Veterans Education Benefits

Thank you for your service to our country!  We are honored that you have chosen Duke University to pursue your academic interests.

The Office of the University Registrar is responsible for the certification of benefits for both Veterans Administration and Department of Defense education benefit programs.

Eligible Duke University Programs

With few exceptions only degree programs are eligible for veterans benefits at Duke. Currently, some certificate programs (no degree earned) in the School of Nursing are approved for benefits. All approvals are subject to change.

Many questions are asked about the Executive Education programs in the Fuqua School of Business. Unfortunately, those programs don’t meet the criteria set forth by the VA for Duke to seek approval for the use of VA benefits by students. Those programs are ineligible for benefit use. Likewise, programs under the Continuing Studies umbrella are not eligible for VA education benefits.

Using Military Benefits at Duke University

Questions about eligibility for benefits should be directed to the VA.  A student using transferred benefits must apply for benefits, i.e., the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) must be in the student's name.

When making your application to use your benefits at Duke, please use the degree name of the program you are pursuing, e.g. Master of Business Administration, Master of Science, Master of Engineering. Do not use the track or major you will be pursuing. The VA will be checking Duke’s list of approved programs when approving your benefits for use at Duke. It will deny applications that don’t match our list of approved programs.

While the application for benefits can occur while the student is in the Duke admission process, students should be admitted before submitting documents to the Office of the University Registrar.

Students should provide a Social Security Number (SSN) during the application process to Duke. This ensures the SSN is stored within the student record. The SSN is required for student certification in the VA’s certification system. The SSN is securely stored, and access to it is limited to very few staff members with a need to know this information. It is never provided to entities outside of Duke other than those requiring it for compliance with federal regulations.

  • Receive a COE from the VA outlining the benefits and eligibility period. Submit the COE to the Office of the University Registrar. A screen shot of the eBenefits Web page will also be accepted.
  • The COE can be submitted via email, fax, or in person to:
        1121 West Main Street, Suite 1200
        Durham, NC  27701
        919-684-4500 (f)
  • Submit file documents.

Shortly after receiving the COE, a review of documents needed for the student’s VA file will be done. Students will be notified if they are responsible for providing any further documentation.

The VA requires us to have the following documents on file:

  • Copy of the application to Duke.
  • Copy of the acceptance letter to Duke.
  • Official copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.*
  • DD-214 if recently separated and the COE still indicates an active duty status.
  • Change of Program or Place of Training form, if the student has previously received VA benefits at another institution.

*The VA requires us to have, on file, a transcript from each post-secondary institution attended. To save students time and expense, we try to use the same documents submitted in the application for admission process. There may be cases where transcripts may not have been required for application/admission, but are required for the VA. The student will be responsible for requesting those to be sent to the Office of the University Registrar.

This form is required EACH semester in which benefits are intended to be used and should be submitted upon registration for the upcoming term.

Below is the general certification process. The process may vary slightly for funding that is received directly by Duke (Chapter 31, 33) versus funding received directly by the student. But the overall process is the same.

  • The VA file is deemed complete (new students).
  • Student is registered for the term and submits a Student Data Form.
  • Enrollment certification is submitted to the VA. (The student should receive a copy of this certification from the VA.) This certification includes registration/enrollment information only. This is so any BAH or stipends can be processed and received by the student in a timely manner.
  • After drop/add for the term an amendment to the enrollment certification is submitted to the VA to include net tuition and fees. This does mean that funding may not arrive until 6-8 weeks into the semester. Vocational rehab (Ch. 31) students charges are billed to the VA by the Bursar’s Office.
  • Students are responsible for notifying the office of any schedule or tuition/fee changes. This is done by completing another Student Data Form.

Bursar’s Office
Upon the billing due date for each term, the Bursar’s Office will query student records for the receipt of a Student Data Form (SDF) for the term. A flag will be placed on those accounts indicating awaiting VA payment. No late fees will be assessed.

Students are responsible for:

  • Submitting Student Data Form (SDF) for each term in which they they wish to be certified.
  • Being accurate in the completion of the SDF.
  • Notifying the office of any schedule or tuition/fee changes.
  • Understanding that failed, withdrawn, and dropped courses may affect payment status. Dependent on the drop/withdraw date, the result could be an overpayment to the VA and a debt for the student. It is imperative the Office of the University Registrar is notified when a student plans to drop a course/withdraw from school.
  • Understanding that only courses towards the degree will be included in enrollment certification to the VA. Students must indicate any non-degree coursework enrolled in on the SDF.
  • Knowing what benefit program they are using and the payment terms. Different benefit programs pay benefits at different times and at different rates. Duke does not determine final payment amounts, the VA does.
  • Knowing the amount of benefit and/or training time allotted, used and remaining. Duke does not have access to this information. It is possible benefits could be exhausted while attending Duke and funding not received.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can waive up to 50% of those expenses and the VA will match the same amount as the institution.

Notification of Award
According to VA regulations, students must be awarded this grant on a first-come, first-served basis within each school. Admitted students who submit a COE to the Veterans Education Benefits Coordinator will have their COE forwarded to the respective financial aid office for Yellow Ribbon consideration. The respective financial aid offices manage the Yellow Ribbon recipient lists and will notify students of the awarding of a Yellow Ribbon grant.

