Financial Aid Handbook
The Financial Aid Handbook contains a wealth of information about the financial aid process, and should be the first source you consult with any questions about financial aid.
The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to periodically update or change the policies and information contained in the handbook.
Among other topics, the handbook provides information about how to apply for aid, the amount and types of aid students may qualify for, and tuition payments and insurance. If, after reading the handbook, you have any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Financial Aid. Additional information can also be found on the University's Consumer Information webpage.
Federal Aid Programs in Which Institution Participates
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
- Federal Workstudy
- Veteran's Benefits/GI Bill & Yellow Ribbon program
- Institutional Scholarship Funds
- Yellow Ribbon program (Law School match)
Federal Eligibility Requirements
Federal aid is awarded in accordance with the Department of Education guidelines. Federal loans are awarded after any grants or scholarships, and are applied toward any unmet cost of attendance. In order to be eligible for federal Title IV aid, a student must meet the requirements outlined in federal regulations (34 CFR 668.32), including:
- Be enrolled at least half time (based on the Law School Registrar definition) in an eligible program of study.
- Be a U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident or reside in the United States for other than temporary purpose (supportive documentation may be required to verify residency or citizenship).
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress in their course of study.
- Must resolve any Drug Conviction Issues
- Must resolve any issues with NSLDS Financial Aid History
- Must resolve any issues with SSN
- Must resolve any issues with Selective Service
- Must complete federal verification, if required
Federal Title IV aid cannot be disbursed to a student until any issues listed above have been resolved as specified in Volume 1 (Student Eligibility) of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.
Institutional Scholarship Eligibility Requirements
All institutional scholarships are awarded prior to the student’s matriculation – students cannot apply again in subsequent years. Students retain this scholarship in subsequent years unless the recipient fails to comply with the terms of his/her scholarship contract, withdraws from the Law School, is placed on academic probation, fails to write an acknowledgment letter to the donor responsible for his or her scholarship and attend an appreciation event, if requested by the Associate Dean, or visits away at another law school, except for one of Duke Law School's international exchange programs.
Veteran's Benefits/GI Bill & Yellow Ribbon
Eligibility information can be found at:
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon website
- The Duke Registrar’s website on Veterans Benefits
For initial application Procedures please visit our Registrar’s website on Veterans Benefits and review information for “New Benefit Applicants.”
How do I apply?
Financial aid at Duke Law typically comes in two forms - Scholarships and Loans. The timing and process of applying for each are outlined below.
Institutional Scholarships (new students only)
- Upon being selected for admission, applicants can apply for a scholarship by submitting the Duke Law Scholarship Application Form as well as any other required applications.
- Forms, instructions, and requirements are emailed to applicants and are posted on Admitted Student Website.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after it becomes available in October. When doing so, please make sure to include Duke University's school code - 002920.
- In the late spring/early summer, Duke Law will use your FAFSA to construct a financial aid package that includes the federal loans for which you are eligible. At that time, you will be sent an Official Aid Notice via email that includes your award package and instructions for accepting, declining, or modifying your loans in DukeHub.
- If you are borrowing federal loans for the first time since beginning at Duke Law, you will also need to visit www.StudentLoans.gov to complete Entrance Counseling.
- You will also complete a Loan Agreement (MPN) for each loan type (i.e. Direct Unsubsidized and/or Graduate PLUS) if this is your first time borrowing that specific loan.
- In some cases technical issues may prevent us from receiving your FAFSA. Please email our office if:
- you have not received your financial aid package by the time you receive your fall semester bill
- you file a FAFSA after the first day of class
- To apply for a private loan, you must first select a private lender. To help you with your selection process, the Duke Student Loan Office has created a Recommended Private Lender List. You are not required to borrow from any of the lenders on this list. If you choose to borrow from a lender outside the Recommended Lender List, we will be happy to process it for you. Duke University will not discourage, refuse or delay certification.
- Once you've determined the type of loan and amount you'd like to borrow, you must:
- Email that information to our office. We will then add that loan to your financial aid package in DukeHub for you to accept.
- Complete the application process and obtain approval with your private lender.
Please note both these steps must be complete for your loan to be certified by the school.
