Duke Student Assistance Fund

Support for serving Duke’s missions from near and far during the COVID-19 pandemic

Duke continues to provide resources to help our students experiencing increased adversity as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Duke has launched the Duke Student Assistance Fund, with an initial commitment of $4 million from the University. The fund will be used to assist undergraduate, graduate and professional students throughout the University to help alleviate the burden of unexpected expenses such as airline tickets for relocation, temporary housing, food, and technology for online learning.

Each application submitted to the Duke Student Assistance Fund will be reviewed independently. Grant amounts will vary depending on the individual circumstances, the needs of the student and the available resources. These grants are in addition to any financial aid students may receive from Duke and do not need to be repaid. Note that most grants are not taxable, but that may need to be confirmed before the next tax filing season.

Our goal is to respond to requests as soon as possible however we estimate that every application will be processed within two weeks.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Student must have been enrolled as a degree-seeking undergraduate, graduate or professional student during the Spring 2020 term.
  • Student must be experiencing immediate, short-term financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Student has not already requested reimbursement or received support for the same expenses from Duke or other sources (government, nonprofit and private).

Examples of Eligible Expenses

The Duke Student Assistance Fund is intended to address short-term needs including but not limited to the following areas. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Other circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Emergency travel expenses (e.g., flight change fees, one-way ticket or mileage reimbursement to one’s home/permanent destination)
  • Temporary housing and utilities expenses
  • Food
  • Technology for online learning; Loaner laptops will be shipped to applicants living within continental U.S. who do not have one available to fulfill educational needs related to Duke University requirements
  • Emergency medical expenses

Examples of Expenses Not Covered

  • Tuition and fees (students seeking a review of financial aid award for 2020-21 academic year should contact their financial aid counselor.)
  • Any educational or living expenses beyond summer 2020
  • Non-emergency travel
  • Non-essential personal expenses
  • Printers and printing supplies; second monitors
  • Legal fines or fees
  • Car insurance, life insurance, and other insurance premiums

Application Process, Evaluation, and Timeline

On Monday, May 18 at 9:00 am, Round 2 of the DSAF application will open and it will cover emergency needs related to COVID-19 through August 30th.

Students should first gather supporting information and documentation, including the types and amounts of expenses that will be requested, then login to DukeHub to start the application process.

Once in DukeHub, select the Student SignOn Link, then the Forms & Requests link from the top menu where you will find the link to begin the application process. Complete, step-by-step instructions to locate the application are available to download.

We have also prepared a video to help you through the application process. Please review this video before completing the application.

For any single expense category request greater than $500 you are required to upload documentation. Should you have multiple expense categories greater than $500, please upload all documentation in one PDF. Documentation includes receipts, invoices, lease agreements and lease extensions, proposed budgets, a screen shot of item, and purchase price or other documentation. For requests in any expense category under $500, any documentation provided will aid in the review process.

Once a completed application is received, it will be reviewed as soon as possible by an internal Duke committee. Decisions about grants will be communicated to your Duke email address within two weeks of submission. Funding will be provided to you within two weeks of the decision, but please see payment methods which differ as to their speediness.

We recognize that many in need will not be able to wait for three to four weeks to receive financial disbursements from the Duke Student Assistance Fund. We have compiled some resources that are available to you now, until applications can be reviewed and financial assistance provided.


The quickest and safest way for Duke to provide you with the grant is through direct deposit, which allows for an electronic deposit to a US-based bank account that you specify. Please note that payroll direct deposit is different from the grant direct deposit set up so please follow the instructions below to ensure an error free disbursement of your grant. We strongly encourage this method of delivery of funds. If you have not already provided a bank account, please follow the instructions below:

  • Log on to the DukeHub
  • Click on the “Forms & Requests” tab
  • Add or manage your direct deposit information

For those students without a bank account, a check will be mailed to the mailing address entered in this DSAF application. 

Additional Resources