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Financial Planning

This accelerated certificate program is designed to meet the challenges faced by financial planning professionals in the brokerage, insurance, accounting, banking and related fields.* The Duke University Executive Certificate in Financial Planning Program fulfills the educational component, one of five requirements of the CFP® certification, established by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. Completion of this certificate program qualifies the student for application for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Exam.

Program Highlights include:

  • Convenient alternate weekend format 
  • Compressed 9 month schedule**
  • Multiple Instructors who themselves have passed the CFP® Exam and are industry practitioners
  • Online resources such as question bank/videos etc. 
  • Program registered with Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. 
  • Graduates eligible for CFP® Exam
  • Certificate earned from Duke University, a recognized leader in educational excellence

*A US level 4-year Bachelor’s degree is required for admission to this program. Consideration for exception to the degree requirement may be considered depending on financial work experience. Contact the Program Manager to discuss.

**Due to holidays or other scheduling conflicts, this program may, on occasion, require class meetings on successive weekends.

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Curriculum & Course Details

General Financial Planning Principles, Professional Conduct, and Regulation

This course is an introduction to the concepts and profession of personal financial planning. The student will gain an understanding of the role and responsibilities of a financial planner, along with some analytical skills to aid in financial decision-making. Topics in the course include the financial planning process, securities regulation and licensing, CFP Board ethics, the economic environment, the time value of money, and planning for special situations such as a college education, the formation and operation of a closely held business, and disability. The course also previews wealth accumulation, tax, retirement, and estate planning techniques

Course Objectives:

Upon completing this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with financial planning concepts.
  • Obtain an introduction to the financial planning profession and the practice of personal financial planning by professional planners.
  • Understand time value of money concepts and the calculations to support them.
Risk Management, Insurance, and Employee Benefits Planning

This course considers risk management principles and the various types of insurance coverage in the marketplace today, focusing on the role of planning for insurance needs. Insurance topics include life, medical expense, and property/casualty policies, as well as long-term care and disability. It also covers benefits made available to employees by employers—commonly referred to as employee or fringe benefits. Employee benefit topics include group policies, deferred compensation, equity-based compensation, and business applications of life insurance.

Course Objectives:

  • Learn about insurance planning and risk management and a working knowledge of risk management/insurance technique
  • Perform basic risk management practices through case studies
  • Analyze and understand different types of annuities and comprehend how to use them within the risk management process
  • Understand the business use of life insurance (and other insurances) as an employee benefit
Investment Planning

This course introduces risk-return concepts, debt and equity securities, and options and futures contracts. The course uses a Portfolio Project to evaluate the array of financial instrument investment alternatives and their risk profile. Participants analyze expected return characteristics, individually and in combination within a portfolio. Different investment strategies and valuation models are used to understand basic investment principles and practices.

Course Objectives:

Upon completing this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with theoretical concepts underlying modern portfolio theory.
  • Understand and apply theoretical concepts to real-world investment analysis.
  • Learn about and evaluate investment alternatives, their risks, and their expected return characteristics.
  • Discuss investment strategies and valuation models while applying them to sample client situations.
  • Calculate various measures of investment risk and return used in portfolio analysis and construction; understand methods of evaluating investment results.
Retirement Savings and Income Planning

This course includes the comprehensive study of qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, other tax-advantaged plans, and employee benefits. In addition, this course will present an overview of the Social Security, disability and health care programs.

Course Objectives:

Upon completing this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with retirement planning concepts.
  • Undergo a comprehensive study of the characteristics of retirement plans including qualified, non-qualified, tax-advantaged plans and employee/group benefits; Social Security and Medicare as they apply to a given planning situation.
  • Learn about plan characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and be able to recommend the appropriate plan to a given employer or situation.
  • Understand implementation, administration and items such as discrimination testing, participation requirements, and contribution limits at the plan level.
  • Learn how these plans integrate with financial planning concepts and financial planning processes.
Tax Planning

The application of income tax laws to the transactions of individuals and businesses is important in planning for the avoidance, minimization, and deferral of taxation. This course examines the federal income tax system with particular reference to the income taxation of individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations (including S corporations).

