Student Loans

Duke University offers the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs for graduate students, including Direct Unsubsidized loans, and Graduate PLUS loans. Each of these loans has different terms and conditions, but they are generally deferrable until after graduation or until the student is enrolled for less than half-time.

These federal loans are available only to United States citizens and, generally, only to master’s students, because Ph.D. scholarships and fellowships typically exceed the cost of attendance. Visit the Office of Student Loans and Personal Finance website for more information and application procedures for student loans.

Loans FAQs

Answers to commonly asked questions about graduate student loans

See the FAQs

Duke Credit Union Graduate Student Assistance Program

(For Ph.D. students)

Since 2013, The Graduate School has partnered with the Duke Credit Union to provide a short-term loan package for Ph.D. students who occasionally find themselves in need of funds on a short-term basis in order to settle into a new home when they begin their Ph.D. program at Duke, purchase a computer, or address an unexpected emergency. GSAP offers qualified Ph.D. student loans of up to $2,500 for up to 12 months at competitive interest rates. Payroll deduction is available. See the Duke Credit Union GSAP page for details and to apply.

Helen & Gordon McKinney Emergency Loan Fund

(For Ph.D. students)

The Helen & Gordon McKinney Emergency Loan Fund, created in 2013, provides short-term, low-interest loans to Graduate School Ph.D. students for general expenses such as settling into a new home, purchasing a computer, or addressing unexpected emergencies.

Terms and Conditions

  • The maximum loan amount is $1,000.
  • The repayment term is up to 12 months (or prior to graduating if applicable) at a 3.5% interest rate. Interest does not begin accruing until the third month of the loan period.
  • The loan period begins from the date of disbursement.
  • Students must possess the ability to repay the loan while they are enrolled as there is no deferment period.
  • Students cannot have more than one loan outstanding at any point in time, and may only request three loans during their academic career.
  • Loan availability is subject to loan amount and qualification of borrower. Not all applicants qualify for the loan. Loan approval is dependent on fund availability, successful academic progress, financial aid status, and explanation of need.
  • Default in repayment of the McKinney Loan will result in a hold to student’s account. Students will be unable to enroll in courses or receive transcript until the delinquency is paid.

To Apply

To apply for the McKinney Loan, please complete the short online application form (link below).

Once you submit the online application, The Graduate School’s finance office will review your information and contact you within five business days.

If approved for a loan, you will be notified by our finance office and advised of next steps regarding your promissory note and loan disbursement.