Increasing Access and Affordability — Scholarships and Financial Aid

Higher Education  |  Support Institutional Priorities

When he established his Endowment in 1924, Mr. Duke specified that the greatest portion of the funds be awarded to four schools: Davidson College, Duke University and Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina and Furman University in South Carolina. Funding helps the schools increase access to educational opportunities and become more affordable.


With college tuition rates steadily increasing, students are finding it nearly impossible to afford higher education without receiving some type of financial assistance. Tuition increase rates are exceeding increases in average family income, so the ability for families to contribute financially has decreased. For many, cost is the single largest barrier to postsecondary education.

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Expanding Scholarships and Financial Aid

Over the years, The Duke Endowment has worked closely with each institution to help make education more affordable through scholarships and financial aid. Examples include:

The Davidson Trust, supported by $21 million in grants to Davidson College, is a financial aid initiative that frees students from the burden of mandatory loans. Davidson was the first national liberal arts college to initiate such a policy.

The Financial Aid Initiative, a $75 million grant to Duke University, supports undergraduate need-based financial aid.

The Townes Scholars, a major scholarship program established with a $14 million grant to Furman University, helps the university attract highly qualified students from South Carolina.

A scholarship program at Johnson C. Smith University, supported by a $3 million grant, helps the school attract high-caliber scholars.

Signature Scholarships

In addition to ongoing grants, The Duke Endowment also has endowed three signature scholarships at its four beneficiary schools.

The James B. Duke Scholarship

Based on academic excellence and offered at Davidson College, Furman University and Johnson C. Smith University.

Learn more

The Angier B. Duke Scholarship at Duke University

  • Created by Benjamin N. and Sarah P. Duke to honor their son, Angier Buchanan Duke
  • Scholars are selected nationally and internationally
  • Covers full tuition, room, board, mandatory fees, and an Oxford experience
  • Based on academic merit and outstanding promise in a chosen field

Learn more

The Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship at Duke University

  • Awarded to high school seniors from North Carolina and South Carolina
  • Based on academic achievement, leadership and community service
  • Covers full tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees for a total of eight semesters
  • Provides stipends for two summer experiences that allow scholars to enhance their personal and academic development

Learn More

Benjamin N. Duke brochure (pdf, 8.2MB)

The History of Benjamin N. Duke

View this Duke University video for an inside look at the man behind the B.N. Duke Scholarship Program.


Grants and scholarships from The Duke Endowment have made it possible for thousands of deserving students to graduate with significantly less debt or no debt at all.

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