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.

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

2. US citizens and permanent residents must complete and submit the FAFSA on-line and have the report sent to Duke University, code 002920. Non-US citizens please refer to alternative documentation requirements below. 

3. Go to College Board and complete an application in CSS Profile . In CSS Profile, you must enter parental names and addresses and other demographic information even if you are requesting a waiver (see below).  

4. From your dashboard in CSS Profile locate the tab for IDOC. Click on the tab and follow the directions for uploading your supporting documents. Once you submit the CSS Profile and then upload your tax documents to IDOC. Do not send tax documents to the Nicholas School, please. 

5. A nominal fee is also required to submit your application through CSS Profile.

6. Use code 5158 to ensure that your information gets transmitted to the Nicholas School of the Environment. 

7. Go here for the type of financial data that is requested from both the applicant and the applicant’s parents in order to be considered.

To be considered, applications will be accepted starting November 1, and must be submitted through CSS Profile by February 15, 2019, 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: Be sure to begin the application process well enough in advance that you will have time to gather your and your parents' tax documents, upload your documents through IDOC and submit everything by the February 15 deadline. Late submissions will not be considered. 

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

  • Applicant:
    • Complete the online CSS Profile Application. Once you submit the CSS Profile (use code 5158) and then upload your tax documents to IDOC, there could be up to a week before the documents reach Duke. Please be sure to submit the CSS Profile sufficiently early that there will be time for Duke to receive all of your documents by the February 15, 2019 deadline. Checklists in DukeHub could take considerably longer to be updated. 
    • Submit signed copies of your 2017 income tax return and associated W-2 forms via IDOC. If you filed your income tax form electronically you may submit an electronic version without a "wet" signature. Similarly, the W-2 does not require a signature. 
    • Refer to the CSS Profile Student Guide for details on documents you will need in order to complete your application
    • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (US citizens and permanent residents only.)
    • If you are a non-US citizen/permanent resident then upload your and your parents' tax documents from your home country. If such tax documents are not available, you may use International Business Supplement form, if applicable, uploaded through IDOC and/or Income Statement for Parents Living Abroad form, if applicable, uploaded through IDOC
    • 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 In CSS Profile, you must still enter parental names and addresses and other demographic information even if you are requesting a waiver. Enter zeroes for any amounts. 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. 
  • Parent(s):

Questions? Contact the Nicholas School Financial Aid Office at