Boston University is a private college in the Massachusetts city of the same name. Like many other private colleges, it’s a pricey option to earn an undergraduate degree — annual tuition and fees alone are $53,948 a year.
But students shouldn’t automatically assume they can’t afford to attend Boston University. While the tuition costs might initially give them sticker shock, it’s not what most students pay. In fact, the school reports that over 90% of Boston University (BU) freshmen with family incomes of $100,000 or less receive gift aid, or free money that they can use for college costs without having to repay it.
If you understand the student aid you could get and the options you have to finance your education, you can decide if attending Boston University is affordable for you. Here’s what you need to about how to pay for Boston University.
|Costs of attending Boston University|
|Annual tuition and fees||$53,948|
|Annual room and board||$15,720|
|Net cost (after aid)||$34,910|
|Median federal student debt after graduation||$27,000|
|All info current as of Sept. 4, 2018. Sources: Boston University and College Scorecard|
Unlock Boston University financing options with the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your key to unlock several forms of student aid. The information you provide on your FAFSA is used to evaluate how much student aid you need and for what you qualify. This is determined by the gap between what you can afford to pay, called your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and what you’d pay to attend Boston University.
Most significantly, you’ll need to submit a FAFSA for each academic year to be eligible for federal student aid such as grants, work-study, and federal student loans. Your FAFSA information is also used to evaluate you for many other student aid programs, such as those offered by your state or college.
Submitting the CSS Profile
Besides submitting a FAFSA, Boston University students and applicants should also complete the CSS Profile. The CSS Profile is a separate student aid application administered by The College Board that asks for more in-depth information about your financial situation and need for aid.
Many private colleges, including Boston University, require incoming students to complete the CSS Profile to be considered for grants and scholarships funded by the school. The CSS Profile does come with a $25 fee, plus $16 for each additional school or scholarship program to which you submit the application. Note, however, that many low-income or first-year undergraduate students can have these fees waived.
Important aid application dates for Boston University
Submitting your FAFSA and CSS Profile early can increase your chances of qualifying for student aid that draws on limited funds. Here are some key dates to keep in mind as you file a FAFSA or submit a CSS Profile:
- Oct. 1: Both FAFSA and CSS Profile submissions open for the following school year
- Nov. 1: Deadline to complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile for the first round of early decision applicants
- Jan. 2: Deadline to complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile for the second round of early decision applicants; deadline for fall freshmen to file a FAFSA and CSS Profile
- March 1: Deadline for returning students to file a FAFSA
- May 1: Deadline to submit a FAFSA to qualify for Massachusetts student aid
You’ll need to complete and submit your aid applications by or on these deadlines. But don’t put it off until the last minute. Submitting these forms early allows plenty of time for your application to process and could help you qualify for more aid.
Grants for Boston University students
Once you’ve applied for student aid, you can start exploring your options and start putting together your plan to pay for Boston University. The best types of help come in the form of gift aid, such as grants that don’t need to be repaid.
Grants are most often based on a student’s financial needs, so those with less ability to cover college costs out of pocket will often qualify for more grants. Keep in mind, too, that financial need also takes a college’s costs into account. So at private colleges such as Boston University that have higher annual costs, students are more likely to qualify for need-based aid than they would at a less-expensive public college.
Common types of grants for students include federal college grants, state college grants, and institutional college grants. The Boston University Grant, for example, is awarded to students who meet the eligibility criteria for both financial need and academic performance.
Understanding the difference between these grants can make the difference in being able to find, apply for, and receive more of this free money for college.
Federal college grants
Some grants are funded and offered through the federal government — specifically, Federal Student Aid. Complete and submit your FAFSA and you’ll automatically be evaluated for and receive any federal grants for which you’re eligible.
- The Federal Pell Grant awards up to the $6,095 maximum for the 2018-19 academic year, based on a student’s financial need.
- The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is reserved for students with the highest financial need. It’s administered and partially funded by Boston University.
Massachusetts and state college grants
Many state governments also have their own grant programs to help resident students pay for college. In fact, $1.8 million in state college grant aid was awarded to Boston University students in 2016, reports The Boston Globe.
Here’s an overview of Massachusetts state grants:
- The Massachusetts Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program is offered to residents of Massachusetts who meet the program’s criteria, including demonstrating financial need. Awards range from $200 to $2,500 a year.
- Massachusetts Part-Time Grants start at $200 a year and are extended to students enrolled part time who are taking at least six — but fewer than 12 — credits per term.
- Foster Child Grants provide up to $6,000 per academic year to resident foster children (younger than 25) attending eligible in- or out-of-state colleges.
- MassGrants are for Massachusetts residents attending eligible schools. Award amounts will vary based on the student’s EFC, which must be $5,486 or less to qualify.
- Public Service Grants cover full annual tuition and fees for college students whose parent or spouse was “killed or missing in the line of public service duty in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” according to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.
- Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grants provide funds for current paraprofessionals working in Massachusetts public schools to complete a teaching degree and certification. Qualifying paraprofessionals can get $625 per credit in grants, or up to $7,500 an academic year.
All the above grants require students be residents of Massachusetts and submit a FAFSA by May 1 to be eligible to receive this aid for the following academic year.
Nonresident Boston University students should check out the state college grants offered in their home state. They might find a program that they could use to attend an out-of-state college.
