Graduate Student Financial Aid FAQs

Select each heading below and go directly to the information:

Applying for Financial Aid

I have completed my FAFSA. Is there anything else I need to complete?

All new students must complete the DUSON Graduate Financial Aid application survey. This application survey must only be completed once, prior to beginning the program. Returning students do NOT need to complete the DUSON Graduate Financial aid application survey again.

My tax return does not reflect my current income. How should I report this?
If you have had an involuntary change in your or your spouse’s/parents’ financial circumstances, such as loss of employment, please send the appropriate documentation to us at and we can review to determine if we are able to make a professional judgment. Please note that leaving your job to participate in a nursing program is not an extenuating circumstance that we can consider.

I have other extenuating circumstances that I wasn't able to indicate on the FAFSA or the DUSON Financial Aid application. How can I report this?
If you have high non-discretionary expenses, such as medical or daycare, please provide us with dollar-specific documentation of these expenses. Note that routine medical expenses are already factored in to the Cost of Attendance budget, so we are only able to consider expenses in excess of that allowance. We are NOT able to make adjustments for consumer or routine household expenses, such as credit card debt, car payments, rent/mortgage payments, etc.

Can I use financial aid to cover the admissions deposit?
No, federal student aid cannot be used to pay the admissions deposit.

Will I receive my financial aid notification before submitting the admissions deposit?
Yes, you will be emailed the financial aid notification approximately two weeks after admission to the program and prior to the admissions deposit deadline.

Financial Aid Awards

My aid award only includes part of my program. What about aid during my final semesters?
Financial aid eligibility is reviewed each academic year (fall, spring, summer). Therefore, you will need to complete a new FAFSA each academic year you are enrolled and need to take out federal loans. The 2019-20 FAFSA is available October 2018-June 2020.

Will I need to fill out the FAFSA each year?
Yes, you will need to complete the FAFSA for each academic year in which you plan on applying for federal student aid. The FAFSA for the upcoming academic year is available after October 1.

How do I accept my financial aid?
Once you have accepted the offer of admission and paid your deposit, you will receive a NetID and password from Duke’s Office of Information Technology (OIT). This will allow you to log in to your DukeHub account. Within the financial aid section of the DukeHub you can view, accept, reduce, or decline your financial aid award.

Can I accept only a portion of my loans?
We send a Financial Aid Guide to all matriculated students who have received a financial aid notification. This is emailed to you and viewable in the DukeHub under the Financial Aid ->Student FA Letters/Messages. The guide includes information regarding how to customize your loans. Please complete the necessary steps to customize your loans BEFORE accepting the loans.

I am receiving an outside scholarship. Do I need to report this?
Yes, outside scholarships must be reported to DUSON’s Office of Financial Aid if you are receiving federal loans. We are required by federal policy to account for all scholarships a student receives. Report outside scholarships by email to

I am eligible for Veterans benefits. How do I activate this benefit at DUSON?
You will need to request your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA and submit this to Duke’s VA Certifying Official in the Duke University Registrar’s office to begin this process. More information regarding Veterans benefits at Duke is available on the University Registrar’s website under the Veterans heading.

Federal Student Loans

What are the minimum number of credit hours each semester to be eligible for federal loans?
To receive federal student loans (Direct Federal unsubsidized loan, Direct Federal Grad PLUS, Nurse Faculty Loan), a graduate student must be enrolled at least three credit hours each semester during the fall/spring semesters and two credit hours during the summer semester. A post-Bachelor’s certificate student must be enrolled in at least six credit hours each semester to receive federal student 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..

What are the requirements to be eligible for federal loans?

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen

  • Have a valid Social Security number

  • Be registered with Selective Service, if you're male (you must register between the ages of 18 and 25)

  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible degree program

  • Be enrolled at least half time in an eligible degree program

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress

  • Not currently be in default on previous student loans borrowed through FSA

  • Not have exceeded the maximum aggregate loan limit

How much am I eligible to receive in Direct Unsubsidized Loan?
Most graduate-level students are potentially eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year in the Direct Unsubsidized Loan. For more information about annual loan limits, visit:

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
The criteria listed above applies to the Graduate Plus loan as well but this loan is based on credit history. To be eligible for this loan you cannot have adverse items on your credit history.

