Page 1


Award Letter

Dear Future Pioneer and Family, Congratulations on your admission to the University of Denver! We recognize both the significant investment and exceptional value of a DU education, and we’re here to help you navigate the financial aid process.


Understanding Your Award Letter

Enclosed is your financial aid award letter, which outlines the aid we are offering you as well as estimated costs and anticipated out-of-pocket expenses. Carefully review your award letter and this enclosure, which provides additional information to help you fully understand your aid options.


Scholarships, Grants and Work-Study


Federal Student Loan Basics


Managing Out-of-Pocket Costs


Federal Parent PLUS Loan Basics


Frequently Asked Questions

We are committed to helping you fund your DU education. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to working with you this year!


Comparing Financial Aid Award Offers


Award Comparison Worksheet

Sincerely, John Gudvangen Assistant Vice Chancellor of Enrollment and Director of Financial Aid


In this guide:

12 Contact Information and Additional Resources



The aid listed on your award letter is based on a combination of factors, including your: • academic profile • financial aid application • household size • number of household members in college Will costs change each year? • housing plans Based on information from prior • income and asset information

years, you should anticipate a small increase in costs annually. When determining a strategy to finance your DU education, be sure you can rely on that strategy for four years.


The cost of attendance listed on your award letter (also known as your student budget) is a summary of the estimated costs you will incur during the 2018-19 academic year (excluding summer). It includes both direct and indirect costs. • Direct costs are items that will be billed by the University of Denver, such as tuition, fees, and housing and meals (if you live on campus). • Indirect costs are based on estimated costs associated with attending DU, but will not appear on your University bill. These include items such as books and transportation. Here’s a sample breakdown of what each line item means as a full-time student living on campus:

Direct Costs:

Line Item

What It Means


Reflects cost if enrolled in 12-18 credits (full time) for each quarter; students are charged a flat tuition rate if enrolled in 12-18 credits


Includes health fee and RTD fee (which covers cost of using Denver bus and light rail services)


Weighted average of a double-occupancy room on campus


Cost of the meal plan a majority of students choose

Indirect Costs: Transportation Expenses

Allowance for the cost of traveling to and from campus or the cost of operating and maintaining a vehicle

Personal Expenses

Allowance for the cost of clothing, haircuts, entertainment, etc. for the year


Allowance for the cost of books and supplies for a typical student for the year

Average Loan Fees

Average fee for students who borrow federal student loans; actual fees will depend on the amount you borrow (if any)

DETAILS AND CONDITIONS OF YOUR AWARD Your award is only for the 2018-19 academic year, and you must apply for need-based financial aid every year you attend the University of Denver. Your awards are subject to change each year based on the information provided on your financial aid application. If your housing plans change from what you initially indicated on your FAFSA (on-campus, with parents, etc.), your cost of attendance and financial aid award may be adjusted. Financial aid for summer is not automatically included in your award letter; if you need financial aid for summer, a separate application (available each spring) is required. Find additional policies on our website at 3


These are the most common awards offered to University of Denver students. Your award letter may not include all of the awards below, or may include other awards not described here. Grants, scholarships and work-study do not have to be repaid.

DU Scholarships and Grants: ■ Merit Scholarships

You are automatically considered for merit scholarships when you apply for admission to DU; if eligible, it will be included on your financial aid award letter. As long as you remain a full-time student in good academic standing, you will receive the same merit scholarship for 12 consecutive quarters (excluding summer quarters). Questions about your merit scholarship? Contact Undergraduate Admission at 303-871-2036 or

Residence Hall Grant

Students who are eligible for a merit scholarship will also be awarded the Residence Hall Grant, which pays directly toward the tuition costs on your bill. To receive this grant, you must be enrolled full time and live on campus. You are eligible to receive the Residence Hall Grant for 12 consecutive quarters (excluding summer), as long as you live in eligible on-campus housing. If you move off campus (junior and senior years, for example), you will no longer be eligible for this grant.

DU Educational Grant

The DU Educational Grant (DUEG) is need-based. You must be enrolled full-time and remain in good academic standing to receive this grant. DUEG is not automatically renewed annually—you must reapply for need-based financial aid every year in order to be considered. Because it’s needbased, the amount you receive in future years may change depending on changes to your family’s financial situation as reflected on the CSS Profile.

