Financial Aid Policies and Procedures

Federal Student Loan Enrollment Requirement

To receive federal student loans (Direct Unsubsidized, Direct Grad PLUS, Nurse Faculty Loan), a graduate student must be enrolled for at least 3 credit hours each semester during the fall/spring semesters and 2 credit hours during the summer semester. ABSN and post-bachelor’s certificate students must be enrolled in at least 6.0 credit hours per semester to receive federal loans. Federal policy does not allow disbursement of a loan during a semester in which a student is enrolled for fewer than the required credit hours.

Withdrawal/Leave of Absence

If a student files for a leave of absence before the first day of classes, charges and financial aid will be canceled for the semester. Financial aid resources must be returned to their sources; e.g., Stafford loans will be returned to the lender, scholarships to the school, etc. If a student takes a leave of absence after the first day of classes, a calculation must be completed to determine whether the student is entitled to a refund. Check the School of Nursing Bulletin for current refund policies, which are consistent with those recommended by the federal government.

The Duke University School of Nursing Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing more than 60% of a payment period or term. The withdrawal date will be used to calculate the amount of aid the student has earned, and therefore how much aid may be kept.

For example, if the student has completed 35% of the term, the student may keep 35% of the federal aid accepted for that semester. The remaining portion of the federal aid will be cancelled, with the funds returned to the Department of Education.

Tuition charges will be prorated based on the date of withdrawal as follows:

Date of Withdrawal Percentage of Tuition Charged

Before classes


Weeks 1-2


Weeks 3-5


Week 6


After Week 6


Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations governing the student financial assistance programs stipulate that in order to continue to be eligible for Title IV funds (e.g. Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, Federal Perkins Loan) students must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students must achieve a required minimum grade point average (GPA), complete a minimum number of credit hours, and graduate within a specified timeframe.

Guidelines by Academic Program
Program Qualitative (GPA) Quantitative (Pace) Maximum Timeframe



Completing two-thirds (67%) of cumulative attempted coursework

87 DUSON credits

MSN and Post-Graduate Certificate


Completing two-thirds (67%) of cumulative attempted coursework

5 years



Completing two-thirds (67%) of cumulative attempted coursework

5 years (7 years post-Bachelor's)


Duke University School of Nursing monitors satisfactory academic progress (SAP) at the end of each semester. Failure to meet all three SAP requirements will result in financial aid warning status. Students will be notified of this status by email, and must meet all SAP requirements by the end of the next semester to maintain Title IV federal funding eligibility.


Students who lose Title IV federal funding will be notified by email and may appeal this decision. A completed appeal form is required and must include the following information:

  • Mitigating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the requirements of academic progress (i.e. death in the family, student illness or injury, other personal circumstances). Mitigating circumstances do not include: withdrawing from classes to avoid failing grades, pursuing a second major or degree, etc.

  • Documentation that supports the student’s basis for the appeal

  • Steps the student has taken/will take to ensure future academic success. This plan should outline the student’s academic goals for each period (e.g. number of credit hours and/or cumulative GPA) that will enable the student to meet the requirements of academic progress at a specified future point in time.

  • Anticipated graduation date

Appeals will only be considered if all of the above is provided.

Regaining Federal Financial Aid Eligibility

Students denied financial aid after completing the appeal process or failing to meet their Academic Plan can regain full eligibility for financial aid by:

  • Successfully completing coursework that will meet or exceed the minimum required for their total attempted hours

  • Raise their coursework attempted to the 67% level as required by their program

  • Students who have reached their maximum time frame are not able to regain eligibility

Students who are ineligible to receive financial aid may use one or more of the following payment options while attempting to regain eligibility: student’s own resources, Duke Tuition Management Payment Plan, and/or Alternative/Private Educational Loans.

Students who have taken the necessary measures to regain eligibility for financial aid must contact the Financial Aid office immediately upon doing so and apply for Reinstatement of Eligibility. The student’s academic performance will then be reviewed, and if all required SAP criteria are met, full financial aid eligibility will be reinstated, effective the following semester.

For more information, please review the DUSON Financial Aid Policy and Procedures Manual (PDF).

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