Growing up on a small tobacco farm in rural North Carolina, James B. Duke had limited opportunities for a formal education. Still, as an adult, he felt strongly that qualified students should have access to higher education regardless of their financial status. Mr. Duke once said that education, “when conducted along sane and practical, as opposed to dogmatic and theoretical lines, is, next to religion the greatest civilizing influence."
When he established his Endowment in 1924, he 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. Some of the funding provided to these institutions helps them increase access to educational opportunities and become more affordable for qualified students. Mr. Duke chose these schools for a variety of reasons, but ultimately wanted to strengthen and support higher education in the Carolinas.
According to The National Center for Educational Statistics, 89 percent of all undergraduates attending private not-for-profit four year institutions received some type of financial aid in 2012-2013. While tuition rates have steadily increased over the past 15 years, students are finding it nearly impossible to afford higher education without receiving some type of financial assistance. With tuition increase rates far exceeding increases in average family income, the ability for families to contribute financially has also decreased. In response to higher education affordability issues, institutions are implementing opportunities to provide support to qualified students.
Expanding Scholarships and Financial Aid
Over the years, The Duke Endowment has worked closely with each institution to make education more affordable. In response to Mr. Duke's sentiment that education opens doors to the future, the Endowment has supported scholarships and financial aid efforts in order to ensure access to higher education to qualified students
- The Davidson Trust, supported by $21 million in grant funding 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.
In addition to ongoing grants, The Duke Endowment also has endowed three signature scholarships at its four beneficiary schools.
1. The James B. Duke Scholarship
Offered at Davidson College, Furman University and Johnson C. Smith University. Each scholarship is administered differently at the three institutions, but all are based on academic excellence.
2. 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
- Based on academic merit and outstanding promise of achievement in their chosen fields
3. The Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship at Duke University
- Given to 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