Course Objectives:

Upon completing this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with fundamental tax concepts.
  • Analyze situations involving the individual tax computation and recommend basic individual income tax planning strategies.
  • Learn about the income tax implications of persons, property and other entities to include tax consequences of life insurance, annuities, and securities.
  • Obtain increased practical knowledge of the tax laws/audit process and understand situations involving tax traps, penalties, penalty taxes, special tax computations, and other taxable events.
Estate Planning

This course will provide students with an introduction to estate planning and the taxation of estates for the purposes of financial planning. Topics covered by this course include the tax implications of gifts and bequests, federal estate tax, revocable and irrevocable trusts, including bypass and marital deduction trusts.

Course Objectives:

Upon completing this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with estate planning concepts.
  • Learn more about the tax implications of estate taxes, gift taxes, fiduciary income taxes, and beneficiary income taxes.
  • Learn how a decedent’s property is transferred to others within and without the probate process.
Capstone Case Course (Financial Planning Development)

This course will involve case analysis and the integration of the six major areas of personal financial planning, which include:

  • Fundamentals of Financial Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Investment Planning
  • Taxation of Persons, Property and Other Entities
  • Retirement and Employee Benefits
  • Estate Tax Planning 

Course Objectives:

Upon completing this course, students will:

  • Become familiar with financial planning comprehensive cases.
  • Complete case analysis and integration of the six (6) major areas of personal financial planning (Fundamentals of Financial Planning, Insurance Planning, Investment Planning, Income Tax Planning, Retirement Planning and Estate Planning).
  • Learn how to manage case scenarios for clients which includes but is not limited to:
    • Case overview and breakdown of facts 
    • Identifying issues within case scenarios
    • Analysis of client and financial situations
    • Make recommendations 
    • Implement recommendations


Course Schedule Location Tuition Status
Certificate Program in Financial PlanningThis accelerated certificate program is designed to meet the challenges faced by financial planning professionals in the brokerage, insurance, accounting, banking and related fields. The Duke University Executive Certificate in...
Sep 20, 2019 to May 30, 2020
F 6:00PM - 9:35PM
Sa 8:15AM - 4:30PM
F 6:00PM - 9:35PM
Sa 8:15AM - 4:30PM
F 6:00AM - 9:35PM
Sa 8:15AM - 4:30PM
F 6:00PM - 9:35PM
Sa 8:15AM - 4:30PM
Durham - North Carolina Wesleyan College $5,495.00 Enrollment Closed
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Admission is discretionary. Duke Continuing Studies-Professional Certificate Programs- requires students be a least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards. Students are not matriculated Duke University students and university student privileges do not apply to Continuing Studies students.

Admission Criteria

  • A four-year degree from an accredited university*
  • Computer literacy
  • Access to a computer throughout program
  • A valid email account
  • Fluency in English, including reading and writing
  • Registration complete via either phone or online
  • Resume/biography submitted prior to start of program (email to dukecfp@duke.edu)
  • Full tuition payment or loan approved prior to start date of program

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion,to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of, any student or applicant.

*A request for exception to the four-year degree admission requirement must be made in writing to the Program Director. Approval of exception is at the discretion of the Program Director.

*Students with a degree earned from a university outside the United States will need to verify eligibility of their institution with the CFP Board before applying for this program.

Certificate requirements

Successful completion of Duke University's program fulfills the education requirement for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® Certification. Each graduate of the program will be awarded a Duke University certificate of completion and will be eligible to apply for the CFP® Exam.

Completion of this program, while excellent preparation for the exam, does not guarantee success on the exam itself.

There are no mandatory attendance requirements for this program. However, it is expected that each student will attend classes to the best of his or her ability, and will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the materials by achieving a minimum score in each course. Courses one through six include multiple quizzes and exams. Course seven includes quizzes and group presentations.

It is the responsibility of the student to contact the instructor to make up missed exams and/or assignments. Instructors will work with students so long as the student is able to complete the test(s) within a timeframe established by the instructor.

Successful completion of the Duke program indicates a minimum score of 70 was achieved for each course and tuition was paid in full.

Upon completion of the entire program students will receive an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from Duke University.**

Official Duke Continuing Studies transcripts are available upon request for $10/copy.

