President Vincent Price wrote in a Letter to the Editor Thursday that changes to health insurance coverage for students on financial aid will no longer be implemented and reaffirmed Duke University’s commitment to financial aid.
“ ...There will be no changes to the financial aid pledges made by Duke University to current undergraduates during your time as Duke students—not to health insurance, not to support for summer programs, not to any of the components that make a Duke education possible for those who could never have considered it so,” Price wrote.
In September, the University sent a letter to some families informing them that the cost of health insurance would only be covered for students who receive need-based financial aid and who have a calculated parent contribution of $0.
Now, those changes will not be made, and Price wrote that the University’s “recent communications have been partial and incomplete.”
“For this I apologize, particularly to any families who may have made decisions to change their family health coverage,” Price wrote. “Those families will be reimbursed by Duke for any costs they incurred in making this change, and I deeply regret any distress they experienced."
He stressed that Duke will continue to not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when deciding to admit students. This commitment endures for a student’s entire time at Duke, the president wrote.
“Duke has historically been, and will continue to be, one of a small number of universities that admit students regardless of their ability to pay and subsequently meet every student’s full demonstrated need for their entire course of study, from orientation through graduation,” Price wrote.
He insisted that one of Duke’s “highest institutional priorities” is fundraising for financial aid. This year, more than $180 million in financial assistance will be invested into undergraduate student programs, such as need-based financial aid and selective scholarships.
Price acknowledged that the University must be smart when considered how to distribute financial aid funds because it does not possess unlimited financial resources. Because of this tradeoff, Duke has been examining “a wide range of approaches” for the past year.
“With every potential adjustment to our aid program, we strive to be fair and equitable, to sustain an environment in which every student has the opportunity to not only succeed, but to thrive,” the president wrote.
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Stefanie Pousoulides is The Chronicle's Investigations Editor. A senior from Akron, Ohio, Stefanie is double majoring in political science and international comparative studies and serves as a Senior Editor of The Muse Magazine, Duke's feminist magazine. She is also a former co-Editor-in-Chief of The Muse Magazine and a former reporting intern at PolitiFact in Washington, D.C.