University of Denver cut tuition for a graduate program by $15,000. Now alumni want a refund.

In a bid for greater affordability, University of Denver leaders pledged to lower tuition for masters students in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies from about $53,000 to $38,000 per year in 2020.

Now a group of alumni who paid the old rate is asking the private school to refund them the difference, citing the loan debt they now face.

More than 120 DU alumni signed onto a letter sent Monday to Fritz Mayer, dean of the Josef Korbel School, asking the university to pay them back $15,000 per year of enrollment.

“We acknowledge and appreciate that the tuition reduction will help reduce barriers to entry within higher education and enable more aspiring and diverse students to pursue a career in international studies,” the letter reads. “However, we would be remiss not to mention that we, as recent Korbel graduates, are under the intense strain of student loan debt.”

In a statement to The Denver Post, Mayer said the school is sympathetic to student debt and hopes the tuition reduction will make DU more affordable and reduce the amount of debt future students incur.

“That said, we are confident that we met all our educational responsibilities to these students and provided a strong foundation for their future success,” Mayer said.

Mayer said it’s a best practice for universities to evaluate their programs and “ensure their alignment with the evolving needs of professionals and the realities of the marketplace.”

“We are confident that those changes will not only maintain but indeed increase the quality of those programs and enable us to recruit a more diverse population of students,” Mayer said.