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Duke to Receive $10 Million for its Financial Aid Initiative
February 20, 2007
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle will contribute $10 million to Duke University to support scholarships for undergraduates and business school students, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead announced Tuesday.
The gift will provide $9 million in endowment to support need-based undergraduate scholarships and $1 million in endowment to support scholarships for students at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
“Duke offers significant financial aid to its students, but our endowment for aid covers only a portion of the need,” Brodhead said. “I am grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for strengthening the foundation of Duke’s need-blind admissions policy for undergraduates and helping us ensure that a Duke education remains available to all qualified students regardless of their family’s financial situation.”
In December 2005, Brodhead announced Duke’s Financial Aid Initiative, an effort to raise $300 million in endowed financial aid. Including the Gates gift, the university has received more than $216 million in support of this effort. (More information about the initiative can be found at
“Fundamentally, students who earn admission to Duke should be able to pursue their education regardless of financial barriers,” said Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are proud to support this initiative and Duke’s commitment to enroll more students from a wide range of backgrounds.” Ms. Gates is a graduate of Duke and of the Fuqua School of Business and is a former university trustee.
The Gates Foundation’s $10 million gift represents the second in a two-part contribution to Duke. On Feb. 12, Brodhead announced that the Gates Foundation and The Duke Endowment of Charlotte, N.C., contributed $15 million each to support DukeEngage, one of the most ambitious civic engagement initiatives in U.S. higher education. (More information about DukeEngage can be found at
The Gates family has supported financial aid at Duke in the past, including a $20 million gift in 1998 to help establish the University Scholars Program, which encourages interdisciplinary study by outstanding undergraduate, graduate and professional students. There have been 154 University Scholars since the program’s inception, including the current 28 undergraduate, 34 doctoral and 18 professional school students.
Duke’s spending on need-based undergraduate aid totaled almost $47 million in 2005-06, up more than $20 million from spending five years prior. In total, Duke spent more than $143 million on financial aid grants for undergraduate, graduate and professional students in 2005-06. Less than a quarter of that cost was met with financial aid endowment.
“We never want to see Duke’s need to fund student aid come into competition with the need to fund the academic programs that draw top students and faculty here in the first place,” Brodhead said. “By significantly strengthening Duke’s permanent support for financial aid, donors like the Gates Foundation are doing something crucial not only for the university and its students, but also for the many people its graduates will serve in the years ahead.”