**The certificate is non-credit thus it does not apply toward a degree.

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Schedule & Registration


Research Triangle Park Curriculum Schedule 2019-2020

Click here for schedule.


Be sure you meet registration Requirements.

  1. Refer to the Tuition and Payment section for tuition information.
  2. Note our Refund Policy under the Policies and Procedures section.

Registration methods:

  1. Register Online using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  • Note: If you are using the payment plan (2 payments equaling full tuition paid prior to start of the program, you must call to register.
  1. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST).

Please email a resume/biography denoting four-year degree to dukecfp@duke.edu.

You will receive confirmation of your acceptance. Course location, directions and other program details will be mailed 10 days prior to program start.

Questions? Call 919-684-6259 or 1-866-edu-Duke.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the time commitment required for study outside of the classroom?

Depending upon previous experience and education, a student should spend  a minimum of 1-2 hours outside of the classroom for every hour in the classroom.

This program requires readings and homework problems for each weekend of class. Multiple quizzes/exams and/or cases may also be administered during each course except for the Capstone course, in which students will be graded on both group presentations and individual cases/tests.

Students who intend to take the national CFP® Exam should expect to dedicate at least 200 hours of extra study beyond the study requirements for the Duke program.

How long is the program and how much does it cost?

This is a nine-month program consisting of seven courses: General Financial Planning Principles, Professional Conduct, and Regulation, Risk Management,  Insurance and Employee Benefits, Investment Planning, Retirement Planning, Income Tax Planning, Estate Planning and a Capstone Case Course in Financial Planning. Courses are required to be taken sequentially as each course is designed to lay the groundwork for the following course. Course seven, Capstone, integrates all the components from the previous six courses.

Full payment of $5495 for the program is required in advance of the start date as this program is purchased as one package. Two payment installments of $2745 and $2750 can be made prior to program start. The Duke program does not accept payments per course.

Students securing loans, WIA funding, etc., to pay for the program must receive funding approvaland must notify Continuing Studies of such approval, prior to the program start date. Information regarding program costs, loans and other funding sources is available in the Tuition & Payment section. 

How do I order materials and receive other program participation information?

10 - 14 days prior to program start, the materials list and directions for ordering will be emailed to you by the Program Director. Books are purchased on a course-by-course basis.
Other orientation materials such as syllabus, directions and required calculator will also be emailed to you.

Why choose Duke University’s Certificate in Financial Planning program over another program?

The Duke program is a unique collaboration between Duke University and Kaplan-Schweser. Duke’s reputation for educational excellence combined with Kaplan-Schweser content-based expertise ensures that students will receive the highest standard of training and instruction. Kaplan-Schweser is the leading provider of review materials and courses for the CFP® Exam.

Other benefits offered by the Duke certificate program:

  • Instructors, themselves, have passed the CFP® Exam and are industry practitioners in some capacity.
  • Students are exposed to different financial perspectives as multiple instructors teach during the program.
  • Instructors are trained to present the material in a manner that allows students to use their study time outside of class in an efficient and effective manner.
  • Multiple readings/problems/tests and/or cases are administered during each course enabling the student to quickly focus on weak areas and to adjust study habits accordingly. Repetition via classroom lectures, homework and consistent testing strengthens the student’s learning process.
  • In just nine months, students of the Duke program can complete the education requirement for CFP® certification, graduate, and apply for the CFP® Exam

How many students are typically enrolled in the Duke program?

Enrollment numbers vary between 10 and 25.

Why choose a (non-credit) certificate program?

Duke University has elected to offer this program as a certificate because such programs allow students to concentrate their studies to the specific content area relevant to their profession. By focusing the coursework, students are able to complete their education requirement in only nine-months and at a significantly lower cost than degree-granting programs.

I have already completed classes in a self-study program. Can I transfer course(s) to your program?

Duke University will allow students to transfer one course from another CFP Board-registered program. In addition, Duke will offer a tuition reduction of $500 for the exempted course. If granted an exemption from a course, you are still encouraged to attend the class and complete the class assignments to ensure you receive the best possible education and preparation for becoming a financial planner.

Registration for this discount/program cannot commence until the Program Director has been contacted about the discount, has received documentation verifying completion of a course and has given permission to register.

To get this discount, please call (919) 684-6259.