External Scholarship Opportunities
We strongly recommend that you take advantage of external scholarship opportunities and services. The internet is a valuable tool to use in search of scholarships from organizations outside the Law School, such as non-profit, civic, and faith-based organizations. The Office of Financial Aid also maintains a running list of applicable external scholarship opportunities. Additionally, we recommend that you perform searches through local and state Bar Associations.
Cost of Attendance Budget
The cost of a legal education includes tuition and fees, room and board, books, and personal expenses. Each year, the University develops a standard budget that estimates an individual student’s educational expenses. These budgets govern the total amount of aid (the sum of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study) that are available to a student in any given year. Current Cost of Attendance Budgets are posted here.
Federal law defines the types of expenses that can be included in the Cost of Attendance Budget. These are direct education expenses, such as tuition and fees, and related expenses that make the student’s attendance possible. The federal government requires the university to use reasonable and realistic figures for student expense budgets that are based on average expenses for all enrolled students.
Students come to Duke Law School from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and means. However, the student expense budget allows for a relatively simple student lifestyle. This lifestyle demands a responsible approach to living as a student. This means that, among other things, students who receive any kind of financial aid are expected to find shared housing that does not exceed the amount for rent and utilities that is allocated in the student expense budget.
Please remember that your Cost of Attendance Budget is meant to cover the entire nine months you are enrolled at Duke Law. Refunds from loans are distributed twice yearly; therefore, you must budget accordingly. Some students tend to spend freely when they receive their initial financial aid refund, only to find that they do not have enough money to be financially comfortable by the end of the term.
Living within the Budget
If you will be using financial aid to finance the cost of your attendance at Duke Law School, it is critical that you understand the student expense budget. The budget is set by the University to cover only the student’s education-related expenses including tuition, room and board, books, and transportation. You are able to borrow only up to the total amount of the student expense budget. In most cases, we cannot increase your budget to permit you to borrow more except for as the following items:
- The one-time purchase of a personal computer
- The cost of the Bar examination (examination only, not preparatory courses, etc.)
- Loan fees
There are also special situations, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses and childcare, that may allow for a budget increase as well. Please see the section entitled “Special Situations” for detailed information.
Staying within the student expense budget will keep your debt as low as possible, thus preserving your options for employment and other opportunities after law school. Be sure to understand the various elements of your budget – for instance, if you decide to spend a little more on rent than is allocated, you will need to plan to save in other areas, such as transportation or miscellaneous expenses. A little advance planning will help you meet your financial obligations throughout the academic year.
Loan funds are not available prior to the start of the semester. Matriculating students should come prepared with money to pay for books, security deposit, first month’s rent, and living expenses.
Refunds will be distributed to students beginning the first day of class each term and are issued by direct deposit to your bank account. Please visit the Forms & Requests tab in DukeHub to add or manage your direct deposit information.
Students should track all loan applications with their lender to ensure that the applications were completed, signed and approved. Most lenders allow students to check the status of their loans online. Once the loan has been approved and disbursed, we encourage students to contact the Office of Financial Aid if they have not received a refund check or direct deposit notification within one week following the posting of the loan credit on their student account.
Items Not Covered by the Cost of Attendance Budget
Federal law governs allowable costs that may be included in the Cost of Attendance Budget. The cost of attendance is an estimate of that student’s educational expenses for the period of enrollment. There are many expense items that some students might assume can be included in the student expense budget that are not permitted. Some of the most common items that are not included in the budget are:
- automobile lease or purchase
- automobile repair
- automobile insurance
- financial support of a spouse or partner
- interview and/or professional wardrobes
- excessive rent expense (rent in excess of the amount allocated in the student expense budget)
- consumer credit card debt
Students are advised to pay off all credit card debt before coming to law school. The Law School Office of Financial Aid cannot make allowances for credit card or other consumer debt.
While the cost of the Bar examination itself can be included in the Cost of Attendance Budget, most other expenses associated with the Bar examination may not be included in the Cost of Attendance Budget. However, most lenders offer private Bar Study loans to law students to assist with such things as paying for Bar preparation courses and living expenses associated with taking a bar exam after graduation. Some students also find it possible to cover this cost with summer employment while studying for the bar examination.
