Banking on Student Futures

January 31, 2009
Ensuring affordability: trustee emerita Sally Dalton Robinson '55, co-chair of the Financial Aid Initiative development committee, with President Brodhead and students at November celebration.

Ensuring affordability: trustee emerita Sally Dalton Robinson '55, co-chair of the Financial Aid Initiative development committee, with President Brodhead and students at November celebration. Chris Hildreth

President Richard H. Brodhead announced in early November that the university's Financial Aid Initiative had reached its overall goal. The initiative was launched three years ago to raise at least $300 million in new endowment for financial aid.

The uncertainty in the economy "makes it more important than ever" that Duke preserve its commitment to need-blind admissions, Brodhead said at a celebration on the West Campus Plaza. "Thanks to the success of the initiative, we have ensured that a Duke education will remain affordable and accessible to all students and families."

This past December the university introduced a series of enhancements to its need-based undergraduate financial-aid program that took effect in the 2008-09 academic year. These enhancements included eliminating loans for families with incomes less than $40,000; eliminating the parental contribution for families with incomes less than $60,000; reducing loans for students from families with incomes up to $100,000; and capping loans for eligible families with incomes above $100,000.

Duke's current budget includes $86 million to support Duke's undergraduate financial-aid program and fund these enhancements—a 19 percent increase from the 2007-08 financial-aid budget. About 45 percent of undergraduates receive financial support to attend Duke; about 40 percent receive need-based aid. For more than a decade, the percentage increase of Duke's financial-aid support has far outpaced the percentage increase of tuition.