As a senior who has 5 weeks left of school, my time to reflect has begun. A big part of my journey has been financing my way through all four years at DU. Four years ago, I was a semi-finalist for the Daniel’s Fund scholarship, a scholarship I had set my eyes on as a freshman in high school. Coming from a low-income household, college seemed to only be possible via this scholarship, so when I did not receive it, I was a bit lost. Many people, however, had always told me that college was not going to be possible due to the money, especially when I committed to attend DU. Many people advised me to attend a community college first, to join the military, or to take a different route, but I was determined to prove people wrong and pursue my dream of going to college.
In order to attend the University of Denver, I realized it was going to be a challenge to finance and there were going to be sacrifices I had to make... but I took them on with creative ideas and initiatives. Below are the ways I have managed my tuition over the last four years.
Ideas and Initiatives:
1. Living - One of the ways that I cut down my payment was by living at home and avoiding the Room & Board fee. I've commuted all four years and have still enjoyed college.
2. Raffled off my car – We sold tickets to raffle off my worn out Land Rover – someone got a semi-decent truck and I got the money for my first tuition payment.
3. GoFundMe – For every $20 I received, I made sure to match it with an hour of community service. This came in handy for the year I studied abroad.
4. Car Wash – To further assist my study abroad term, I also decided to host a car wash. My entire family gathered all of the materials we had and set up a carwash.
5. Working! Over the past few years, I have worked 2-3 jobs at a time. Waitressing, Work Study, and Admission Fellow.
The End Result:
In return, I can personally say that education is an investment. Many people told me that it wouldn't be worth it, but the experience and opportunities I have had at the University of Denver say otherwise. Throughout my time, I have had internships with the Denver Nuggets Youth Camps and with the United States Olympic Committee.
I joined a great sisterhood, Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority, Inc., served as the President of the entire Multicultural Greek Council (twice), studied abroad in Costa Rica (and flew my mom out there to visit me), and so much more. DU has prepared me for the next step, which is to continue my time as a Pioneer and pursue my Master’s in Sport and Performance Psychology.
The financial journey has only been made possible by the unconditional support, love, and guidance I have received from my family, friends, and mentors. So to all of those who might contemplate not going to DU because of the money, know that it can be made possible with some extra hard work, determination, and a lot of heart. Don't underestimate the small scholarships and asking for help! Take it one year at a time and go after what you truly want.
Samantha Garcia - College Access & Group Visit Fellow, Undergraduate Admission