Duke Trustees Review Regional Economic Development; Approve Tuition, Fees and Reaffirm Commitment To Financial Aid

The Duke University Board of Trustees on Saturday concluded a planning retreat and meeting that continued the board’s year-long focus on research, translation and commercialization, this time with a multifaceted look at the regional innovation and discovery ecosystem.

Meeting in various locations around Durham, Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, the board heard from a range of higher education leaders, researchers, entrepreneurs, business executives and policymakers to discuss the ways in which Duke can further engage in regional economic development partnerships.

Highlights of the planning retreat included:

  • A visit to North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus, one of the region’s most successful public-private partnerships and a center for innovation and education;
  • An update on the future of Research Triangle Park (RTP) led by RTP Foundation president Scott Levitan and a tour of some recently opened spaces for entrepreneurs;
  • A report on the state government’s economic development strategy by North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland;
  • A discussion of collaborative activities among area universities featuring Duke President Vincent E. Price, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, North Carolina Central University Chancellor Johnson Akinleye and North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson;
  • An introduction to RTI International, one of the world’s largest independent research organizations, by president and CEO Wayne Holden;
  • A visit to United Therapeutics, one of the fast-growing biotech companies in RTP;
  • A briefing on the life sciences sector at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; and
  • A panel discussion on regional industry collaboration with area universities featuring senior executives from Apple Tree Partners & Limelight Bio, Humacyte, Epic Games, AskBio and IBM/Red Hat.

In its business meeting, the board approved a 3.7 percent increase in the total cost of attendance for undergraduates during the 2020-21 academic year and reaffirmed the university’s longstanding commitment to student financial aid, which this year will add up to more than $175 million in institutional funds.

Duke undergraduate tuition in 2020-21 will be $58,085, a 3.9 percent increase, and the total cost for the next academic year, including tuition, room, board and fees, will be $76,270.

Duke is and will continue to be among a small number of colleges and universities with a longstanding commitment to a need-blind admissions policy, under which the university accepts U.S. students without regard to their ability to pay for college and then fully meets their demonstrated financial need, which also includes support for study abroad, summer programs and other components of the undergraduate experience. 

More than half of all Duke students from a wide range of family incomes received some form of financial assistance from the university this year, including need-based aid and other forms of grants and scholarships. 

While financial assistance varies based on family income and other circumstances, the average total financial aid package for first-year students who entered in 2019 and qualified for assistance was $56,472. Approximately 23 percent of the students in the entering class of 2019 received financial aid grants that covered their full cost of tuition.

Duke’s investment in financial aid is expected to grow at a rate greater than the rise in tuition for the coming year, although estimates for financial aid costs in the 2020-21 academic year will not be known until later in 2020, when financial aid packages for new and returning students are calculated.  Over the past 10 years, the Duke has invested more than $1.3 billion in financial assistance for undergraduate students from all income levels.

Tuition and fees pay for only part of the cost of a Duke education. Other significant sources of support for students and financial aid include income generated by the university’s endowment and private philanthropy from individuals and foundations. 

The Board of Trustees also approved new tuition rates for Duke’s graduate and professional schools, which include a number of full-time, part-time and online programs.  Further information on those rates can be found on the respective school websites.