Duke University has announced plans to provide a tuition-free education to eligible students living in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Starting next fall, students from families earning $150,000 annually or less can attend the Durham, North Carolina-based university on a full tuition grant, according to a news release.
“This additional financial support for undergraduates reflects Duke’s commitment to our students from the Carolinas,” Duke president Vincent Price said in the 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,” said Price, who serves as the university’s 10th president.
Fifty-two percent of Duke’s undergraduate students currently receive some sort of financial aid, according to Duke’s website.
Eligible students whose families earn $65,000 or less will receive full tuition grants and financial aid towards meals, housing and other campus expenses, according to the university.
Qualified military families can also apply, even if they’re stationed elsewhere, as long as their legal residence is in the Carolinas, the release said.
University officials said they expected around 340 students would benefit from the tuition break, which is funded “through university resources” over the next academic year.
Gary Bennett, dean of Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, said the goal is to make attending Duke easier for those seeking higher education.
“We know that students with greater financial constraints are more likely to choose colleges that are closer to their homes, and that many of those students will also choose to stay closer to home after they graduate,” Bennett said in the release.
The university said it enrolls more students from its home state of North Carolina than any other.
The school had more than 6,500 undergraduates enrolled last fall, and the average tuition costs for the next academic year – including room and board, fees and supplies – are anticipated to add up to around $83,263, according to the school’s website.
Other prestigious universities have begun offering similar financial aid packages to Duke’s.
Starting in the fall, Princeton University undergraduates from “most families” that earn up to $100,000 annually will not have to pay for tuition or room and board, according to the university.
At Columbia University, families who earn $150,000 or less are eligible for free tuition.
Schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dartmouth cover tuition for families earning $140,000 and $125,000 or less, respectively.
Stanford University provides full tuition and room and board for students whose families earn $100,000 or less. For families who earn less than $150,000, Stanford provides scholarship support to cover tuition.