Need-Based Financial Aid Application - Entering Students


In evaluating applicants for admission, Duke maintains a strict policy of selecting candidates without regard to their ability to pay tuition. Candidates selected for admission are invited to apply for financial assistance. In addition to the opportunity to apply for federal financial aid through FAFSA in the form of loans and to be considered for merit-based scholarships, the Nicholas School of the Environment offers a need-based grant program for applicants who demonstrate the greatest financial need. Whereas the federally supported loan programs are not available to non-US citizens or permanent residents, the Nicholas School’s need-based grant program is open to F-1 and J-1 visa holders provided they can supply the necessary documentation to support their application.

The decision to attend the Nicholas School of the Environment for your masters degree should involve the entire family.  For purposes of the School’s need-based funds, the student is not viewed as financially independent of parents. Individual students (and spouses, if married) and their parents have the primary responsibility for financing the cost of your education at Duke.  Parental information will be used to determine grant eligibility each year of enrollment.  Duke looks at both natural parents for purposes of determining Duke-based financial aid for a student with divorced or separated parents. This information is collected each year regardless of age or change in marital status.

To be eligible, a student must be enrolled full-time in the professional masters program and demonstrate significant financial need prior to beginning the program, based upon the federal criteria established through the FAFSA process. Scholarships are terminated if/when a student is no longer in good academic standing with the Nicholas School.

To be considered for these need-based funds, applicants must complete the FAFSA and an application in CSS Profile providing official income tax forms and other documentation (go here for the type of financial data that is requested) from both the applicant and the applicant’s parents (even if you claim independent status) in order to be considered. Parental data is required. A nominal fee is required to submit your application through CSS Profile. To be considered, applications will be accepted starting November 1, and must be submitted through CSS Profile by February 1, along with all required supporting documentation.  Please note, the FAFSA and CSS Profile applications are not available for completion until after October 1. Application submission does not guarantee funding.

Note: If parental information is not available for a justifiable reason (e.g., parents deceased, incapacitated, student has been independent and employed full-time for a significant period of time, etc.), please complete this form and submit the completed waiver request form to The committee will take your statement under consideration when reviewing completed applications. Submission of this form does not guarantee a waiver from the parental information requirement. In CSS Profile, you must enter parental names and addresses and other demographic information even if you are requesting a waiver. When you are asked to provide tax information, please enter zeros (0) for amounts and submit. Email Julia Padgett at CollegeBoard ( if you are unable to proceed.  

To be considered for a need-based grant, the following must be completed:

Questions? Contact the Nicholas School Financial Aid Office at