Can I apply my financial aid toward participation in the program?
Yes. Enrolling in the CU in D.C. Program is just like enrolling for your regular courses on the CU campus, so financial aid can be applied toward an academic semester (fall or spring) in Washington D.C. The aid package that you typically receive each semester will be awarded and disbursed in the same way it would be if you were present on the CU campus in Colorado. The only difference is that if you receive financial aid during fall or spring, and are a CU in D.C. student, your aid package will be increased by about $2000 to account for the higher cost of living in Washington D.C. We notify the Office of Financial Aid that you will be participating in the program, and they adjust your aid package accordingly.
If you participate in CU in D.C. during summer session D or Maymester, you may be eligible to receive financial aid, but you need to check in with a financial aid advisor and fill out an application for summer financial aid. If you have already filled out a FAFSA form for the previous fall and spring, that FAFSA can be used for/apply to that subsequent summer (and if you haven’t filled out a recent FAFSA, you must complete one for summer). In addition to having an active FAFSA application filled out, you must fill out a summer financial aid application (available at:http://www.colorado.edu/financialaid/apply-aid/summer-school). Oftentimes, students use up their financial aid funds by summertime and do not have funds available for summer. But if students plan ahead and contact Financial Aid in advance, they can actually ‘reserve’ some of their awarded money from the academic school year and save it for summer use. If you would like to make this arrangement, we suggest that you see a financial aid counselor early so that you can plan ahead.
Can I do work-study while I am in Washington D.C.?
No. While participating in the CU in D.C. program, you will be very busy with your internship and with coursework. You will not have time to put in work-study hours in Washington D.C., nor are you permitted to put in work-study hours in D.C. If you are a work-study student and want to participate in CU in D.C., you should notify the financial aid office in advance that you will participating in the program and they will put your work study hours ‘on hold’ for a later semester. If you do not notify the financial aid office in advance, the work-study hours will be cancelled. If you want to participate in CU in D.C. during the academic year (fall & spring), but you depend on work-study earnings to make ends meet financially, then we suggest that you try to work and save for the program during the summer prior to your participation. Then you can use your savings during your semester of participation in Washington D.C.
Are there any scholarships available to participate in the program?
Yes, through the generous donations of faculty, alumni, and program friends, there are some limited funds available for scholarships. Every CU in D.C. student is considered automatically for some kind of scholarship award. The awards are based on one or several of the following factors: major, GPA, financial need, and professional interests. Students do not have to submit any additional scholarship application materials to be considered for a scholarship. Using financial aid data and your original CU in D.C. application materials, the CU in D.C. team makes scholarship award decisions and allocations. Students are typically notified about scholarship awards about a month before departure to Washington D.C.
Does it cost more to participate in the CU in D.C. Program than it does to do a regular semester on campus?
It will probably cost a bit more to participate in the CU in D.C. program than to have a regular semester on campus. The cost of living is slightly higher because of higher housing and transportation costs. The bottom line, however, depends on what your personal spending habits are. Some expenses may be slightly above what you pay in Boulder, and some expenses may be slightly below what you pay in Boulder. Most students will need to pay for airfare to and from Washington D.C. (although some students can drive to D.C.). Airfare from Denver to Washington D.C. typically costs $200-$400 for a round-trip ticket. The cost of your tuition will be the same as it is when you enroll for coursework on the CU campus. And whether other expenses, such as housing and daily transportation, are higher or lower for you in Washington D.C. depends on how much you typically spend on these items while in Boulder. For example, if you spend $50 each week/$200 a month for gas in Boulder, you may find that you spend much less on daily commuting in Washington D.C. (traveling by Metro in D.C. will cost about $25 per week/$100 per month). Or, if you pay high rent costs in Boulder, the cost of CU in D.C. housing may be a monthly cost reduction for you. So whether these types of expenses are more or less for you will depend on your own personal spending habits. But on average, a semester in D.C. costs more for a student than a semester on campus. And for this reason, the Office of Financial Aid increases budgets for students who are financial aid recipients when they participate in the CU in D.C. Program. The Bursar’s Office also makes a special accommodation for CU in D.C. students by waiving campus-related fees during their semester of participation (a deduction of about $500).
How much, on average, do students spend on living expenses while living in D.C. for a semester?
While living in Washington D.C., the typical student can expect to spend about $90 to $160 per week on groceries, incidentals, and transportation. The amount you need to budget depends on your spending habits, like how much you spend on dining out or how much you spend on coffee each morning. And your weekly budget will largely depend on the frequency of your Metro card use. For example, if your internship office is located a far distance from your apartment, you will likely accumulate more charges on your Metro card. Or if your internship office is located within walking distance of the CU in D.C. classroom, you will accumulate lower weekly charges on your Metro card. So it all just depends. But past CU in D.C. participants report that a realistic budget for basic living expenses is somewhere between $90-$160 per week.
Do I pay for the usual campus fees on my bill at the Bursar’s Office when I’m participating in the CU in D.C. Program?
No. Campus-related fees, in the amount of about $500, are waived for CU in D.C. participants in fall and spring, and will be removed from your bill after the census date for the semester.