Need money to pay for grad school? Read this post.

The first of this month greets us with temperatures in the high 50s (although expecting snow tonight) and the priority deadline for submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For those of you who have yet to complete this form, it is in your best interest to do it as soon as you receive your tax forms and ideally before the February 15th priority deadline. In doing so, you will be considered for need based funding such as federal direct loans, PLUS loans, Perkins loans, work study and any other federal funding available for graduate students with financial need (which is pretty much everyone). Keep in mind that, as a graduate student, you are considered independent so your parents’ financial situation is not taken into consideration. I believe this is the ONLY time when it’s great to have a $0 Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) aka not making any money.

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

As most of you know, the Josef Korbel School offers an array of merit scholarships to competitive applicants however, most do not cover the full tuition. Below you will find descriptions of additional resources to help you afford your graduate school education.

FAFSA priority deadline for incoming students (U.S. citizens)

is February 15

In filing the FAFSA, applicants are considered for the following need-based funding:

Federal Direct loans – First line of defense. Generally, graduate students will receive the maximum loan allocation of $20,500 each academic year (@ fixed interest rate of 6.8%). 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.

Federal Grad PLUS loan – Second line of defense. This loan can cover the remaining balance if you want to take out the total cost of attendance.

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

Private loans
– not ideal as terms vary – research the PLUS loans before committing to a private loan.

Work study  Opportunities to work on and off campus are available through the Federal work study program. Most graduate students receive a $5,000 award which will paid through bi-weekly paychecks. That is of course, after you accept the award, interview and get a job offer.

For more information about the University of Denver’s (DU) cost of attendance, how to apply for Federal direct, PLUS and Perkins loans, visit DU’s Office of Financial Aid website.

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, but by no means exhaustive, 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’m sure you all are anxiously awaiting your admissions decision from the Josef Korbel School. If you completed your application by (or within 2-3 weeks from) the January 15th priority, you will be hearing from our office around early March. We will email decisions to the email address you provided on your application. If this address has changed, please contact our office so we can send it to the appropriate address. You can reach us at 303.871.2544 or via email:

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


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







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