Work-Study: Work-study is a highly sought-after need-based award that allows students to work on campus (or with an approved off-campus employer) to earn money to pay for college expenses. If you have been offered work-study, the amount listed on your award letter is the maximum amount you can earn during the 2018-19 academic year. You do not have to repay it, but you must work to earn it. Earnings are not paid directly to your tuition bill; instead, you will receive a paycheck every two weeks for hours worked to use for personal expenses, books, etc. 4

Federal and State Grants: ■ Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is need-based. If you have been offered the Pell Grant, the amount listed on your award letter assumes you will be enrolled full time; if you are enrolled less than full time, that amount will be prorated. Award amounts change yearly as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Colorado Student Grant

College Opportunity Fund

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. Although many students may qualify for SEOG, this award is not offered to all eligible students because of limited funding. Through funds provided by the Colorado General Assembly, the Colorado Student Grant is awarded to Colorado residents with high financial need. You must be enrolled at least half time to receive this grant.

Through funds provided by the Colorado General Assembly, the College Opportunity Fund (COF) is available to Colorado residents who have been awarded the Federal Pell Grant. This fund is not included on award letters—you must apply separately over the summer online at COF recipients receive $26.00 per credit hour.

Merit-Based vs. Need-Based Eligibility for merit-based aid is determined by academic performance (GPA, test scores, etc.). Your family’s financial circumstances are not taken into account. Eligibility for need-based aid is determined by your family’s financial circumstances as reported on your financial aid application (FAFSA and CSS Profile). Because your family’s financial situation can change from year-to-year, your eligibility for Find more information about need-based aid can types of aid available at: change as well. undergraduate/typesofaid


All students who apply for financial aid at DU are offered at least one federal student loan in their financial aid package. If you need a loan to help cover the cost of college, think federal student loans first. All student loans are borrowed funds that you must repay with interest, but federal student loans usually offer lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment terms and options than a private loan from a bank or credit union.

What are Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans? Federal Direct loans are made available by the U.S. Department of Education and are the most widely-used loans for undergraduate students. • Subsidized loans are offered to students who demonstrate financial need (as determined by the FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on these loans while you are enrolled at least half time. This means that until you graduate, they’re interest-free. • Unsubsidized loans are available to all students, even if they do not demonstrate financial need. Interest begins accruing on these loans immediately after they’re disbursed (sent to DU).

What’s the interest rate? Interest rates for Direct loans are determined annually by Congress, and are fixed for the life of the loan. Subsidized and unsubsidized loans have the same interest rate. For loans borrowed during the 2017-18 academic year, the interest rate is 4.45%. The rates for the following academic year are typically announced in May.

Is there a fee? Yes. A loan origination fee is deducted at disbursement of each installment of the loan. For loans first disbursed prior to October 1, 2018, that fee is 1.066%.

How much can I borrow?

The amount you can borrow depends on your dependency status and year in school, and there is a limit to how much of your total loan can be in the form of a subsidized loan.

Dependent Students:

Independent Students:

Year in School

Maximum Annual Total

Maximum Subsidized

1st Year



2nd Year



3rd and 4th Years



1st Year



2nd Year



3rd and 4th Years



Am I a dependent or independent student? You are considered an independent student if you are one of the following: • at least 24 years old • married • a parent • a graduate student • a veteran • a member of the armed forces • an orphan, ward of the court or homeless If none of these apply, you are considered a dependent student.

When will I begin repayment of my loan(s)?

How much time will I have to repay my loan(s)?

No payments are required while you are enrolled at DU. After you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six month grace period before repayment begins.

Generally, you have between 10-25 years to repay your loan, depending on the repayment plan you choose. Repayment plans based on income are available for Federal Direct loans.

Want more info? Check out the Federal Student Aid website at 5



STEP 1: Determine your out-of-pocket cost. Your award letter lists the estimated out-of-pocket direct costs for the upcoming academic year, both with and without loans. That amount is what you may expect to owe DU after your bill is paid. There are also indirect costs (like books and personal expenses) included in your total cost of attendance that you should take into account when creating a financing plan for your DU education.

