Starting this fall, Duke University will offer free tuition to students from the Carolinas whose families earn $150,000 a year or less.
Duke will also provide additional financial aid for housing, meals and books for North Carolina and South Carolina students with family incomes of $65,000 or less, the research university in Durham announced this week.
"This additional financial support for undergraduates reflects Duke’s commitment to our students from the Carolinas," Duke University President Vincent Price said in a news release. "By providing even more equitable access to a Duke education, and ensuring students have the resources they need to truly thrive while here at Duke, we will also make our campus community stronger."
The program is for all undergraduate students who qualify, Duke said, benefiting about 340 students next academic year.
"We want to make it easier for families to choose Duke," said Gary Bennett, dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. "Attending college can expand a family’s opportunities for generations, and we aim to make the Duke experience as widely accessible as we can."
A general view of the Duke University Chapel ahead of the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Duke Blue Devils on February 19, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke has more than 1,000 undergraduate students from North Carolina, more than from any other state. North Carolina students represent 16% of the total student body, and an additional 160 are from South Carolina.
"This is our home, and it's where we have our most longstanding commitment," Price said. "We want families in the Carolinas to know that a Duke education can be affordable, and that we will provide support and resources so all students who are admitted to Duke can have an exceptional college experience."
This new financial aid will be funded by "university resources," the school said, and is expected to increase grant assistance to North and South Carolina students by about $2 million for the 2023-24 academic year.
Duke officials expect that number to rise to $6 million - $7 million a year as more eligible students from the Carolinas enroll in the next five years.
"We know that students with greater financial constraints are more likely to choose colleges that are closer to their homes, and that many of those students will also choose to stay closer to home after they graduate," Bennett said. "Retaining talent is critical to our region’s success; Duke’s commitment to these students is also a commitment to the North and South Carolina communities they call home."