Cost to Attend DU
Making sure your program is the right financial investment is an important part of the graduate school search process. We want to make sure the cost of a DU education is clear and that every student fully understands and takes advantage of all the financial resources available.
What does "cost of attendance" mean?
If you are admitted to DU and apply for financial aid, you will see a cost of attendance (COA) listed on your financial aid offer. Cost of attendance (COA)—a common financial aid phrase—is an estimate of the total cost of attending a college or university for one academic year. It doesn't only include tuition and fees, and is not the bill you'll receive from DU. It takes into account all of the expenses an average student might have for that year, including basic living costs.
The COA on your financial aid offer (also known as a "student budget") serves two purposes:
- to give you an estimate of the cost to attend DU for one year, and
- to set a limit on the amount of financial aid you can receive during the academic year (which federal regulations require us to do).
This means your actual expenses—especially items like housing, meals and transportation—will likely be different. Your tuition charges may be different as well, and will depend on the number of credits you take each term. It also means the combined amount of all your financial aid (including loans) can't exceed the COA listed on your financial aid offer.
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Direct vs. Indirect Costs
Every cost of attendance is made up of both direct and indirect costs.
Direct costs are charges that will appear on your University bill, which you'll receive each quarter or semester you're enrolled. These include tuition, fees and health insurance (if enrolled in the DU plan).
All financial aid you receive (including student loans) will first pay toward your bill, so you'll end up paying less than the full amount of direct costs listed for your program once your aid is applied.
Indirect costs, on the other hand, will not appear on your bill. Instead, these are estimated costs associated with attending graduate school, such as books, off-campus housing, meals and transportation expenses.
Many full-time graduate students choose to borrow student loans to help pay for these additional costs. Just remember that the total amount of your financial aid can't exceed the cost of attendance listed on your aid offer.
Cost of Attendance Examples
These are just a few examples of cost of attendance figures for graduate students. The COA for your program will be listed on your financial aid offer.
How your Cost of Attendance is Calculated
Most students will see the following components included in their COA:
- Tuition: The amount of tuition listed on your financial aid offer is based on the average enrollment of students in your program. The amount you'll actually be charged, however, will depend on the number of credits you take each quarter or semester. Tuition rates typically increase by 3-5% each academic year.
- Please note: Although your COA assumes a certain number of credits per term, we can make adjustments if you plan to enroll in more credits than what your aid offer shows by submitting an enrollment adjustment form.
- Fees: All graduate students are charged a technology fee of $4 per credit, and most are charged a student activity fee. Your bill will itemize the specific fees for your program.
- Health Insurance: Many full-time graduate students are automatically enrolled in and charged for the DU Student Health Insurance Program. If you are covered by another plan, you can waive participation in this plan.
- Books: This is an estimate of the cost of books and supplies for a typical student in your program. You are not billed directly by DU for books or supplies.
- Housing & Meals: This is an estimate of the cost of off-campus housing and food in the University of Denver area. To determine these costs, we research the cost of living in the DU area and use recommended guidelines published by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Your actual costs will likely be different.
- Transportation: This is an estimate of the cost of traveling to and from campus or other transportation needs related to your graduate program. Unless you buy a DU parking permit, you will not be billed directly for transportation costs.
- Personal Expenses: This is an estimate of other day-to-day costs such as clothing, haircuts, entertainment, etc. Money actually spent on these items will vary from student to student.
- Loan Fees: There is an origination fee for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan, which is taken out of the loan before funds are sent to DU. The cost listed for loan fees is the average fee for students who borrow these loans last year—actual fees depend on the amount borrowed.
Enrollment Adjustments for Law Students
If you're a law student, your cost of attendance and financial aid are based on the typical enrollment of students in your program:
- Full-time JD students and most LLM and master's students: 12-15 credits
- Part-time JD students: 8-11 credits
- Part-time MSLA students: 4-7 credits
We verify the enrollment of all students enrolled in the Sturm College of Law (with the exception of graduate tax students) at the end of the 100% add/drop period each semester. If you are enrolled for fewer or more credits than listed above—or you're enrolled for both semester and quarter credits—you may need to have your cost of attendance and financial aid adjusted. If you are enrolled in fewer credits than anticipated, your financial aid refund may be too large and DU will bill you for overpayment after the end of the add/drop period. If you are enrolled in more credits than anticipated, you will receive a smaller refund to use for living expenses (if you plan on borrowing for those).
You can revise your cost of attendance by completing an enrollment adjustment form and indicating your intended enrollment in the "Standard Enrollment Adjustment" or "Dual-Degree Enrollment" sections.
Additional Notes About Your COA
- For federal student aid eligibility, half-time enrollment is considered 4 credits per quarter/semester, and full-time enrollment is considered 8 credits or more per quarter/semester.
- If you apply for aid, your financial aid offer will itemize the costs that make up your individual student budget.
- Federal regulations require us to set a limit on the amount of aid you can receive. This means your total aid — including scholarships, assistantships/fellowships, loans, work-study and other resources (such as AmeriCorps and employer-paid tuition benefits) — cannot exceed your cost of attendance.
- Unless otherwise noted on your financial aid offer, student budgets do not include costs for the summer quarter/semester. Eligibility for financial aid for the summer is limited; if you need financial aid for the summer, you must complete a separate application in the spring.
- To be fair and to stay in compliance with federal regulations, we cannot change student budgets based on discretionary expenses. We may, however, be able to make adjustments to your cost of attendance for reasons outlined on the budget adjustment form. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and do not guarantee additional financial aid.
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