In some cases, students may have additional costs that are not accounted for in the Cost of Attendance Budget. Students who would like to increase their budget, and thus their borrowing eligibility, should complete and submit a Budget Increase Request Form.
Financial assistance in the form of increased borrowing eligibility may be available to pay for “out-of-pocket” medical and dental expenses (expenses not covered by medical insurance) incurred during the current academic year. Ineligible expenses include: cosmetic work, elective expenses, work that is desirable but not medically necessary or treatment that can reasonably be postponed until after graduation (for example, elective orthodontic work).
In all cases, documentation of cost and the necessity of treatment is required.
The Office of Financial Aid cannot guarantee that Budget Increase Requests for such expenses will be approved. Whenever possible, students should submit documentation of the expected costs in advance.
All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Students with a Family
Since financial aid is intended to cover only the educational expenses of students, spouses or partners are expected to provide for their own room, board, and personal expenses. Students may not use financial aid to replace and/or supplement a spouse or domestic partner’s wages.
Dependent Child Care Allowance
The budget can be increased for approved childcare expenses, based on amounts that are commesurate with the University's student survey. The Law School Office of Financial Aid must be provided a copy of the completed agreement with the daycare provider. Students receiving child support payments for dependent children will be allowed a pro-rated share of the dependent care allowance.
Official Financial Aid Notice
Financial aid eligibility is determined by using the FAFSA. We begin emailing Official Financial Aid Notices to newly matriculating students soon after our deposit deadline in late spring. Loan eligibility cannot be determined until this electronic transmission has been received by the Office of Financial Aid. Second and third-year students will receive award notices in early summer, provided that their FAFSA has been completed and our office has received the need analysis information. Students who are late in completing their FAFSA may not have their financial aid funding available at the beginning of the semester.
The Official Aid Notice is based on the final Student Expense Budget approved by the Law School and includes the financial aid awarded for the upcoming year. Students then log in to DukeHub to accept, decline, or modify the awards listed on the Official Aid Notice. Students can also use DukeHub to report any awards they will receive from sources outside the Law School (i.e. Americorps, CLEO, community organizations). As per federal regulations, students are required to provide this information to the Office of Financial Aid even if the the award is paid directly to them. If the student has already used all financial aid eligibility outlined under the Student Expense Budget, the award will replace an equal amount of loan funds. These funds will be returned to the lender and subtracted from the student’s outstanding loan debt.
Outside Aid (Aid from Sources other than the Law School)
Students are required to report other sources of aid (such as outside grants or scholarships) to the Office of Financial Aid so that their financial aid package can be adjusted. In most cases, this adjustment first reduces the amount of loans that a student is allowed to borrow then reduces scholarship funding, if necessary. Note to Yellow Ribbon Scholarship Recipients: Yellow Ribbon funding replaces any previously awarded Law School scholarship on a dollar for dollar basis.
Reporting Outside Awards
Each financial aid recipient must notify the Office of Financial Aid of all outside scholarships by completing the outside award information on the financial aid tabs of ACES. The information should include:
- The name of the award
- The amount of the award
- The disbursement schedule for the award (i.e. Is the award a-one time amount, or is it intended to be split between semesters? This is generally specified in the award letter/notification you receive.)
- Who will receive the award (Duke or the student)
Mailing Scholarship Checks
All scholarship checks should be sent directly to:
Duke University Cashiering
Durham, NC 27708
Students can also hand deliver checks to:
Duke University Cashiering
114 South Buchanan Boulevard
Bay 8, Room B-103
Durham, NC 27705
The Office of Financial Aid will also notify you of required documentation via email and through the ACES system. Students should submit the required documentation as soon as possible to avoid delays in processing aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
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 (SAP) toward a degree. To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students must achieve a required cumulative minimum grade point average (GPA), complete a minimum number of credit hours, and graduate within a specified timeframe. See Duke Law's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
There are three types of loan programs: Federal Direct Unsubsidized, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS, and private educational loan programs. The maximum amount you may borrow from each loan program is indicated on your Official Aid Notice. Please note this is the maximum amount a student may borrow, not necessarily the amount a student actually needs. Many students live well beneath the maximum amount the school allows. As debt levels increase, we encourage students to think hard about the choices they make with regard to housing, food consumption, and other personal expenses. We encourage you to consider whether you can develop a personal budget that is less than the University’s published student budget. Ultimately, however, it is up to you whether you wish to borrow the full amount of your eligibility.