Note: No exemption or transfer applies to the Capstone Course.

What requirements must be met in order to earn the Duke Executive Certificate in Financial Planning?

Students must achieve a minimum score of 70 for each course and tuition must be paid in full. Failure to meet these requirements will delay receipt of the student’s certificate and prolong his/her eligibility to apply for the national CFP® Exam. For more information, see the Requirements section, section “Earning the Certificate.”

What is the process of attaining CFP® certification?

The CFP Board outlines four E’s for CFP® certification: Education, Examination, Experience and Ethics. (A four-year degree is also a requirement to pursue certification.)

  • Education - The Education requirement can be fulfilled by successfully completing Duke’s Executive Certificate in Financial Planning program. Completing the education requirement does not guarantee success on the exam. Additional study is required by the student to prepare for the exam. Certain professionals such as a Ph.D., D.B.A., JD, CFA, CPA, ChFC or CLU may challenge the exam. Once you become a CFP® certificant, you will be required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
  • Examination - The CFP® Exam is given three times per year in March, July and November. The CFP Board issues a topic list covering nearly 100 financial planning topics a candidate should be prepared to answer at the evaluation level or lower. The CFP Board requires applicants to take all the courses in a CFP Board-registered program such as the Duke program. No coursework substitution is allowed. For information on transferring credits, see question #7 above.
  • Experience - In order to receive CFP® certification, the candidate must meet certain experience requirements. Three years of related work experience is necessary. In addition, this experience must be completed in the 10 years preceding the exam or 5 years after passing the exam.
  • Ethics - CFP® certificants are required to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards. In addition, CFP® certificants are required to disclose to the CFP Board if involved in a criminal or civil proceeding.

Do you provide assistance with employment?

No, we do not provide assistance as our program is only approved to offer the required education component by the CFP board. Students are encouraged to contact financial agencies/firms through their own endeavors to secure employment.

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All instructors in the Executive Certificate of Financial Planning program have passed the CFP® exam. Multiple instructors teach in the program thus offering students the benefit of being exposed to different perspectives of the financial planning industry. Instructors present the material in a manner that allows students to utilize their time efficiently and effectively outside of the classroom, thus helping students succeed in this intensive, fast-paced program.

Jane Marcks, CFP®, CASL®, CLU®, CRPC®, and BFA®

Jane has had the pleasure of working in the financial industry for over 20 years, the last 15 years with Fidelity Investments, specializing in retirement planning. She currently leads a team of financial planners in the Workplace Planning and Advice group. She holds six FINRA license and one life/health/annuity insurance license. Since 2014, her passion for learning led her to teach a variety of CFP® classes, in multiple states. 

Jane has a BA in Political Science from the University of Maine at Orono.

Charles Ostholm, CPA, CFP®

Chuck began his career in financial services in the 1990s and is currently a senior advisor to private clients of an independent Registered Investment Advisor and broker-dealer in Florida. As a Certified Public Accountant, he also works for an affiliated CPA firm, providing tax consulting and other services. Chuck has been a CFP® professional since 2002 and holds five FINRA licenses and several insurance licenses. In his financial advisory role, he frequently works with estate and tax attorneys. As an instructor since 2011, Chuck has taught most of the CFP® education modules. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and has done graduate work in business.

Tom Pemberton, CFA®, CFP®

Tom owns and runs Pemberton Financial Planning, specializing in portfolio management, risk management and financial planning. Prior to opening his own business, Tom worked for Bank of America as Senior Vice President-Senior Trader Federal Funds/Euro Dollars. In this position he was responsible for managing the bank’s cash position at the Federal Reserve. He also was a Senior Euro Dollar Term Book Manager & Foreign Currency Arbitrage Trader, responsible for managing term Euro book of $1 to $2 billion size.

Tom has a BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. He attended the National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University in Illinois and the National Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Bill Yurkovac, CFP®

Bill is an independent advisor providing planning expertise for wealth management in a practice focused on high net worth needs analysis, insurance, asset management and estate planning. Before establishing his independent practice he worked as a Relationship manager for the affluent market for the Bank of America Private Bank.

