A word about financial aid

Let me start out by saying, it’s been such a pleasure reading your applications! We love learning more about future Korbel students. We have applicants from Uzbekistan, Italy, Venezuela and India to name a few countries. Applicants representing Peking University, Boston University, Whittier College, Indiana University – Bloomington, Michigan State University and the United States Military Academy, for example. Not to mention applicants covering a wide variety of professional and academic backgrounds.

Just when you thought all the boxes have been checked on your graduate school to-do list, I am here to tell you that you are not quite done yet. The fun has only just begun…

I would like to take a moment to talk about  financing your graduate school education. Before you click the “X” in the top right of your screen, please read this now, rather than waiting until March-April when funding opportunities become much more limited.

The Josef Korbel School offers an array of scholarships to competitive applicants however,  the majority do not cover the full tuition. As such, the following will provide additional resources to help you afford your graduate school education.

For those of you who are not aware, the FAFSA submission priority deadline for incoming  students (U.S. citizens)  is March 1st. Regardless of what graduate school you plan on attending, it is recommended that you submit your application sooner than later to be considered for need based funding. Also, regardless of your parent’s income, you will need to fill out the FAFSA unless you are independently wealthy. To clarify (because yes, this question has come up), as a graduate student, you are considered an independent and therefore your filing is based on your income (or lack thereof). To start filing your FAFSA, click here.

In filing the FAFSA, applicants will also be considered for the following need based funding:

Stafford loans – Generally, graduate students will receive the maximum Stafford loan allocation of $20,500 each academic year. This amount includes a $12,000 unsubsidized loan and a $8,500 subsidized loan. The difference is that the former accrues interest while you are enrolled in school.

Perkins loans – Graduate students can receive up to $3,000 per year at a subsidized interest rate (5%) while enrolled in school.

Work study
– Opportunities to work on and off campus are available through the Federal work study program.  I believe (don’t quote me) the box to check on the FAFSA is #26 to express interest in being considered for such funding. If you don’t express interest, you will not be considered for work study, regardless of your unmet financial need. Most graduate students receive a $5,000 award which will paid through bi-weekly paychecks. That is of course, after you interview and get a job.

The next line of loan defense is a PLUS loan. This will cover the balance remaining of the total cost of attendance.

For more information about the University of Denver’s (DU) cost of attendance, Stafford loans, Perkins loans and Plus loans, visit DU’s Office of Financial Aid website.

The final line of loan defense is a private loan. These loans generally have a higher interest rate than PLUS loans so be sure to compare before selecting this option. For a list of private lenders, click here.

Often times, we have applicants calling/emailing us about external scholarship/grant suggestions. Unfortunately, more often than not, these queries come in April, May…August at which time the deadlines have long passed. Now that you are in application mode, dust off your to do list and start gathering documents for external scholarships. We have an extensive list of graduate funding opportunities on the Korbel website. We also have a list of scholarships specifically for International students which you can find by clicking here. Determine which ones you qualify for, when the deadlines are and get your applications in!

I hope this information is helpful. Be in touch if you have any questions.


Nicole Vilegi
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies


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