Federal regulations require that students who borrow Federal Loans complete entrance and exit loan counseling. This counseling informs students of their rights and responsibilities with regard to borrowing under various loan programs. Even if you have received federal loans prior to matriculating at Duke Law School, you must still complete the entrance loan counseling session again. Please note that your federal loan applications will not be processed until you have completed entrance counseling.
Graduating Duke Law students must complete the exit loan counseling session online. Upon request, the Office of Financial Aid provides individual counseling on topics including loan repayment, debt management, and deferments or forbearances.
There is a fairly clear hierarchy that students should follow when considering the loan programs outlined below. If students need to finance their education and wish to use federal loans, they should first turn to the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan program. Once the student has borrowed the maximum amount allowed through that loan programs, the student can borrow up to their full cost of attendance using a Graduate PLUS loan. If students are ineligible for federal loans or would prefer a different option, private education loans are also available. This is an important choice for a number of reasons, and thus will be addressed in detail later in this handbook.
Below is a chart that students may find helpful in gaining a general understanding of these loans. The information is based on Direct Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020. Students should always confirm current loan interest rates on the Federal Student Aid website.
|Direct Unsubsidized Loan||Direct Graduate PLUS Loan||Private Educational Loan|
|Interest Rates||4.30% fixed rate||5.30% fixed rate||Credit based|
|Eligibility||No income restrictions||No income restrictions||No income restrictions|
|Annual Loan Limits||$20,500||Cost of attendance less any financial aid awarded||Cost of attendance less any financial aid awarded|
|In-School Interest||Borrower Responsibility*||Borrower Responsibility*||Borrower Responsibility*|
|Grace Period||Six-month grace period, during which interest will accrue||
No grace period - Graduate/ professional student may defer payments while enrolled & request 6 month forbearance after graduation, during which interest continues to accrue.
|Varies by lender and program|
|Repayment Terms||Repayment begins after grace period
$50 minimum monthly repayment
Up to 10 years to repay, depending on amount owed
|1st payment due within 60 days after loan is fully disbursed
$50 minimum monthly repayment
10-25 year maximum repayment term (based on total loan balance)
|Varies by Lender|
|*Borrower has option of making interest payments while in school or waiting until repayment begins. Interest not paid during school enrollment will be capitalized one time at the end of grace period.|
While the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is federally guaranteed, payment of accruing interest (while the student is enrolled, and during the grace period) is not subsidized.
- Eligibility: Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have filed a FAFSA.
- Amount: Students can borrow up to $20,500.00 per academic year.
- Cost: For current borrowers, the interest rate is fixed at 4.30%. Borrowers are charged a 1.059% origination fee on Direct Unsubsidized Loans. This fee is deducted from each disbursement of the loan. The borrower is responsible for accrued interest during the in-school deferment and the six-month grace period. Payments need not be made while the student is in school; and capitalization of interest is available.
- Repayment: The standard repayment term is 10 years, and additional repayment options can extend the repayment period to 25 years.
- How to apply: All students will automatically be sent information on how to apply for Direct Unsubsidized Loans with their Duke Law School Official Financial Aid Notice..
Graduate and professional degree students are now eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to their cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance. The Graduate PLUS loan requires a credit check to ascertain that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history and carries a fixed interest rate of 5.30%. Applicants for this loan are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). They also must have applied for their annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Stafford Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan.
- Amount: Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance per academic year, less any amount borrowed through the other Federal Loan programs and any scholarships awarded.
- Cost: For current borrowers, the interest rate is fixed at 5.30%. Borrowers are charged a 4.236% origination fee on Graduate PLUS Loans. This fee is deducted from each disbursement of the loan. The borrower is also responsible for accrued interest during the in-school deferment period. Payments need not be made while the student is in school; capitalization of interest is available, though it may be wise to make interest-only payments if possible.