As of August 2018, Purple Heart recipients are eligible for Yellow Ribbon awards.  Please notify the Veterans Education Coordinator of the Purple Heart award so Yellow Ribbon consideration can be made.

Other Stipulations of the Yellow Ribbon Program:

1. Per VA regulations, Duke may not expand its Yellow Ribbon offering during the academic year. Each institution must enroll in the program each academic year, but once enrolled cannot change its commitment for that year.

2. A student who receives the Yellow Ribbon grant from Duke will continue to receive it as long as the following conditions exist:

  • Duke remains in the program.
  • The student remains continuously enrolled in the program for which he/she initially received the benefit.
  • The student complies with all VA and Duke required deadlines and procedures.

Yellow Ribbon Awards

All of the schools at Duke will again participate in this program during the 2022-23 academic year. The number of students covered and the amount provided varies by school and degree level (see below). The number of awards listed in the chart below are total awards approved for the academic year. This number includes current students.

2022-23 Available Awards by School and Level
School Level Number of Students Annual Amount per Eligible Student Financial Aid Contact
Divinity School Master's 8 $3,500
Fuqua School of Business Master's unlimited $18,000
Graduate School Master's 7 $8,320
Graduate School Doctoral unlimited $22,900
Law School Master's 1 $10,000
Law School Doctoral 15 $30,000
Nicholas School of the Environment Master's 7 $10,000
Medical School Master's 5 $10,000
Medical School Doctoral 6 $15,000
School of Nursing Bachelor's 20 $5,000
School of Nursing Master's 25 $5,000
School of Nursing Doctoral 20 $5,000
Pratt School of Engineering Bachelor's 5 $5,000
Pratt School of Engineering Master's 8 $7,500
Sanford School of Public Policy Master's 20 $16,000
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Bachelor's 16 $5,000

"GI Bill®" is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

Below is the general certification process.

  • Vocational Readiness Counselor submits a 28-1905 for the term/year to the Office of the University Registrar.
  • The VA file is deemed complete (new students).
  • Student is registered for the term and submits a Student Data Form.
  • Enrollment certification is submitted to the VA.
  • Students are responsible for notifying the office of any schedule or tuition/fee changes. This is done by completing another Student Data Form.

Books and Supplies

After the Vocational Readiness Counselor submits a 28-1905 to the Office of the University Registrar, a copy of the form will be forwarded to the Duke University Bookstore. The student will then need to send an email to the Bookstore listing the books and supplies needed for the term. The Bookstore will gather the books and supplies needed and have them set aside for the student to pick up. Invoicing for the books and supplies will be done by the Bursar's Office in conjunction with Bookstore to the Vocational Readiness Counselor (VR&E).

Duke University is approved for students to utilize TA benefits for bachelors and masters degrees. Certificate programs that are “stand alone” or don’t have to be earned concurrently with a degree may also be approved. Please contact the Office of the University Registrar to confirm a program's eligibility.

Admission to Duke University programs is decentralized and within each school or program. Students are encouraged to check admission information on the respective Web pages of the program in which they wish to apply and enroll in.

Duke University refrains from providing any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting, admission activities, or making decision regarding the award of financial assistance. This includes securing any forms of federal financial aid, including Tuition Assistance (TA) from student enrollment.

Academic advising is decentralized and done through faculty and advisers in each program. Applicants should inquire about the program by visiting the admission Web pages for each program. The financial aid Web pages for each school/program direct students to appropriate staff to assist with any funding questions.

Duke University offers many resources to all students, including those using military affiliated benefits. See the Resources section of this Web page.

Interested students should contact their Educational Services Officer (ESO) or counselor within their Military Service prior to enrolling in a program. Information on Tuition Assistance can also be obtained by contacting the respective branch of service. (Air ForceArmyCoast GuardMarines, or Navy).

The VA requires institutions to submit academic progress and graduation information for students using VA benefits. The reporting of graduation rates is very specific to students using Chapter 33 benefits and only students who use their benefits in their final term at Duke. Duke feels that methodology does not accurately reflect the graduation rate of students using VA benefits. Below is a more accurate picture of the graduation rate for all students who used VA benefits, any benefit program, for any portion of their Duke education.

Students Admitted for 2019-2020 (Summer or Fall Program Start)

Number starting programs of 1-2 years length: 67

Number starting programs of 3 years in length: 23

Number starting programs of 4 years in length: 19

Number starting programs of 5 years or more in length: 3

Number of students completing programs of 1-2 years in length: 66

Number of students completing programs of 3 years or more in length: 19

Number of students completing programs of 4 years or more in length: 0

Number of students completing programs of 5 years or more in length: 0


Number of students still enrolled in programs of 1-2 years in length: 1

Number of students still enrolled in programs of 3 years or more in length: 2

Number of students still enrolled in programs of 4 years or more in length: 15

Number of students still enrolled in programs of 5 years or more in length: 1

Graduation/persistence rate: 100% Graduation/persistence rate: 91.3% Graduation/persistence rate: 78.9% Graduation/persistence rate: 33%