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








The priority deadline has passed…now what?!

We begin the transition from frenetic calls about tardy transcripts and absent-minded recommenders to what do I do now?

If you submitted your application and ALL supplemental documents
Well done! Likely you received an email from the Office of Graduate Studies notifying you that your application was forwarded to the Josef Korbel School. You should have also received an email from our office (Graduate Admissions) confirming receipt of your application and forwarding it to the Admissions Review Committee. While you can breathe a deep sigh of relief that the next application step is out of your control, you still have homework to do. That’s right, homework. To fill the time between now and when we will announce admissions decisions (around early March), I recommend continuing your graduate school research so when you are accepted to ALL the schools you applied to, you can make a thoroughly informed decision. Here are a few areas I recommend checking out on the Josef Korbel School site and comparing with other schools:

Current student blogs
Career and internship information
News and events
International student info
Cost of attendance, Korbel scholarships and external scholarships

If you submitted your application but have one or more documents outstanding (and therefore an incomplete application)
First things first – BREATHEEEEE. It’s ok if your degree transcript arrived at 12:01am on January 16 (which it didn’t b/c it was MLK day and NOTHING arrived that day, so really we received it on the 17). Even if we received it on the 18, 19, 20 or early next week, it is perfectly fine and we will still consider it received by the January 15 deadline and if your application is complete, the committee will evaluate you for admission AND merit scholarships. We will continue to accept applications and supplemental materials, and review completed applications until our class is filled. When will that happen? I have no idea – that’s the risk you are taking by not completing your application by the 15th.

My second recommendation: check the status of your application often, give it 8-10 business days for us to receive and process your documents and hassle those recommenders if they continue to forget to submit their letters! Keep in mind that we only need two recommendations and it takes ETS approximately 10-12 business days to submit GRE scores.  Once your application is complete, refer to the section above.

With that, I will get back to reviewing applications. Let me just say – it’s such a pleasure getting to know all of you. Brad and I, along with the rest of the review committee, really enjoy this aspect of our job so thank you for all of your hard work and for being such exceptional applicants!

Apparently many of you read our blog because we had very few emails and calls this Tuesday (and after the previous admissions blog). My apologies if I scared you from contact us. Please don’t hesitate to give us a ring or shoot us an email if you have any questions or concerns. However, based on the number of applications received, it seems like you are all successfully navigating the application process!


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

Back from break!

Happy New  Year!

On behalf of the Office of Graduate Admissions, I wish you many personal, professional and academic successes in 2012. I have a feeling it will be a terrific year and our 2012 cohort is going to be one of the best on record.

We are wrapping up the first week of the winter 2012 quarter and you can definitely differentiate between the first-year and second-year students, when asked, “How was your break?”

Typical first-year student response: “It was good. I read a lot of books but it was too long. I was bored…it’s great to be back.”
Typical second-year student response: “It went way too fast, I wish we had a few more weeks.”

Little do the first-year students know, the next 20 weeks of their lives will be rather intense, to say the least. You see, we have a nice long  break between the fall and winter quarters. Six weeks to be exact. However, the long haul has just begun – 10 weeks of classes, a week for spring break (at which time, many courses require final papers during that week) and then another ten weeks of classes. By finals week of spring quarter,  (June 4-7), the cafe can hardly keep up with the queue of bloodshot eyed, nail-biting, walking zombies.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

However, if you have yet to submit your application, time is ticking! The January 15 priority deadline is quickly approaching. Our office has received quite a few calls this week from applicants who haven’t hit the submit button and are checking to see if we received their transcripts, letters of rec, GRE scores, etc. Here’s the challenge: until you hit the submit button, we cannot review your electronic file because… you don’t have one! So do yourself (and us) a favor and make the final tweaks to your statement of purpose and resume and submit your application so we can better assist you!  I look forward to seeing your application next week.

click submit

Enjoy the weekend,

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