- Repayment: Graduate PLUS loans go immediately into repayment upon graduation, however your loan servicer should apply an automatic 6-month forbearance. The standard repayment term is 10 years, and additional repayment options can extend the repayment period to 25 years..
- How to apply: All students will automatically be sent information on how to apply for Graduate PLUS Loans with their Duke Law School Official Financial Aid Notice.
The Duke Student Loan Office has created a Recommended Lender List to help students compare private loan options. You are not required to borrow from any of the lenders on this list. If you choose to borrow from a lender outside the Recommended Lender List, The Student Loan Office will be happy to process it for you. Duke University will not discourage, refuse or delay certification.
As a general rule, students should only consider obtaining a private educational loan if they have maxed out the Federal Loans. The fees charged by some lenders can significantly increase the cost of the loan. A loan with a relatively low interest rate but high fees can ultimately cost more than a loan with a somewhat higher interest rate and no fees. (The lenders that do not charge fees often roll the difference into the interest rate.) A good rule of thumb is that 3% to 4% in fees is about the same as a 1% higher interest rate.
Be wary of comparing loans with different repayment terms according to Annual Percentage Rate (APR), as a longer loan term reduces the APR despite increasing the total amount of interest paid. It is not uncommon for lenders to advertise a lower rate for the in-school and grace period, with a higher rate in effect when the loan enters repayment.
Private educational loans are credit-based loans so it is important to maintain your credit rating up to and throughout your Law School career. If you are late in paying any of your bills (e.g., credit cards, rent, phone bill, or medical bill) you may be disqualified from receiving private educational loans. The Law School does not have the resources to lend money to students with poor credit histories who are unable to borrow private educational loans. The Office of Financial Aid strongly recommends that you review your credit status. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. They provide free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com. For a fee, you may also request a credit report from each individual agency (websites below.)
Credit reporting agencies to contact:
General information website about credit, and credit scores: www.myfico.com
Private Educational Loan vs. Graduate PLUS Loan
Stafford loans are offered at very attractive interest rates and terms which private educational loans often cannot match. But because of their relatively low loan limits, most students need more assistance. Here, students have two primary choices for remaining funding: a private educational loan or a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan.
Both the Graduate PLUS Loan and a private educational loan have their relative benefits and drawbacks. The decision on which loan program to utilize may come down to your individual preference and comfort level with the interest rate environment. This is the same question home owners need to consider when they are looking at a fixed versus variable rate mortgage. It may help to look at historical information that can give you an idea of what interest rates have done in the past. Most lenders offer private loan interest rates based on either the most current 3 month LIBOR rate plus an index or the Prime Lending Rate. However, past performance is not a guarantee for how future interest rates will move in the future.
If you would rather sleep well at night knowing you have a fixed interest rate loan that will not go up, then a fixed rate Federal Graduate PLUS loan may be what you choose. If you feel that a variable rate will run consistent with a lower rate trend, then a variable rate private educational loan may be best for you. The interest rate is one component to consider. You should also consider other attributes of the loans.
|Federal Graduate PLUS||Private Educational|
|Borrower||Loan is made to you (the graduate/professional student), an endorser may be required.||Loan is made to you; however, a creditworthy co-borrower may be required.|
|Credit Requirements||Credit approval based on federal standards, not credit score. Endorser option if you do not meet credit requirements||Credit approval based on credit score and history|
|Loan Limits||Cost of education minus aid||Cost of education minus aid|
|Interest Rate||Federal Grad PLUS interest rate is fixed at 5.30%||Variable interest rate based on LIBOR, up to a maximum of 18% (the rate may change quarterly). May be based on your credit and/or co-borrower|
|Federal Consolidation||Eligible for Federal Consolidation programs||Not Eligible Federal Consolidation programs|
|Deferment/Forbearance Options||Federal deferment and forbearance options exist||Forbearance may be available; is generally less flexible than Federal loan deferments|
|Repayment Options||Up to 25 years, standard principal and interest, interest only, graduated and extended repayment options||Up to 20 years, options for interest only during early years of repayment|
|Death/Disability||Grad PLUS loans can be discharged upon death of borrower. Loan can also be discharged if a borrower becomes totally and permanently disabled||Most private educational loans are NOT insured against death or disability|
|Loan Forgiveness||Grad PLUS loans are eligible for forgiveness under the provisions set forth in The College Cost Reduction And Access Act (H.R. 2669)||Private educational loans cannot be forgiven under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act|
You may prefer the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan:
- You like the certainty that a fixed-rate loan provides.
