Heavy Price: CU Student Pays $14K Tuition In $1 Bills

Wad Of Cash Weighed 33 Pounds

Nic Ramos wanted to send an eye-grabbing message about the rising cost of tuition at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

So, the 20-year-old economics major paid his $14,300 tuition entirely in $1 bills.

"It's over $14,000 in ones, " the student told 7NEWS Sunday night.

Ramos packed the 33 pounds of cash into a big duffle and was ready when the CU business office opened Friday morning.

"I walked in there and put it on the counter and said: 'I'm here to pay my tuition,'" Ramos recounted.

The teller looked in the bag and said, "Oh my gosh!" said Ramos. "And then all the other tellers came over and they couldn't believe it."

Amassing that much cash in the credit-card age was no easy task.

Ramos said he spent a couple days trooping from bank to bank withdrawing cash. Often banks could only provide $100 or $20 bills, so he had to go to still more banks for change.

"We have got every sort of reaction," he said, ranging from "That's the coolest thing I've ever heard" to "You're crazy."

"It might seem like it's kind of a useless cause," Ramos said in a YouTube video produced by the Boulder Daily Camera that is grabbing national attention.

But, he said, "Just the sheer volume (of cash), just looking at this really sends a message: …Money does talk. Tuition is extremely high for out-of-state (students) and it's only going up for in-state (students). Maybe … people will kind of think how much it really does cost to go to CU."

"I just have a newfound respect for what people are willing to give up and how much education really does costs for just one semester. So I wanted the school be able to see that," he said. "It gives me a much deeper appreciation for the money that my parents give me just to go to school."

Ramos' buddy, Dan Order, chimed in: "It makes me not want to skip class." They calculated it costs $65 for each hour of missed class, Order said.

Ramos unique tuition payoff got the attention of university clerks.

CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard told the New York Times it took three people nearly an hour to count the money.

While CU tuition has risen in recent years, it hasn't increased for Ramos.

As an out-of-state student, the Sacramento, Calif., man gets to pay a locked-in rate on his four-year tuition. The CU Board of Regents plans to consider allowing in-state students to pay the guaranteed rate.