The Master of Public Policy Program requires a substantial investment of both time and resources. We believe that earning an MPP degree from our program will help you to reach your career goals and will open doors to exciting opportunities. We are dedicated to making sure each qualified student can join us.


Our current policy allows us to provide merit-based scholarships to ALL accepted MPP applicants who are not receiving full funding from outside sources. Sanford issues merit-based awards to our domestic and international students in the form of tuition scholarships and/or teaching, research or staff assistantships. You should indicate on your application that you would like to be considered for financial aid. We require no additional documentation.

US citizens are also guaranteed assistantships for two academic years of study, conditional upon satisfactory coursework progress during the first year. International students may apply to positions that remain open. Dual degree students only receive tuition fellowships during their first year of the MPP program and are not guaranteed assistantships due to the additional credit requirements of their first year plan. They may apply to any assistantships that are unfilled.

FAQs on Financial Aid

Yes, we offer merit-based tuition fellowships to international applicants and students may apply to any vacant assistantships.


Most assistantships are in the form of acting as a teaching assistant (TA) for core required graduate or undergraduate classes. Some students also act as research assistants (RA) for professors or work as Student Ambassadors with the MPP Admissions Office (GA). In the late fall, we provide students with a list of possible assistantship opportunities and ask them to rank their preferences. The Director of Student Services makes assignments based upon interests, skills, and needs across the program. Most students do not work off-campus while enrolled in the MPP program, as the curriculum is quite demanding.


The Duke MPP Program recognizes and provides application fee waivers for Pickering and Rangel Fellows, PPIA Fellows, and Truman Scholars. Prior to submitting your application, please email us with your fee waiver request and the required written documentation of your Pickering, Rangel, PPIA, or Truman Scholar award. We then can help waive your fee. Please also include your fellowship documentation in your application. Contact MPP admissions

Duke University participates in the national consortium of graduate programs that recruit and support returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who wish to pursue advanced degrees.

All students have an ongoing obligation to notify the Duke MPP Program Office upon receipt of external funding, scholarships, and grants obtained independently. The Duke MPP Program reserves the right to amend financial aid awards if a student receives external funding, applies to become a dual degree student, or fails to maintain satisfactory academic performance (at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average). 


The Armenian Fellowship Fund 

Incoming or current MPP students interested in sustainable development, nation building, or conflict resolution in Armenia and/or the surrounding region may receive whole or partial fellowships. To apply for this fellowship, applicants must upload a separate statement describing their interest in Armenia or the surrounding region and their professional goals. Availability of funds under this fellowship varies from year to year. 

The Carlucci Fellowship

All first-year Masters in Public Policy students are eligible to participate in the Carlucci Fellows Internship Program in Security Studies. The Carlucci Fellowship awards a $5,000 stipend to up to 5 students to be used in support of a summer internship in the area of security studies. The Carlucci family also hosts a unique networking reception for the fellows during the summer. Fellows are selected in the fall semester. For more information, please contact Marion Pratt.

The Duke-Margolis Scholarship in Health Policy & Management

The Margolis Scholarship is for applicants who have strong interest in health policy or have experience in the health field. Scholars are linked with the world-class experts and leading-edge research on the Duke University campus and in Washington, DC. Scholars are considered for competitive scholarships, as well as paid summer internships. The program is a collaboration between the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Sanford School. Find out more about the Duke-Margolis Scholars program here.


US Citizens & Permanent Residents

The Sanford Financial Aid Office will assist US citizens and permanent residents in obtaining student loans through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Applicants should submit a FAFSA on, or before, May 1, to Duke University (002920) if they are interested in Federal Loans and/or if they will be receiving an assistantship.

If you have questions about federal financial aid, please contact Misty Brindle, the MPP Director of Financial Aid. The Duke Student Loan Office website also  provides detailed information on the Federal Direct Student Loan Programs. You may also visit the FAFSA website for detailed information on these programs, repayment plans or to file your FAFSA. For students who choose to use private lenders, Duke provides a Recommended Lender List.

International Students

Private Alternative Student Loan 

An international student with a U.S. co-signer can borrow through various financial institutions. Private/Alternative Loans are credit-based student loans that require a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident co-signer. Students may borrow up to the cost of attendance less other financial aid. These loans provide for in-school deferment of payments and a post-graduation grace period. Both the grace period and the repayment period can vary by lender. Please refer to the Duke University Recommended Lender List to view a list of loan programs and to learn more about specific interest rates, repayment terms, and other loan features.

External Funding Resources 

Various international agencies provide funding for international students to study in the U.S. including:


Personal Assistance for Every Student


Misty Brindle will guide you through the steps needed to finance your education and will help students develop financial plans. Meet with her at any time. She responds to most email inquiries within 24 hours. We want you to make the right decision for your future. If Sanford is your choice, we strive to make it possible.


Jessica Pan

Director of MPP Admissions and Scholarships

Jessica Pan recruits students to Sanford, finalizes admission decisions, and allocates merit-based scholarships.

Helpful Resources and Forms