Scholarships for Boston University students
Besides grants, scholarships provide free funding to help students cover their college costs and educational expenses. Most Boston University scholarships fall into two categories:
- Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on a student’s academic or athletic merits, area of study, or other qualifying factors.
- Need-based scholarships are granted primarily by financial need, though they can have more eligibility criteria.
Scholarship programs also differ in how they’re structured and funded. This type of aid is awarded by states, colleges, private companies, nonprofits, and many other types of organizations. Boston University has several award programs of its own, and Massachusetts offers scholarships, too.
Each scholarship has its own application process, which can vary in its requirements and process.
Here are a few top scholarships available to Boston University students:
- The Trustee Scholarship is awarded by Boston University’s Trustee Scholars Program, which invites about 20 high school seniors to join the organization the following year. Being a trustee comes with a scholarship award that covers full undergraduate tuition and fees. Applicants must complete personal essays and submit them by Dec. 1 to be considered.
- The Presidential Scholarship awards $20,000 to about 5% of freshmen for academic achievement. Incoming students are automatically considered for this scholarship, which can be renewed for up to four years.
- The Thomas M. Menino Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship. High school seniors at Boston Public Schools can be nominated by their principal or counselor, and will then complete an application process to be considered.
- The BU Community Service Award is open to Boston public high school graduates who are incoming freshmen or transfer students. Recipients must have demonstrated financial need, with award amounts intended to cover the full cost of attendance without loans. Students must commit to performing 25 hours of community service per semester after their first is complete.
- The Richard D. Cohen Scholarship is extended to select students with exceptional financial need and will provide enough funding to cover the student’s full costs.
On top of offering these programs, Boston University also has the BU Scholarship Assurance. This policy guarantees that aid offered to students in their first year will be renewed each year (as the undergraduate student meets ongoing criteria).
You can also find other national or local student aid programs through scholarship search sites.
Federal work-study at Boston University
Boston University participates in the federal work-study program, which helps students access employment and earn income they can use to cover college costs. If you’re interested in federal work-study, indicate that when completing and submitting your FAFSA.
If you qualify for this form of need-based aid, you’ll be offered a work-study award for each semester. You’ll need to accept it and apply for a job through Boston University’s job directory. Work-study positions at BU start at $11 to $11.25 an hour. Keep in mind that the number of hours you can work through a work-study position will be limited to keep your total semester pay under your award amount.
Federal student loans
Once you’ve maximized all forms of gift student aid that won’t have to be repaid, you might still have some costs left to cover.
Federal student loans can be an accessible and affordable way to help you pay for Boston University. You won’t need a credit history to get federal student loans, and they have low interest rates and fees. Federal student loans also have several ways to manage your debt in repayment, from income-driven repayment plans to deferment or forbearance.
The Direct Subsidized Loan even includes a subsidy that pays interest for you while loans are deferred, such as while you’re in school. If you qualify for a subsidized loan, borrow with this loan type first.
It’s important to compare federal student loans and choose the best option. Some federal student loans are more expensive than others, and one option is only available to parents of undergraduates.
Here’s an overview of federal student loans:
|Federal student loan||Who can use it?||Interest rate (2018-19)||One-time loan fee*||Interest is paid in deferment|
|Subsidized||Undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need||5.05%||1.062%||Yes|
|PLUS||Graduate students and parents of undergraduate students||7.60%||4.248%||No|
Boston University student loans
Beyond federal student loans, Boston University student have more limited options. The university itself doesn’t provide any student loans.
At a state level, students have another option: the Massachusetts No Interest Loan program. This provides student loans to Massachusetts resident students who meet need-based eligibility criteria. These loans range from $1,000 to $4,000 per academic year and charge no interest for the life of the loan, which borrowers have 10 years to repay.
Boston University also offers several payment plans that can help students and their families break up tuition payments so that they can more effectively budget for these costs. Keep in mind that these payment plans are not loans and won’t incur any interest charges.
Private student loans
Private student loans are another financing option that Boston University students might want to consider. Unlike federal or state student loans, private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions, or online lenders.
These private lenders don’t offer the same benefits you’d receive for federal student loans, such as the option to change your repayment plan or take part in federal student loan forgiveness programs.
Private student loans also require a solid credit history to qualify. Most students can’t get approved on their own and will need to borrow with the help of a student loan cosigner.
Private student loans offer different rates for each borrower, with lower rates correlating to a high credit score. These private student loan rates are often higher than those offered on federal student loans.
Private student loans can help cover gaps in financing if other forms of student aid aren’t enough to cover a student’s full costs. But you’ll need to shop around and compare private student loans to find a private student loan that is affordable and meets your needs.
The bottom line: Paying for Boston University
There’s no denying that Boston University is a high-cost school. Students hoping to attend this college will need to be informed and get creative to make a smart plan to pay for a degree here.
Parents and student should turn to gift aid such as scholarships and grants first when figuring out how to pay for Boston University. Research, find, and apply for as many of these programs as possible to maximize the funds you can get.
After gift aid, consider other ways to cover college costs without borrowing. Students and parents can both look for extra cash to put toward a degree, out of savings or personal earnings.
Then turn to student loans to cover your remaining expenses. Borrow only what you must to cover BU costs, and make sure you’re comparing and choosing the best student loan available to you.
By exploring your college financing options, planning, and taking advantage of all student aid opportunities, you can pay for your Boston University degree while limiting your out-of-pocket costs and student debt.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 2/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.23% – 13.23%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.20% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 10.11%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 13.25%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.95% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.42%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|