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Funding your Education with Financial Aid

phone: 919-684-6225 | fax: 919-660-9811 | email:|

Financial assistance comes in a variety of forms including grants, scholarships, loans, work study, and outside aid. The section below outlines the most common financial aid topics and offers helpful hints next to relevant sections. For specific questions or concerns regarding your financial aid, please visit our website or contact us by emailing or calling (919) 684-6225.

Most questions can be answered by the FAQs below.

Learn more about Funding your Education with Financial Aid at the Campus Resources webinar on May 25, 2023.

You have to apply for financial aid every year. If you intend to apply for aid and have not already done so, visit our website for instructions. Go to for more information. 

Each year, your financial aid offer is determined using your exact housing charges. Should your housing charges change, your aid will be adjusted to reflect your actual housing charges. Thus, if you receive need-based financial aid, there is no financial benefit to changing your housing to a less expensive option. Feel free to choose the housing option that best suits your needs. 

First-year students are enrolled in the first-year dining plan, and the cost of this plan is included in the creation of your financial aid. 

Your aid offer will list the specific types of aid you are eligible to receive, and you can also review your financial aid at

If you did not receive an aid offer, something is missing from your financial aid application. Check your financial aid To-Do List on DukeHub, where financial aid application tasks with necessary links will be listed. Once your To-Do List is complete, you’re all set! 

Work study is a program that helps you get a part-time job, primarily on Duke’s campus. When you find a work-study job, financial aid pays a portion of your wages. Unlike grants and loans, your work-study is not applied to your student account or bill. Your work-study earnings are paid directly to you in the form of a paycheck and can help cover expenses that don’t appear on your Duke bill, like books, travel, and personal expenses. You can earn up to the amount you have been awarded over the course of the academic year, and if you need more after earning the initial allocation, feel free to contact us to see if you are eligible for extra funds. 

The vast majority of students are eligible to work on campus. If you’re interested in work-study and don’t already have a financial aid offer, simply let our office know that you are interested and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Financial Aid Office will automatically receive your FAFSA and provide you with work-study. Check out our website for more information about finding a work-study position. 

Outside scholarships benefit students through reducing or eliminating the loan and work study in the initial financial aid offer. Outside scholarships do not reduce the expected family contribution. If the outside scholarship exceeds the loan and work-study funds offered, the Duke grant is reduced by the remaining balance. For more information on outside scholarships, please visit our website

Books are not billed to your student account nor does Duke issue stipends for books. Students are responsible for acquiring the books needed each semester, and there are several options available. For instance, you can rent your books, buy used books, or check out the Library’s Top Textbooks Program. You can also use part of your parent contribution, finance with a loan, or pay with a refund if your financial aid is more than your bill. 

You do not have to purchase your books from Duke; however, if you do buy from Duke, you have the option of using your FLEX account. You have to put money on your FLEX account to use it. You can do this directly (with cash or a debit card), or you can add funds to your FLEX account by charging your Duke student account. Charging (Flexing) purchases to your Duke student account adds that charge to your bill. All outstanding charges on your bill need to be paid to avoid holds on your registration for future classes. 

If your financial aid grants and loans are more than your charges, you may receive a refund of the difference to pay for things such as books, travel, and personal expenses. Refunds are issued beginning on the first day of class and are made by direct deposit to your bank account (to any U.S. financial institution where you have a checking account). Please complete the direct deposit authorization, available on the “Forms and Requests” tab of DukeHub, to ensure your refund reaches you. 

Details on how to navigate life on campus, financial planning, and free or subsidized opportunities for anyone concerned about financial expenses or budgeting during your time at Duke can be found in this resource compiled by students, a Guide to Being Not-Rich at Duke. This guide was put together by members of the low-income, first-generation community for anyone who may feel marginalized on campus — particularly students who are economically disadvantaged. In the Guide, students lay out the financial and social issues they find most challenging and their solutions, both immediate and long-term.