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Piper Doyle

A University of Denver undergraduate student shares eight tips for how she plans to graduate debt-free

$72,000 a year to attend the University of Denver?!? NO THANKS.

The average post-graduation earnings for a University of Denver undergraduate student is  $63,400 which is 85% higher than the national median. That’s pretty dang good. But, the one-year salary is not enough to cover one full year of attendance at DU.

How do you keep the full $63,400 instead of spending much of it on paying off student debt? Here are eight steps that I’m using:  

Step One: Reach out to clubs and teams that interest you and ask if they have scholarships available. Quick Tip: Submit an “activity specific” resume and/or a cover letter that shows off how your skills will be beneficial to the organization. They may cough up some money.

Step Two: Max out your credit hours. You pay per credit hour for the first 12 credits. Credit thirteen to eighteen is ON THE HOUSE! This also can help you graduate early which makes college even cheaper.

Step Three: Summer classes have historically been cheaper. Take a few!

Step Four: Sell a kidney! Just kidding. Just making sure you’re still paying attention…

Step Five: Your sophomore, junior and senior year you can apply to be a Resident Assistant. The job covers for your housing and a meal plan.

Step Six: Get a job or an internship to work towards paying off college costs. Career Services is a great resource to help find opportunities both at DU and in the community.

Step Seven: Your sophomore, junior and senior year you can apply for major specific scholarships. Daniels School of Business gives out tens of thousands of dollars every year.

Step Eight: Are you a Colorado native? Apply for the Colorado Opportunity Fund! You get a stipend for each credit you take.

Note: Step One through Step Six are not need-based and are open to everyone.

You’re probably looking at those eight steps and wondering how you can possible do it all. Coming from someone who debates on scholarship, is a Resident Assistant, works a job downtown and maxes out their credit hours, I will tell you that it is not easy. I also have some savings which of course helps. I will be graduating COMPLETELY DEBT FREE from the University of Denver.

Today more than 44 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt which totals more than $1.5 trillion… If you follow my eight-step program, you won’t be contributing to those numbers.

Doyle’s blog was part of an assignment and blog contest in the Daniels communication courses BUS3000.