How do I apply for a direct Graduate or Parent PLUS loan?
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Graduate students apply for the loan by accepting it in the financial aid section of their DukeHub account. A credit check is initiated when the student accepts the loan through DukeHub. Credit checks and loan approval are only valid for 180 days. Please do not apply for the Plus loan more than 180 days before the start of the academic term. If you do so, you may have to repeat the process closer to the start of the academic term.

What if I'm not approved for the direct Graduate PLUS loan?
For more specific details regarding the Plus loan and the application process, visit the Department of Education’s website.

What are the current interest rates on the direct unsubsidized and graduate PLUS federal loans?
The interest rates and origination fees change from year to year. Visit the Department of Education’s website to view the current year’s interest rates:

What if I am currently in default or have defaulted on a prior federal student loan?
Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) or contact your lender for details on how to clear the default. Students in default are not eligible for additional federal loans until the default is cleared.

What is the aggregate loan limit?
The aggregate loan limit  is the total amount that you may borrow for your undergraduate and graduate study. In addition to borrowing limitations based on the cost of attendance for the program, students are also limited in terms of lifetime borrowing. The aggregate loan limit for all federal loans, including undergraduate and graduate study, is $138,500. Visit the Dept. of Education website for more information:

How do I find out if I am near my aggregate loan limit?
Visit the National Student Loan Data System site to view your federal student loan borrowing history. Please note that private education loans are not listed on this site.

When will my student loan disburse?
Student loans disburse 10 days prior to the start of classes each semester. For loans processed during the academic year, please allow at least 10 business days for disbursement provided all required steps have been completed.

I am an international student. What financial aid is available to me?
International students are not eligible for federal loans or Duke School of Nursing scholarships. International students may be eligible to apply for private student loans with a U.S. cosigner.  For more information regarding private student loans, visit:

I am in a specialty certificate or non-degree program. What financial aid is available to me?
Specialty certificate and non-degree students are not eligible for federal loans or School of Nursing scholarships. Payment options are available at:

Disbursements and Student Bursar Account

When will my financial aid disburse?
Student loans and DUSON need-based scholarships will disburse no earlier than 10 days prior to the first day of classes. All other awards, including RNTAP, military and veteran’s benefits and North Carolina FELS, will disburse approximately twi weeks after drop/add ends.

Why aren't my loans showing up as anticipated aid in the Bursar section of the DukeHub or on my Bursar bill?
Only accepted loans appear as anticipated aid toward the Bursar bill. In the DukeHub, under Financial Aid, check to make sure you are viewing the correct financial aid year (i.e. 2020 for fall 2019, spring 2020, summer 2020 financial aid). Then choose Accept/Decline awards under Student FA Awards. Loans must be accepted by the Bursar bill due date to avoid late fees.

When will I receive my refund check?
The Bursar’s Office receives the funds and begins reviewing account balances prior to the start of classes and begins processing refund checks by the first day of classes. For the quickest delivery of your refund, consider setting up direct deposit through the "Forms" section in the DukeHub. Your refund will be deposited directly into your bank account instead of a paper check being mailed. You can view your account information through DukeHub to see if you have a credit balance and when a refund was issued.

Does Duke offer a monthly payment plan?
Yes, the Bursar’s Office (Duke’s central billing office for all schools) offers a monthly payment plan option. For more information and instructions, visit:

When are payments due each semester?
The Bursar’s Office (Duke’s central billing office for all the schools) posts billing and payment schedules on their website:

How do I access my 1098-T for tax reporting?
Please go to the Bursar website to view this information.

What is the cost of the graduate programs?
Tuition and fees are posted on the Admissions website. For more information, visit: Tuition and fees change each year.

Outside Scholarships

How do I find outside scholarships?
We post outside scholarships we find out about on our website. For more information, visit: We have listed outside organizations and scholarship searches on our website

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