

When do I begin repayment of my student loans?

Federal direct loan payments are deferred until six months after graduation. For questions about repayment, contact Direct Loan Servicing at 1-800-848-0979. Private education loans have may have varying repayment terms.

How do I defer my student loans?

If you are enrolled at least part-time as a graduate, your enrollment information will be sent through a clearinghouse to all lending parties involved. If you re-enroll into a program after a leave of absence, you may need to fill out an enrollment verification form available on the University Registrar website and send it to the US Department of Education or American Education Services.

If I have a credit on my account, when will I receive my refund check?

Refund checks will be issued beginning with the first week of class. Monitor your ACES account daily.  When “Refund to Student” appears on your account, you can expect to see the refund either via direct deposit or in the mail within three to five business days from the date of the transaction.