Your Plan for Managing BU Expenses

Paying for your education and graduating with as little debt as possible requires careful planning. You can’t plan one semester at a time or one year at a time. You need to plan for the entire program, and we can help.

How are you going to get enough money to pay all your BU expenses? What are the best ways to ensure that you make smart spending decisions along the way; decisions you won’t regret later? Making smart money decisions isn’t just about trying to spend less. It’s really about understanding and thinking carefully about the trade-offs. Spending more for certain things might be possible, if you offset them by spending less on other things.

A successful plan looks to maximize your resources and minimize your expenses. Here are some tools and tips to get you started.

  • Use Smart Money 101 to help you develop good spending habits and a realistic budget. A budget is just a plan for how best to spend your money in order to achieve your goals – like graduating with as little debt as possible. If you don’t have a plan to reach your goals, you probably won’t.
  • Keep a running tab of how much you borrow each year and monitor if you’re on track with your student loan debt goals. If you don’t know how much you owe, check here.Use your budget to calculate how much in loans you need to meet your expenses. Borrow no more than that amount. Loan amounts – plus interest – must be repaid later. If your projected debt upon graduation exceeds the goals you’ve set, consider minimizing your expenses and maximizing your resources.
  • Make the best housing choice for your needs and your budget. BU Housing offers room selection options that vary in cost.
  • Choose the meal plan that works best for you. Don’t leave money on the table by selecting a plan that costs more, particularly if you’re unlikely to utilize most covered meals. Don’t pick a lower-cost plan that covers too few meals if you’re only going to end up spending more for food off-campus. Dining Services offers meal plans that vary in cost.
  • Look into being a resident assistant beginning in your junior year, compensation for resident assistants includes free housing!  It is a competitive selection process, but if you’re selected it can be a great opportunity.
  • Meet with your academic advisor to plot your courses with cost included as a consideration. Avoid tuition overload charges and consider lower-cost summer classes.
  • Take advantage of free and discounted activities in Boston.
  • Check out the many BU Study Abroad options! Your BU need-based scholarship aid goes with you on a BU program and often times the billed costs are lower than staying on the Charles River Campus.

  • Continue to file the FAFSA each year to apply for federal and state financial aid! Take advantage of the Federal Stafford Loan maximum borrowing limits which increase each academic year. Unlike some private credit-based educational loans, the Federal Stafford Loan has many favorable terms, conditions, and protections for borrowers.
  • Apply often and early for external scholarships!
  • Consider student employment! The Student Employment Office can help you get a part-time job regardless of whether or not you’ve been awarded Federal Work-Study, and the extra income can really help with your personal expenses
  • Check out BU internship programs!
  • Budget your tuition and fee payments monthly using the payment plan which makes incorporating semester billed expenses into the family budget easier to organize.
  • Carefully consider a credit-based loan and use our guide to help you determine how to select a credit-based loan that is best for you and your family. Familiarize yourself with the Four Steps to Managing the Cost of Your Education.

Call us at 617-353-2965 or email finaid@bu.edu to request a meeting with your assistant director! Sometimes there’s no substitute for an in-person conversation about your particular circumstances, and we’re always happy to meet with you.