Student Series: Meet Besart!

Meet Besart Lumi!  Besart is originally from the Republic of Kosovo, and he is a current 2nd year student in our MA Conflict Resolution program.  Check out Besart’s thoughts on his experience in the Con Res program and his internship.


Witnessing China’s Development

David LunaBefore coming to China I knew the U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. I also knew engagement with China is critical to addressing almost every regional and global challenge we face.  Working in the Political section allowed me to be part of that engagement and see firsthand the intricacies of diplomacy and attain a better understanding of U.S. and Chinese foreign policy. Prior to arriving in Beijing I took Professor Suisheng (Sam) Zhao’s course, “Politics of China’s Modernization,” where we examined China’s role in the international system and debated scenarios for China’s future trajectory. It was fascinating to witness China’s development along with its challenges up close, especially through a diplomatic purview.

One of the things that made Beijing so exciting was the importance of the work, the access, and the audience. There is a tremendous thirst back in DC and the wider policy community for what Embassy Beijing produces. It felt rewarding to see such an interest in what I was contributing to. The highlight of the summer was serving as the control officer’s aide for National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s visit.  My experience also made me feel somewhat more optimistic about the U.S. – China relationship. There was not the constant cynical and overly sensational coverage of the relationship that permeated news coverage back in the U.S., albeit reticent Chinese State media had something to do with this.

David Luna

– 2014 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow

– MA Candidate in International Security, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Expected 2016

New beginnings!

In my humble opinion, this is the BEST time of the year! The temperature begins to soar (but not the humidity here in Colorado), decks/patios are the preferred dining areas, Red Rocks summer concert tickets are confirmed and the grass is vibrantly green…new beginnings! Granted, it’s week 10 so students are maxed out at this point but graduation is next Friday and we will congratulate approximately 200 new alums while the first year MA candidates will venture to exotic locales and partake in amazing internships. New beginnings!

As I was strolling across campus en route to a meeting, I saw the most lovely sign of late spring/early summer – a momma duck with 10 baby ducklings (image below). New beginnings! For those of you joining us this summer/fall, recently graduated from college, decided to quit your job and travel for the next three months before beginning grad school or are moving to Denver this summer – congratulations! Cheers to new beginnings!

new beginnings at the University of Denver

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


How can I afford graduate school?

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the cost of graduate school. Rightly so… there’s no way to sugar coat the fact that grad school is expensive, especially at a private institution. While the Office of Graduate Admissions can’t reduce the tuition, we can certainly point you in the direction of resources that make it more affordable on the front and back ends.

For those of you in the early phase of your graduate school search, I encourage you to peruse our list of external scholarships for graduate applicants/students.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it is a comprehensive guide to external scholarships, grants and fellowships specifically for those interested in schools/careers in international affairs.

These external scholarships are of course in addition to Josef Korbel School scholarships which range from $10,000 to full tuition.

The thought of taking out $50,000 or more in loans to cover graduate school tuition is daunting to put it lightly. The thought of sleeping in your parent’s basement, inability to cover bills, exchanging your car for a bike and not indulging at your favorite restaurant every few weeks gives rise to sleepless, anxiety filled evenings when considering life after the six-month loan grace period.

There are two, fairly new federal programs that are particularly helpful to prospective and current graduate students interested in careers in international studies/affairs/relations: Income Based Repayment (IBR) and the Public Loan Forgiveness program.

Income Based Repayment
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a repayment plan for the major types of federal student loans that caps your required monthly payment at an amount intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.

To qualify for Income-Based Repayment, the following:

  • You must demonstrate partial financial hardship to qualify.
  • Payments are 15% of your discretionary income. (Discretionary income equals your Adjusted Gross Income minus 150% of the Federal Poverty Rate).
  • Payments are adjusted annually based on your Adjusted Gross Income and family size.
  • Payments can be as low  as zero.
  • If, after 25 years of payments, there is still a principal or interest balance on your loan, this remaining amount can be forgiven. For individuals who qualify for Public Service Loan. Forgiveness (see below), the forgiveness can occur after 10 years of payments.
  • Use this IBR Loan Calculator to determine if you qualify for the IBR plan.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, you can qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your federal student loans after you have made 120 payments while employed full-time by certain public service employers. The 120 required payments need to be made under the Direct Loan (DL) Program (meaning you may need to consolidate your loans into the DL Program upon graduation if your current loans are borrowed through the bank-based FFEL program).

To qualify, you must make payments under one of the following repayment programs:

  • Income Based Repayment.
  • Income Contingent Repayment.
  • Standard Repayment.

I hope this information is helpful as you consider your graduate school options. Be in touch if you have any questions,

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