Need-Based Financial Aid Application - Returning Students


Returning MEM, MF, and DEL-MEM Nicholas School students 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 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 2016-17 may retain his/her grant in 2017-18 provided:

*The student will be enrolled full-time in the MEM or MF program during the entire 2017-18 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 2017-18 provided they will be enrolled full-time in the MEM or MF during the 2017-18 academic year. Students 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 March 20, 2017, and must be submitted through CSS Profile by April 21, 2017, 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: 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 complete applications. Submission of this form does not guarantee a waiver from the parentla 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. Email Julia Padgett at CollegeBoard ( if you are unable to proceed. 

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

  • Applicant:
    • Complete the online CSS Profile application (
    • Submit required tax forms (2015 tax year) for you and for your parents via CSS Profile
    • 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) 
    • Important Note: Upon submission of the CSS Profile there will be lag of 5-7 days before the student will receive an email with the link for IDOC where the student will upload their tax documents and the parents may upload their tax documents. Please be sure to submit the CSS Profile sufficiently early that there will be time to receive the link and upload all of the documents by the April 21, 2017 deadline. 
    • Late applications will not be considered
  • Parent(s):

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