DU students endure costs of college

Receiving their acceptance letter to the University of Denver is a very exciting time for students as they embark on the journey of obtaining their degree and entering the real world beyond school.

University Hall at DU where Financial Aid office is located

However, this time may also be a stressful one as DU students begin to start thinking about how they are going to pay for the next four years of their undergraduate education.

An average DU student will expect to pay yearly tuition and room and board fees as well as for student activity and health and counseling fees. This does not include indirect costs, which include books, transportation, parking, food, health insurance and personal necessities.

As these costs rack up, the average college student might find themselves having to work a part time job (or two), apply for financial aid, student loans and scholarships as well as seek help from their parents in order to pay for their education. This can be a large financial burden on many, especially if they or their family are not as financially stable as others.


Average costs of college soar

Students attending four years of an undergraduate program at DU will expect to pay on average about $50, 000 per year for the basic direct costs, which include their tuition, room and board and fees. The Tuition and Types of Aid portion of the DU website breaks down these costs.

On top of the 50 grand, there are a number of indirect costs that include books, transportation and personal expenses. For books alone, the average cost is $2, 000 per year.

In addition to these costs, students are required to have health insurance. Students may use outside health insurance and must be able to show proof of at least a $500, 000 aggregate. If they do not have this, they are required to purchase one through DU, which is about $2, 400 per year. Students must also pay a mandatory student activity fee, which is about $320 per year. More information on this can be found on the DU Admissions website.

All incoming students must also bring or purchase a laptop. The average cost of a laptop can vary. For more information on the specifications and requirements for DU, visit the University Technology Services website.


DU students feel weight of financial burden

Like many of the students who apply to attend DU for their undergraduate education, DU juniors Kelli Mowrey, McKenna Toonen, Julie Clinton and Danzal Hollis agree that the cost of receiving an education here is quite high.

Toonen and Mowrey both agree that the basic costs of school is a constant stress factor in the lives of average college students. Toonen states, “I know for me personally it is almost a daily stressor because everything related to school is so expensive”.

Toonen works part time as a tutor for high school students. She says working is necessary for her because without the extra income, although it is small, she would not be able to cover the extra costs of college such as books, food and transportation.

She comments on some of the extra costs, “The cost of books, especially, is outrageous, especially when it is a mandatory expense and there is little to no help from the university to help students pay for them”.

Mowrey also comments on the price of an education at DU, “I think that for students coming from a middle to lower-middle class background (like myself) have a hard time swallowing the price tag that DU puts out”.

She says she probably would not have been able to attend DU had she not received the Boettcher Scholarship, which also provides some money toward her rent this year for an off campus apartment.

She also states that she has paid a lot more attention to the extra costs this year due to living off campus for the first time. She says she has to pay more attention to what she’s spending her money on, especially when it comes to food and necessities.

Clinton agrees with the others in thinking that the cost of her education is through the roof.  Also coming from a middle-class background, like Mowrey, she believes that keeping up with the financial side of college is quite stressful.

She states, “The cost of attending DU is a huge burden on my family and me. Even after applying for scholarships and financial aid, we still have to pay out of pocket to cover the cost of tuition, and I don’t even live on campus”.

Having to drive to school everyday puts another cost on the shoulders of Clinton because the cost of gas adds up. She works a part time job in order to be able to put gas in her car and pay for necessities, books and parking at DU.

Hollis believes that the cost of DU is extremely high compared to other universities, and that books should be included for all students to help them lessen their financial burden.

She also states that the extra costs of DU are high especially for students who live on campus because they either have to pay for a meal plan or eat out, which adds up quickly.


Students receive help through financial aid

Three of the above four students, Toonen, Clinton and Hollis, apply for financial aid in order to help them pay for their education here at DU. Applying with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, helps many students at DU pay for their undergraduate education.

Inside lobby of Financial Aid office in University Hall

In order to apply for this aid, the student must have their parent’s tax returns or their own (if applying as an independent) to fill out the application.

For Toonen and Hollis, their parent’s tax returns are used to fill out their FAFSA application. They receive government aid based on their parent’s earnings.

Clinton’s situation is different. She applies for FAFSA using her own taxes, as she files as an independent due to family circumstances.

Another useful way to apply for financial aid is through the CSS Profile. This is a national, non-profit membership association that is dedicated to helping college students pay for their education.

The DU Financial Aid website can assist students in applying for these forms of aid, or they can meet with a financial aid advisor to get further help.

Also, students can visit the FAFSA website and the CSS Profile website for direct information. 

One Response to DU students endure costs of college

  • tastbury
    tastbury says:

    Your article was informative and I liked how you interviewed more than three students because it gave more perspectives. However, I would have recommended that you interviewed a financial aid advisor to get more information about DU’s cost and what students can do.
    I also liked how you talked about costs that aren’t included in DU’s tuition breakdown (i.e. food, gas).
    Your video was done well and creative because you didn’t videotape an interview, which is what’s typically done.
    Also instead of saying, “for more information…” you should state another fact or have a different type of sentence that you can integrate a link in.

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