Bill also has worked for American Express Financial Advisors where as Senior Financial Advisor he initiated fee-based financial planning analysis and developed and implemented comprehensive financial plans; provided asset management and account service. He also worked for Henco, Inc. directing total marketing operations in a tri-state area for this national fund-raising group serving community organizations and school districts and was a teacher and curriculum Coordinator for Yough High School in Herminie, Pennsylvania.

Bill has a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Duquesne University.



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Tuition & Funding Sources



Books and Financial Calculator are not included in the tuition. You should budget $800 for required books and $100 for calculator.

Duke Employee Discount

• $100 off the fee of $5495
Duke employee pays fee of $5395
• Student must register and pay tuition in full or have loan “certified” by Duke Continuing Studies, prior to the program start date, in order to reserve space in the program for that term.
• Questions:  Contact Program Manager at 919-684-2601

Discount must be requested and applied during the registration process and cannot be applied in addition to any other discount that may be offered.* You may be asked to verify your status as a Duke employee.

*Exception: Duke employee, upon furnishing documentation of a course completion in another approved Financial Planning Board of Standards’ registered program, and with permission of the Program Manager, may be eligible for an additional one-time $500 reduction in tuition. Contact Program Manager for more information.

Group Discount

Do you have a group (Duke or non-Duke entity) interested in training?

Contact the Program Manager for details.

Payment Plan

A payment plan, for those not securing a loan, is available for the tuition of $5,495*:

  • Due at initial Registration: $2745
  • Remainder of tuition due by the first day of class: $2750

To establish this plan call 919-684-6259.

Please note: If full payment is not received by the first day of class, student will not be permitted to attend the program.

*Tuition does not include books. Book (and calculator) information will be emailed within 10 days prior to program start date.

Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.


Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs. Some of our programs may offer payment plans. Please see individual program web pages for those details.

Duke Continuing Studies courses are non-degree offerings. Therefore, loans (Wells Fargo Graduate loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Undergraduate loan, etc.) cannot be construed to imply any degree-seeking status.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition, regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Students needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the student.

Should a student choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, select the Undergraduate Student Loan and then click Apply Now. The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

  • Scroll over Student Loans on the top of screen
  • Select Smart Option Student Loan under Undergraduate Student Loans
  • Click Get Started
  • Fill out Student General Information
  • Fill out Permanent Address
  • Fill out School Information
  • DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school
  • Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study
  • Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options
  • Select Half Time for Enrollment Status
  • Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level
  • Enter your Academic Period of the Loan
  • Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion
  • Follow the remaining loan application prompts

Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

For information on the Wells Fargo Graduate Loan, please see this Disclosure document. To apply for this loan, visit Wells Fargo. Duke Continuing Studies will be required to certify your loan application for the Graduate Loan should you be approved by Wells Fargo.

You will need to enter the following information after clicking on Apply Now in the Before Starting Your Application section:

  • Find a loan for: Graduate School Expenses
  • I am a: Student
  • School state: North Carolina
  • School name: please type Duke University Continuing Education
  • Grade Level: Beyond 3rd Year Graduate
  • Field of Study: Undecided or select Other and type in the field of study
  • Citizenship: Select as appropriate

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.

Workforce Investment Act

The WIA provides professional and basic skills training services to those who have been unable to find employment. Please keep in mind that this process can be lengthy, so plan to apply well in advance of the program start date.  For more information on eligibility, the application process, or to find your local Workforce Development Board, visit the NC JobLink Career Center website.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.


The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides up to $4,000 (over 2 years) of Financial Assistance for military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification, or Associates degree in a portable career field and occupation. For more information, please visit the MyCAA website.

Wire Transfers

Contact our registration office at learnmore@duke.edu for details on how to send wire transfers. Very specific instructions must be followed in order for our office to receive a successful transfer.

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Policies & Procedures

Students who withdraw prior to the start of the 2nd weekend, will receive a 90% refund, minus a $100 processing fee. All withdrawals after the 2nd weekend receive no refund, but student may request of Program Director to enroll in the next program offering. The Program Director has discretion to determine whether student can be re-enrolled. Send withdrawal and refund requests to CFP Program Manager (dukecfp@duke.edu). In the event a program is cancelled, students will be refunded their tuition in its entirety.

Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full or pro-rated refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”

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