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Duke University Approves Tuition Increase

Posted March 3, 2003

— The Duke University Board of Trustees on Friday approved a 5 percent increase in tuition, fees, room and board for undergraduate students entering the university this fall.

Tuition and mandatory fees for entering students enrolled in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering will be $29,345 for 2003-04, up 5.4 percent from $27,844 for the current year. Eighty-five percent of Duke undergraduates are enrolled in Trinity College; 15 percent matriculate in the engineering school.

The total cost to attend Duke this coming school year, including room and board, will be $37,555, an increase of 5 percent.

"We have worked hard to limit the increase in tuition and fees for students and their families, and we feel it falls toward the middle of the range of our peer institutions," said Provost Peter Lange, the university's senior academic officer. "Through our continuing commitment to full financial aid, we are seeking to assure that these increases do not adversely affect the ability of those in need of financial assistance to attend Duke. The increases will help assure that we can sustain our forward momentum in attracting stronger faculty and students, despite our relatively smaller endowment as compared to many of the schools with which we compete."

The trustees in December reaffirmed Duke's commitment to its need-blind admissions policy and meeting the full demonstrated financial needs of students who enroll. Under the policy, Duke admits students based on an assessment of their academic performance and their potential and ability to contribute to the undergraduate experience -- and without consideration of the financial status or ability of an applicant's family to pay for a college education. The university then commits to provide 100 percent of a student's demonstrated financial aid for all four years of the student's undergraduate education.

About 43 percent of Duke undergraduates receive financial assistance from the university. The annual average grant to a financial aid recipient for the 2002-03 academic year was more than $19,500.

After many years of planning, Duke and 28 other colleges and universities nationwide -- including Amherst College, Cornell University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Wake Forest University and Yale University -- will implement a new approach this fall to determine students' financial needs and provide financial aid.

"This new methodology, called the Consensus Approach to Need Analysis, is designed to make higher education more accessible. Our goal is to reduce confusion among applicant families while, on average, reducing parent contributions," Lange said. "At Duke, we believe that this new approach offers additional financial support to families with need, while underlining the university's commitment to accessibility."

The university expended nearly $37 million for financial aid in 2002-03, an increase of 8.3 percent from the prior year, and that figure is expected to rise above $40 million in 2003-04. Duke also began last year providing financial aid to international students who qualified for need-based aid.

"These increased allocations to financial aid come at a time when we are tightening our administrative and faculty budgets," Lange said. "Meanwhile, we are committed to shifting the necessary resources to continue funding the priorities identified in the university's strategic academic plan, 'Building on Excellence.'"

Despite these fiscal challenges, the university will not increase the amount that financial aid recipients are expected to provide through summer earnings, work-study programs or low-interest loans. This is the third consecutive year that Duke has held constant the "self-help" portion of the undergraduate financial aid award.

"This commitment will have the effect of increasing the qualifying students' grant aid in relation to the overall cost of attendance," Lange said.

The trustees also approved tuition rates for Duke's graduate and professional schools.

The largest rise is in the Graduate School, which will increase its combined tuition and registration fees by 10.9 percent in its Ph.D. programs, primarily to increase the resources available to fund competitive graduate awards. Most graduate students will see a corresponding increase in their fellowships as tuition levels rise. Master's degree students in the Graduate School, who are generally not fully supported through fellowships, will face a more moderate increase of 2.8 percent.

The tuition rates for 2003-04 for the graduate and professional schools are:

  • Divinity School -- $12,760, up 4.2 percent over the current year
  • Fuqua School of Business -- $33,500 (daytime MBA), up 6.9 percent
  • Graduate School -- $26,610 (Ph.D. programs), up 10.9 percent
  • Law School -- $31,680, up 5.9 percent
  • Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences -- $22,300, up 4.7 percent
  • School of Medicine -- $31,194, up 5 percent
  • School of Nursing -- $24,192, up 4 percent
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