- Your credit is good, fair, or poor, your cost may be lower with Federal Graduate PLUS.
- You like the protection of greater deferment and forbearance options.
- You may work in the public interest sector and will qualify for Federal Loan forgiveness through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA)
You may prefer a private educational loan:
- You are comfortable with the possibility of interest rates increasing beyond the interest rate cap of the Federal Graduate PLUS loan.
- You have top-tier credit. Borrowers with great credit scores may be charged less interest now, but if interest rates continue to climb, it could cost you more.
- You believe that there is very little possibility that you may use the deferment or forbearance options.
- You plan to borrow the loan only for a short time.
- You do not plan to work in public interest sector.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 provides a loan forgiveness program for public service employees. The federal loan forgiveness provisions require borrowers to have borrowed Direct Loans or to have consolidated their federal loans through the Federal Direct Consolidation Program. Please note that only federal loans are eligible for the forgiveness program. As such, we advise that borrowers carefully consider the available educational loan programs (private educational versus federal Graduate PLUS) to ensure that their individual loan borrowing fits into their long-term financial planning. While borrowing through private educational loan programs may provide better loan terms, it will prevent you from taking full advantage of the Federal Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees program. While we encourage loan borrowers to refer to the detail of the actual legislation in determining all relevant issues, the Office of Financial Aid is available to address individual concerns.
After completing their studies, students who borrow federal student loans, may be eligible to consolidate these federal loans. Consolidation involves having one lender purchase any outstanding federal loans from all other lenders and make a single new loan. The consolidated loan carries a fixed interest rate for a loan period ranging from ten to thirty years, and assuming credit worthiness, can be obtained at any time in which the borrower is in the grace period or in current repayment on federal loans.
No extra fee is charged for consolidation. The interest rate of the consolidated loan is fixed at the weighted average of the component loans. Most lenders who offer federal loans also offer consolidation loans. Consolidation loans are designed to help individuals who have a high monthly student loan payment. Please note that you can consolidate all or some of your outstanding education loans even if you have more than one lender. The Federal Consolidation Loan creates a single, new loan with one monthly payment. The relative benefits or disadvantages of consolidation change with larger market trends, thus students who are unsure about the consolidation process are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance.
You can locate your prior and current federal loan history by visiting the National Student Loan Data Systems (NSLDS) at: https://nslds.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. To access your records at this site, you will need to use or create your FSA ID.
Students preparing for graduation should also prepare to begin repayment on their loans. The first step is to review the student copies of the loan applications and promissory notes to ascertain the beginning payment dates and amounts. Some loans do not have any grace periods, and repayment begins immediately after graduation. Most loans, however, have grace periods during which payments are not needed.
The student is responsible for notifying lenders of their current address. Failure to do so may result in a great deal of confusion for both the student and the lender. This could lead to default and legal action. The burden is on the borrower to notify the lender of a change in address.
The summer following graduation is often spent studying for the bar exam and not working. If repayment is due, students should notify their lenders and request forbearance until they begin receiving salaries. Lenders will often allow up to six months of forbearance or interest-only payments. Most lenders are interested in receiving their money and are willing to work out different payment schedules with borrowers, but can only do so if they know the borrower’s circumstances. As always, the Office of Financial Aid is available to provide guidance to its students and alumni.
Educational Lending Code of Conduct
The University's Educational Lending Code of Conduct can be found here.
Full tuition payment or participation in a university payment plan is necessary to complete registration. Tuition payments are generally due three weeks prior to the start of classes. Students who fail to submit their financial aid documents, or who fail to make payment prior to the tuition due date, will incur irreversible late payment penalty fees. You can read more about the Bursar’s office policies by visiting the Bursar Website. Students are responsible for paying any student Bursar account balance that has not been covered by financial aid funds. Payments must be submitted to the Bursar’s Office by its established deadline to avoid late payment penalty fees or possible course registration blocks.
