Student pays $14k tuition

Picture used for illustrative purposes only. (GETTY IMAGES)

An economics student found a creative way to protest the rising costs of higher education.

He paid his entire spring semester tuition – $14,309.51 – with dollar bills, a 50-cent piece and a penny.

"It kind of started as a joke," Nic Ramos, a sophomore economics major at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told The New York Times. "But when I thought about it more, it's just an absurd amount of money. I wanted to give the school a different way to look at tuition."

Ramos said it took him two days to withdraw the money from several banks. When he hauled a roughly 30-pound duffel bag stuffed with cash into the university's bursar's office the tellers were in disbelief.

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

"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."

University spokesman Bronson Hilliard told The Times that it took three people nearly an hour to count the money.

While CU tuition has risen in recent years, it has not increased for Ramos. As an out-of-state student from Sacramento, Calif., Ramos gets to pay a locked-in rate on his four-year tuition.

Still, Ramos said the experience gave him "a much deeper appreciation for the money that my parents give me just to go to school."

"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.

"Just the sheer volume (of cash), just looking at this really sends a message: … Money does talk," Ramos explained in the YouTube video. "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."

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