DSG announces laundry fees to be included in tuition beginning 2025-26

Duke Student Government announced that laundry fees will be included in the cost of tuition beginning in the 2025–26 academic year in a Tuesday email to all undergraduate students. 

The initiative, first proposed by the equity and outreach committee during an October senate meeting, seeks to “[address] a hidden cost of college life.”

By including laundry expenses in the cost of tuition, the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support will be able to provide financial aid to cover the fees for lower-income students.

The change will primarily affect lower-income students, yet any student receiving financial aid may be eligible to receive support from the new program.

“We understand that financial constraints can make it difficult for students to access laundry services when they need them,” wrote Miranda McCall, associate vice provost and director of undergraduate financial support, in a Tuesday email to The Chronicle. “Thanks to the DSG’s efforts, laundry will soon be included as part of Duke’s services and standard charges, ensuring all students have equal access.”

In a May 22 email to The Chronicle, Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president of student affairs, wrote the added cost to tuition "will not have a significant impact on housing costs."

Chase Barclay, 2023-24 DSG chief of staff, and Yadira Paz-Martinez, DSG vice president of equity and outreach wrote in a May 22 statement to The Chronicle that students will be able "to do as many loads of laundry as needed throughout the school year without being charged out-of-pocket each time," and that the added cost to tuition will be a flat fee for all students that "is appropriate and does not disproportionately add additional costs to students outside of what they would normally have paid for laundry."

They also wrote that the added cost for laundry in tuition will be determined in the middle of the 2024-25 school year.

Following the initiative’s October proposal, the equity and outreach committee conducted research on how laundry fees are managed at peer institutions. By early November, the committee also had begun discussions with Duke administration. At the time, the committee was focused on first-generation low-income students, but the proposal’s scope expanded to serve all low-income students in January. 

The equity and outreach committee had finalized their research on peer institution procedures and included its findings in a memo to McMahon as of early December. By February, the committee was optimistic about the laundry initiative and announced meetings with administration to the rest of the senate.

Discussion of the laundry cost initiative even reached the 2024-25 DSG presidential election, with one candidate campaigning on a platform that emphasized projects — like the laundry initiative — which seek to support first-generation low-income students. 

In one of DSG’s final meetings of the year, senators from the equity and outreach committee shared their hopes for the initiative’s implementation next year, “at least for those on financial aid.”

Editor's note: This article was updated Wednesday afternoon with comment from McMahon, Barclay and Paz-Martinez.

Ryan Kilgallen

Ryan Kilgallen is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor for the news department.


Share and discuss “DSG announces laundry fees to be included in tuition beginning 2025-26” on social media.