Total Cost of Attendance (listed on your award letter)


STEP 3: Determine how much you may need to

borrow in credit-based loans.

From your estimated out-of-pocket cost (step 1), subtract the amounts you expect to pay from: • Other private scholarships • Student and/or parent savings • Part-time employment earnings while enrolled in school • DU Tuition Payment Plan payments

Estimated Credit-Based Loan Amount Needed to Cover Costs: $____________ Note: You cannot borrow above your cost of attendance. In other words, your total aid—including scholarships, grants, loans, work-study and other resources (such as employer-paid tuition benefits)—cannot exceed your cost of attendance.

Total Financial Aid

Utilize our Scholarship Search to find additional funding that you don’t have to repay!

(grants + scholarships + loans*)


Go to and click on “Scholarship Search.”

Estimated Out-of-Pocket Cost *include the loans on your award letter only if you plan to borrow them

STEP 4: Research and select a credit-based

Get a more precise estimate with our Estimated Billing Worksheet at

STEP 2: Consider a payment plan. Consider utilizing the no-interest DU Tuition Payment Plan to cover a portion of the cost. • It reduces the amount students and parents must borrow. • The annual amount is split into 6 payments (2 payment per quarter). • There is a $20 enrollment fee. • No interest charges; this payment plan is not a loan.

For more information, contact: Bursar’s Office Phone: 303-871-4944 Email:



Many students and families who are seeking additional financing to help cover the costs of attending college will consider a credit-based loan. The loan program you choose is an individual decision that will depend on the circumstances and preferences of you and your family. You have two supplemental credit-based loan options (look to the next page for more details): • Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan • Private education loan

What is a “credit-based” loan? Generally, an educational loan described as “credit-based” requires that the borrower (or the borrower with a co-signer) meet certain credit criteria established by the lender in order to be approved. The lender may be a private bank, credit union or other financial institution, or the U.S. Department of Education (in the case of the Federal Parent PLUS loan). A wide variety of loan products are available and terms vary with each lender.


FEDERAL VS. PRIVATE LOANS We recommend that students borrow their full eligibility of Federal Direct loans and that parents consider borrowing a Parent PLUS loan (see page 8) instead of a private education loan from a bank or credit union. Here’s why: •

Interest rate: Historically, private loans have typically had higher interest rates than federal student loans, and many have variable rates (federal loans have fixed rates).

Repayment timeline: You don’t have to start repaying federal student loans until you graduate or are enrolled less than half time. Some private loans require payments while you’re still in school.

Repayment plans: Federal student loans have many repayment options, including plans that base monthly payment amounts on income. Most private loans have very limited repayment plans available.

Forgiveness options: If you work in public service, you may be eligible to have a portion of your federal loans forgiven. It’s very rare for a private loan lender to offer forgiveness plans.

Graduation Rate Percentage of full-time DU students who graduate within 6 years (most graduate within 4 years).


National Average

Median Borrowing Students who borrow at DU typically borrow $23,699 in federal loans for their undergraduate study. The Federal loan payment over 10 years for this amount is approximately $245.04 per month. The precise amount you borrow will likely be different.

Things to consider about student loan debt:

93% of 2015 graduates completed their degree in 4 years or less, which means you can be confident you won’t have to pay for an extra year in order to finish your degree at DU.

DU’s student loan repayment rate is high, and the cohort default rate is very low (2%), which demonstrates that University of Denver graduates are able to repay their student loans.

you’ll have less to repay later.

See the back page of this booklet for more links to student loan resources and calculators.


All data reported by the U.S. Department of Education as of October 2017.

Only borrow what you need and

Look for a part-time job and borrow less by using the money you earn to pay for expenses.

Percentage of borrowers entering into repayment within 3 years of leaving school

University of Denver

Borrow Sensibly

Apply for as many private scholarships as you can—it’s money you don’t have to repay!


Repayment Rate 44.7% loans/federal-vs-private

Plan how much you can afford to borrow over all four years.



Learn more about the differences at

Start by creating an in-school budget so you know exactly how much you may need to borrow.


