This story originally published online at NC Newsline.
One of the biggest financial worries for parents of high-school age children is whether they can afford to send their child to college.
Duke University erased that worry for some families on Tuesday in announcing that starting this fall the university would provide full tuition grants for its undergraduate students admitted from North Carolina and South Carolina with family incomes of $150,000 or less.
If a family income is below the $65,000 threshold, Duke plans to provide not just full tuition, but housing, meals, and some course materials. The idea being that those students will not need to take out student loans.
For an idea of how significant this is, the cost of Duke tuition for the 2023-2024 academic year will be $63,450.
“This additional financial support for undergraduates reflects Duke’s commitment to our students from the Carolinas,” said President Vincent Price in a Tuesday press release. “By providing even more equitable access to a Duke education, and ensuring students have the resources they need to truly thrive while here at Duke, we will also make our campus community stronger.”
For current undergraduates from the Carolinas, they too will be eligible for additional financial assistance from the school starting in the fall 2023 semester. University officials project that about 340 current students are expected to benefit in the next academic year.
Gary Bennett is the dean of Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. He notes that equitable access to higher education can change the trajectory of the student and their family for decades.
“Attending college can expand a family’s opportunities for generations, and we aim to make the Duke experience as widely accessible as we can,” said Dean Bennett.
For the current academic year, more than 1,100 North Carolina residents from 65 counties were enrolled as undergraduates.
“Retaining talent is critical to our region’s success; Duke’s commitment to these students is also a commitment to the North and South Carolina communities they call home,” Bennett said.
In subsequent years, Duke is anticipating the new offer will attract more students from the Carolinas. Over the next five years, Duke University is planning to invest an additional $6 million to $7 million per year to provide the increased assistance.
Rising college costs raise the push for greater transparency
The largesse by Duke University comes at a time some state lawmakers are proposing “Know Before You Go” legislation, in which high school students have a clearer understanding of their post-secondary education choices and their professional futures before taking on debt and heading off to college.
North Carolina’s average borrower carries more than $37,000 of student loan debt.
Here’s a closer look at the annual undergraduate college costs* for some of North Carolina’s universities and colleges for the 2023-24 school year:
Wake Forest University: $64,758 (Tuition and Fees)
Davidson College: $60,050 (Tuition, student activity fee)
High Point University: $46,548 (Tuition and Fees)
Elon University: $44,536 (Tuition and Fees)
North Carolina State University: $8,895 (In state Tuition and Fees) $31,767 (Out of state)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: $8,751 (In state Tuition and Fees) $39,09 (Out of state)
East Carolina University: $7,170 (In state Tuition and Fees) $23,447 (Out of state)
Elizabeth City State University: $3,391 (In state Tuition and Fees) $7,391 (Out of state)
(ECSU is a participating member in NC Promise where tuition is reduced to $500 per semester for students.)
* Housing and food expenses can add thousands more beyond the yearly cost of tuition and fees.
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