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'No changes at this current time': Administrators say financial aid policy for summer terms has not changed

Despite a post on the financial aid website that suggested future students may not be guaranteed aid for summer sessions, no changes have currently been made to the policy, administrators say. 

The message had caused confusion amongst some students who visited the financial aid website. Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, indicated the message was a mistake. 

"The website is being corrected," Schoenfeld wrote in an email to The Chronicle. "There are no changes at the current time."

Currently, students can receive financial aid for a maximum of two summer terms. This aid can be a combination of loans, grants and work study. 

The message—which read that "Students admitted to Duke for the 2019-2020 academic year or later may not be eligible for summer assistance"—has since been removed from the website. When The Chronicle reached out to Alison Rabil, assistant vice provost and director of the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support, she wrote that Schoenfeld "has the official word on any changes that may be considered."

The uncertainty comes on the heels of a controversial change to financial aid policy. In September, some students on financial aid received a letter that said Duke University will no longer pay for their health insurance. 

Duke requires students to have an approved insurance plan or purchase Duke's insurance plan—which costs $3,535 and needs to be completely paid before the beginning of the fall semester. Previously, students on financial aid could receive grant aid for Duke's plan. 

Starting next school year, Duke will only cover this cost for students receiving aid that have a calculated parent contribution of $0. Rabil told The Chronicle that the financial aid office hopes most students can rejoin their families' insurance to avoid paying for Duke's insurance plan. 

“We understand that it’s going to be an additional cost to some families," Rabil said at the time. "For some families, it will be the additional cost of putting them back on your insurance, and for some it will be the additional cost of the Duke insurance. Hopefully, the cost will not be something that the families can’t manage reasonably."

Ben Leonard

Managing Editor 2018-19, 2019-2020 Features & Investigations Editor 

A member of the class of 2020 hailing from San Mateo, Calif., Ben is The Chronicle's Towerview Editor and Investigations Editor. Outside of the Chronicle, he is a public policy major working towards a journalism certificate, has interned at the Tampa Bay Times and NBC News and frequents Pitchforks. 


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