Learn more about the value of a DU education and what sets the University of Denver apart at 7


Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans—commonly referred to as PLUS loans or Parent PLUS loans—are fixed-interest, federally guaranteed loans available to credit-worthy parents of dependent students. Many parents opt to borrow a Parent PLUS loan to help cover the unmet cost of their child’s education. This loan is not automatically included in financial aid packages at DU (although you may see it on award letters from other institutions).

What are the eligibility requirements for a parent to borrow a PLUS loan? You must be the biological or adoptive parent (or, in some cases, the stepparent) of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled at least half time. Your student must have submitted the FAFSA, and you must pass a credit check with the U.S. Department of Education to be approved.

What does the Department of Education look at during a credit check? They’re looking to see if the borrower has an adverse credit history. However, debt-to-income ratio, credit score, employment status or even lack of credit is not taken into account during this credit check.

What’s considered “adverse credit”? A borrower is considered to have an adverse credit history if: • he or she has one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report, or that have been placed in collection or charged off during the two years preceding the date of the credit check; or • during the five years preceding the date of the credit report, he or she has been subject to a default determination, discharge of debt in bankruptcy, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write off of a federal student aid debt.

How much can my parent borrow? The maximum annual amount is the total cost of attendance (listed on the award letter) minus all other financial aid received.

What are the options if the borrower is denied?

Parents who are denied because of adverse credit may reapply with a credit-worthy cosigner, or contact our office, as their student maybe be eligible for an additional $4,000 Direct Unsubsidized loan.

What’s the interest rate? Interest rates for Direct loans are determined annually by Congress, and are fixed for the life of the loan. For loans borrowed during the 2017-18 academic year, the interest rate is 7.00%. The rates for the following academic year are typically announced in May.

Is there a fee?

Yes. A loan origination fee is deducted at disbursement of each installment of the loan. For loans first disbursed prior to October 1, 2018, that fee is 4.264%.

How are Parent PLUS loan funds received? PLUS loan funds are first sent to the Bursar’s Office at DU and applied to the tuition bill. Typically, the total amount of the loan is disbursed evenly over three separate installments—one each for fall, winter and spring quarters. If any additional funds remain after the bill has been paid in full, a refund for that amount will be generated to use toward books and personal expenses.

Can a parent ever transfer his or her Parent PLUS loan to the student?

No. The parent is always responsible for paying back the loan.

How do you request a PLUS loan? Over the summer before the start of classes, the parent must submit an application and complete a Master Promissory Note online at

When does repayment begin? The repayment period begins immediately after the last disbursement of the loan has been received while the student is still in school. However, parents may be able to defer making payments while the student is enrolled at least half time and for an additional six months after graduation. Generally, borrowers have between 10-25 years to repay their loan, depending on the chosen repayment plan and amount borrowed.

Need more information? Head to the Federal Student Aid website at 8


Why is my financial aid package from DU different than the packages I received from other schools? Every school determines eligibility for institutional aid differently. Other colleges and universities are likely to have different costs as well as different amounts of financial aid (especially grant funds) to offer to students. Therefore, awards will vary from school to school. Although DU is not able to meet the full need of every student, we use every method possible to coordinate adequate resources to enable you to invest in your education at the University of Denver.

Does DU match financial aid packages from other schools? Your package from DU includes the maximum amount of financial aid we are able to offer. Unfortunately, we do not have enough funding to match award offers from other institutions, and are therefore unable to negotiate financial aid packages.

My financial aid application does not fully capture my family’s financial situation. Is there anything I can do? If you and/or your family have experienced an unexpected change to your financial situation since you filed your 2016 tax return, and that information is not reflected on your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile, you may submit a Special Circumstances form (also known as an “appeal”). Examples that may constitute a special circumstance include loss or reduction of employment or wages, bankruptcy or foreclosure, or loss of child support. Examples that do not constitute a special circumstance include reduction in 401K or investment values, parents’ refusal to contribute to a student’s education, unwillingness to borrow loans, or lack of credit-worthy co-signers. Please contact our office for more information about submitting an appeal.

Why wasn’t I offered work-study? The amount of funding we have available for this type of aid is extremely limited. In fact, only about 20% of our currently enrolled, eligible students have work-study. Therefore, many students who would otherwise be eligible won’t have it offered as a part of their financial aid package. If you don’t see work-study on your award letter, chances are that funding has been depleted. If you choose to attend DU and submit your admission deposit, you may contact us to submit your name to the work-study waitlist.

