Need-Based Financial Aid Application - Returning Students


Returning MEM, MF, and DEL-MEM Nicholas School students are invited to apply for need-based 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 has made available a small pool of funds to support a need-based grant program for returning students 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.

For purposes of the School’s need-based funds, the student is not viewed as financially independent of parents. Parental information is used to determine grant eligibility. 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 master’s program and demonstrate significant financial need. Scholarships are terminated if/when a student is no longer in good academic standing with the Nicholas School.

A student who applied for and received a need-based grant in 2018-19 may retain his/her grant in 2019-2020 provided:

*The student will be enrolled full-time in the MEM or MF program during the entire 2019-2020 academic year;

*The student's financial status has not improved since the award was received. The student must send an email to affirming under the Nicholas School Honor Code that the student is in good academic standing and that his/her financial status has not changed positively.

Returning students who did not apply last year or did apply but did not receive a grant, may apply for 2019-2020 provided they will be enrolled full-time in the MEM or MF during the 2019-2020 academic year.

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. 

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

6. Use code 5158 to ensure that your information gets sent 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 March 18, 2019, and must be submitted through CSS Profile by April 19, 2019 along with all required supporting documentation. Please note, the FAFSA and CSS Profile applications are available for completion 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, get the link to IDOC and submit everything by the April 19deadline. 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 ( Use code 5158. 
    • Submit required tax forms (2017 tax year) for you and for your parents via CSS Profile. 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) 
    • 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 Please do not send any other documents to this email address; all supporting documents should be uploaded through IDOC. The committee will take your statement under consideration when reviewing complete 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 zeroes (0) for amounts and submit.  
    • Important Note: Once you submit the CSS Profile 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 April 19, 2019  deadline. Checklists in DukeHub could take considerably longer to be updated. . 
    • Late applications will not be considered
  • Parent(s):

Questions? Contact the Nicholas School Financial Aid Office (Student Services) at