Duke University Receives $20 Million for Scholarship Program

Duke University Receives $20 Million for Scholarship Program

Duke University has announced a $20 million gift from trustee David M. Rubenstein to endow a year-old scholarship program for exceptional first-generation low-income students.

Formerly known as the Washington Duke Scholars Program, the David M. Rubenstein Scholars Program provides rigorous academic experiences, personal enrichment, and professional development — and covers the full cost of a Duke education. In addition to a loan-free four-year scholarship, the program includes initiatives designed to promote student success, including a summer academic experience designed to help students transition to college and extensive faculty and peer mentoring.

The program, which launched earlier this year with thirty students, plans to add sixty additional students every year until it reaches a total of two hundred and forty. As with other scholarship programs at Duke, high school students do not apply to become Rubenstein Scholars but are identified by the university based on multiple factors, including individual potential and academic achievement, family income, the education level of the student's parents, and the level of resources available at the student's high school. Students will be invited into the program when they receive a letter of acceptance from Duke. 

A noted philanthropist and signatory of the Giving Pledge, Rubenstein is a co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm. A longtime supporter of Duke, his contributions for the school include support for its Sanford School of Public Policy, the Duke Libraries, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, Jewish Life at Duke, arts programs, financial aid and athletics, and other activities. Rubenstein has been a member of the Duke board of trustees since 2005 and has served as chair since 2013; his tenure on the board will end in June.

"As a student at Duke, David Rubenstein learned the difference a scholarship could make to open the door to a great education," said Duke University president Richard H. Brodhead. "As chair of Duke's board of trustees, David has shown his deep understanding of the importance of access to higher education. Great universities must seek out and welcome talented students regardless of their family's prior educational experience or ability to pay. David's extraordinary gift makes it possible for Duke to fulfill our commitment to this ideal."

"$20 Million Gift Endows First-Generation Scholarship Program." Duke University Press Release 04/24/2017.