Financial Aid Disbursements
1. the type(s) of aid awarded, and
2. whether certain requirements for receiving the aid have been completed
Financial Aid Type:
- Duke Law Institutional Scholarship - Institutional scholarship funds are disbursed directly to your student account. Unless otherwise specified, total scholarship awards are divided evenly over the terms of full-time enrollment at the Law School. Disbursements for each academic year are made during the fall/spring terms
- Federal Direct Loans - Federal loan funds are applied directly to the student's account once all requirements have been met and the loan funds have been received by the school.
- Private Loans - Private loan funds are applied directly to the student's account once all requirements have been met and the loan funds have been received by the school.
- Canadian Loans - loan funds are sent via manual check to the Office of Financial Aid. Loan checks are then sent to Duke's Cashier's office for deposit to student's account.
- External/Outside Scholarship Awards - Checks are typically made payable to Duke University School of Law and the student. Upon receipt of scholarship check, the Office of Financial Aid makes sure that the aid is included in the student's financial aid package. Any adjustments to the student's aid package are made and student is notified.
- Veteran Benefits/Yellow Ribbon Program Funds - Contact the Office of the University Registrar to apply for, and continue to receive, veterans educational benefits while enrolled at Duke Law. Information about requirements and disbursement can be found on the Registrar's Veteran's Benefits website.
The following requirements must be completed before financial aid can be disbursed to student accounts: dsf Disbursement of aid begins no earlier than 10 days prior to the beginning of classes, per term.
- Duke Law Institutional Scholarship - signed scholarship offer letter and signed scholarship contracts must be submitted/maintained in student's financial aid file.
- Federal Direct Loans
- You must accept your loan in DukeHub.
- If you are borrowing federal loans for the first time since beginning at Duke Law, you will also need to visit www.StudentLoans.gov to complete Entrance Counseling. You will also complete a Loan Agreement (MPN) for each loan type (i.e. Direct Unsubsidized and/or Graduate PLUS) if this is your first time borrowing that specific loan.
- You must meet all eligibility requirements outlined in the "Eligibility" section of this handbook
- Private Loans
- You must complete the application process and obtain approval with your private lender.
- You must accept your loan in DukeHub.
- External/Outside Scholarship Awards - The funds must have been received by Duke and added to your financial aid package.
- Veteran Benefits/Yellow Ribbon Program Funds - These requirements are listed on the Registrar's Veteran's Benefits website
Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Aid
If a student who has received Title IV aid withdraws after classes have begun, the Office of Financial Aid is required to complete a Title IV refund calculation. This calculation is completed using the federally defined formula and is described here.
Duke has arranged with A.W.G. Dewar Inc. to offer the Tuition Refund Plan to our students to minimize the financial portion of losses incurred when a student suffers a serious illness or accident and has to leave Duke before the semester is completed. This insurance program extends and enhances the University's published refund policy. In cases of withdrawal due to an accident, illness or mental health conditions as defined in the coverage, the plan assures up to a 75% refund throughout the term. This can be especially beneficial when a student is forced to withdraw and then return for a later term.
We are providing the Dewar Tuition Refund Plan as an option for students. Those who wish to enroll must submit their application form before the first day of class. Applications cannot be accepted after the 1st day of classes.
You can find more information and/or enroll at the Dewar website. (Please contact Dewar directly if you have any questions regarding the Tuition Refund Plan. Their contact information is listed on the linked website.)
Refunds & Direct Deposit
Duke Law scholarships and all loan disbursements are divided in half, with half being credited to each semester of tuition and fees. If the semester credit for scholarship and loans exceeds tuition and fees, students will receive a refund from the Bursar. Please note that the fall semester bill may include higher charges than the spring. (For instance, the full charge for the Duke hospital insurance plan is billed in the fall.) This may result in a refund that is smaller in the fall than in the spring semester. You can find additional information regarding student refunds at the Bursar’s website.
Refunds will be distributed to students beginning the first day of class each term and are issued by direct deposit to your bank account. Please visit the Forms & Requests tab in DukeHub to add or manage your direct deposit information.