What if I don’t qualify for enough aid from DU or federal loans to attend? Our office will help in every way possible, but only you and your family can decide if it’s financially feasible for you to enroll. We encourage you to use scholarship search services and apply for many private scholarships. Credit-based loan programs and a payment plan are also available. We urge you and your family to research these options carefully, compare programs and features, and borrow responsibly.

Will I receive the same amount of financial aid every year I’m at DU? If your family financial situation remains the same, DU will make every effort to provide you with a similar financial aid package each year, provided you apply for aid on time and there are no significant changes in available federal and state funding.

Still have questions? Contact us! Financial Aid Phone: 303-871-4020 Email:


THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN COMPARING FINANCIAL AID AWARD OFFERS Once you have received a financial aid award letter from more than one school, use the worksheet on the opposite page to compare costs. As you compare aid packages side-by-side, keep these things in mind...

Focus on unmet cost, not total aid. It’s tempting to compare the amount of one school’s grants and scholarships to the grants and scholarships from another school. However, the most important figure is the bottom line—how much you will have to pay or borrow in order to attend each school. An institution that has offered you a larger grant or scholarship may be a more expensive choice if they also have a higher sticker price. On the other hand, a school with a high sticker price may be the most affordable after all grants and scholarships are applied.

Remember that your unmet cost is not equal to what you will owe DU. The cost of attendance listed on your award letter includes indirect costs such as personal and transportation expenses. These are estimated costs associated with going to school, but will not appear on your University bill.

Look carefully at the types of aid offered. What is the proportion of grants, scholarships and loans for each package? Some colleges will include a Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan in their award letter, which can make the unmet cost seem very low (or even $0). While qualified borrowers may get this credit-based loan for expenses up to the cost of attendance, it’s not guaranteed financing and should not be used when determining unmet cost.

Take note of the requirements to keep your aid. Is the aid listed on your award letter renewable for four years? Could it change? Will your financial aid package from each school remain consistent from one year to the next? Knowing this will help you determine if your unmet cost could change in future years.

Plan for all four years. As you compare your award letters, be sure to plan for all four years of your education. Remember that your unmet cost for the 2018-2019 school year will likely be similar to the unmet cost for the next three years as well. If your family financial situation remains the same, DU will make every effort to provide you with a similar financial aid package each year, provided you apply for aid on time and there are no significant changes in available federal and state funding. Find out if other schools will make a similar effort.

Consider value as well as cost. We recognize that cost and award packages vary from institution to institution, and that certainly justifies consideration. However, we also believe in the value of a DU education, and that should warrant your consideration as well. Learn more at 10


School #2

University of Denver

___________________ ___________________

Housing & Meals




Books & Supplies




Transportation Expenses




Personal Expenses




Other (if applicable)




Total Cost of Attendance




Cost of Attendance

School #3

Tuition & Fees

Financial Aid - The amount of aid indicated on the financial aid award letter you received from each school. (Note: You may not have been offered every type of aid listed below.) Federal Pell Grant Federal SEOG Grant




State Grants & Scholarships




College Grants & Scholarships +



Other Grants & Scholarships








Direct Loan(s)




VA Benefits




Other Aid




Total Cost of Attendance







Total Cost of Attendance - Total Financial Aid


*Work-study is a resource for personal expenses and books and will not post a credit to your student account. You will receive a paycheck as you work. Want a fillable, electronic version of the award comparison worksheet? Visit the College Board’s online worksheet at 11

Financial Aid and Student Loan Resources Federal Student Aid Website: Federal Student Loans Website: Federal Loan Repayment Plans: understand/plans Federal Loan Repayment Estimator: repaymentEstimator.action Private vs. Federal Loans: federal-vs-private DU’s Preferred Private Loan Lender List: Private Loan Comparison Calculator:

Learn More About... Next Steps for Admitted DU Students: admitted-students DU Payment Options: Student Life: Health & Counseling: Campus Safety: Discoveries Orientation: Academic Calendar:

Phone: 303-871-4020 | Email: |

Guide to Your Financial Aid Award Letter  
Guide to Your Financial Aid Award Letter