Cost of Attendance Overview

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.

To see the typical costs of your program, begin by choosing your college or school:


Tuition vs. Total Cost of Attendance

Cost of attendance (COA)—a common financial aid term—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. If you are admitted to DU and apply for financial aid, you will see a COA listed on your award letter. 

The COA on your award letter (also known as a "student budget") serves two purposes:

  1. to give you an estimate of the cost to attend DU for one year, and
  2. 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. It also means the combined amount of all your financial aid (including loans) can't exceed the COA listed on your award letter. 

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Direct vs. Indirect Costs

What will I pay to DU?

Every cost of attendance is made up of both direct and indirect costs.

Direct Costs:

Direct costs are charges that will appear on your University bill, which you'll receive each quarter or semester you're enrolled. For graduate students, these typically only include tuition and fees. All financial aid you receive (including student loans) will first be applied to your bill before you're asked to pay the remaining amount, so you'll likely end up paying less than the full amount of direct costs listed for your program.

Direct costs are set by the University of Denver, and change every year. Tuition typically increases by no more than five percent per academic year.

Indirect Costs:

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, housing and transportation expenses) and are intended to be used as budgetary guidelines. 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 award letter.

To determine indirect costs, we research the cost of living in the DU area and use recommended guidelines published by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. These costs change slightly each year.

image of bell tower

What's included in the cost of attendance?

Most students will see the following line-items included in their COA:

  • Tuition: The amount of tuition listed on your award letter is based on the typical enrollment of students in your program. The amount you'll actually be charged by DU, however, will depend on the number of credits you take each quarter or semester.
  • 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. 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.

Additional Notes About Your COA

  • For most programs and for federal student aid eligibility, half-time enrollment is considered 4 credits per quarter, and full-time enrollment is considered 8 credits or more per quarter.
  • If you apply for aid, your financial aid award letter 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 award letter, student budgets do not include costs for the summer quarter. 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.