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The Higher Cost of Higher Ed

Tuition, room and board to rise next year by 4.5 percent


The Student Village II residence, now under construction, is one of many initiatives undertaken to make Boston University attractive to prospective students. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

The price of tuition and room and board at Boston University will rise by 4.5 percent next year, putting the total cost of studies and room and board at $47,958 for the 2008–2009 academic year. Tuition will increase from $34,930 to $36,540, and room and board from $10,950 to $11,418. Last year, the national average increase in the price of tuition, room and board, and fees at private four-year nonprofit institutions of higher education was 5.9 percent, according to the College Board. Average price increases for the 2008–2009 academic year have not yet been tallied by the board.

In a letter sent to BU students and parents earlier this week, President Robert A. Brown acknowledged the financial burden placed on families by the cost of higher education. Brown said the University expects to spend more than $164.8 million next year on undergraduate financial aid.

“We remain focused on controlling expenses while also increasing gift and endowment income that can be applied to financial aid,” Brown wrote. “We also are committed to continually increasing the value of a Boston University education by improving the quality of our academic programs and student life on campus. Our commitment to you is clear: for the benefit of our students and graduates, we will do all that we can to sustain and improve Boston University’s position as one of the very best private universities in America.”

University Provost David Campbell said the Student Village II residence, now nearing completion on West Campus, is one effort to make Boston University more attractive to prospective students. He said the University is also planning to renovate the College of Fine Arts and the School of Law.

“We are trying hard to minimize the burden on parents, but we are also trying to improve the quality of education and the lives of students,” Campbell said. “Better facilities and increased academic excellence are required to stay competitive and attract the best students.”

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.


20 Comments on The Higher Cost of Higher Ed

  • Stacy Fontana on 03.12.2008 at 2:35 pm

    This is completely ridiculous. I can’t believe how expensive they are making it to get an EDUCATION. They obviously do not care about how their students feel about BU, because if you compare BU to SO many other awsome schools on collegeboard.com, it’s way more expensive, and everybody pays the same price (in-state and out-of-state). First off I feel bad for my family for having to give up a lot for me. Why should I have to feel guilty about missing ONE CLASS because each 1-hour class costs $1000?

  • Anonymous on 03.12.2008 at 4:29 pm


    The amount of money BU charges is already ridiculous for the quality of the classes it offers. I was only considering transferring before this, but now its definite.

  • Anonymous on 03.12.2008 at 5:37 pm

    I don't understand...

    I don’t understand why they’re making new things – StuV II – when they really need to renovate the things that they’ve already got. I understand renovating CFA and the school of LAW, but we don’t spend as much time in class as we do in the dorms and the dinning halls. They need to renovate those things that we need the most. Yes, renovating the class rooms will bring more students to BU, but what about the students that are already there? Honestly, if my parents and I are going to be paying even MORE for me to continue to go to BU, then the university should be doing even more to get me to even want to stay.

  • Anonymous on 03.12.2008 at 7:04 pm

    Although the cost of a college education is ridiculous, the previous poster is a little harsh on BU. BU is around the same price as all other schools of the same level as BU (excluding CGS) if you think there are “SO” many other awesome schools that are cheaper, go there! The really problem is federal. Look at European schools, an Oxford Education costs £3,070 for EU citizens! The government needs to enact legislation to cut college costs and take steps enabling colleges to lower their tuition and fees.

  • Anonymous on 03.12.2008 at 10:59 pm

    Calculating per-hour costs.

    You mean: each 1-hour class costs $100?

    Starting with $36,000 a year for 8 classes, 4 contact-fours a week if one has discussion section, more if there are labs…

    Or is it too difficult for you to “do the math” so you invented a number that felt good? In calculating how much each class hour costs, one might need to include use of libraries and other facilities which students gain as part of being full-time students.

  • Anonymous on 03.13.2008 at 12:20 am

    I wish that the university would increase aid for the students who are already attending. That would be nice.

  • Anonymous on 03.13.2008 at 1:01 am


    Wow this is so expensive. wah. I:m so unhappy about this. I:ll never get to live there, so I:m really sad about having to pay way more money. Also BU refuses to give me any financial aid, so I:ll have to pay it all myself. Wah. This is a sad day.

    Also, I:m studying abroad right now and when I left that building was not there, how weird it will be to go back and see it. I wish I could live there. then at least I:d get to benefit from it.

  • Anonymous on 03.13.2008 at 1:24 pm

    I'm not surprised at BU

    I’m just upset that now it will be even harder to pay for tuition…BU is acting like the US goverment…they’re not taking time to get to know the individual cases before raising everybody’s tuition. i don’t think this rise should affect people graduating at or before 2010 because we won’t even be able to live in the building that they’re making nor enjoy any of the construction they’re doing.

    fuck them

  • Anonymous on 03.13.2008 at 2:51 pm

    Totally agree… BU should be spending money on pre-existing structures (CAS definitely needs that overhaul), not adding new ones. Student Village 2 is nice and all, but for the average student, they don’t even BOTHER with Student Village since it’s so expensive. Who cares if it’s fancy and top notch–I’d rather live in a cheaper dormitory. I’m essentially whipping out money for a place that -other- students will most likely use.

  • Anonymous on 03.14.2008 at 10:21 am

    too expensive

    $164.8 million on financial aid… and none of it is going to me!! BU won’t give my family any money, even though we need it. At least I’m a sophomore so hopefully I’ll be able to use StuVi2 when I’m a senior. But isn’t it enough that the people who live in StuVi pay more for housing? Why does everyone have to reach into their pockets? And it is true that a lot of private schools now cost this much, but that doesn’t make it right. I think the facilities we have now are fine, and as long as they are maintained, I think that is sufficient. Bu shouldn’t focus on improving and improving every year if the cost is going to keep rising and rising… pretty soon no one is going to be able to afford it!!

  • Anonymous on 03.14.2008 at 1:48 pm

    My kids are going to State U.

    The ever-increasing cost of BU, and of these private research universities in general, is totally disgusting. Just like the local commercial properties that BU owns (apartments, Hotel Commonweath, etc) the administration continues to raise the rent that parents and their children must pay. I had a great time at BU, but I definitely will be sending my kids to state school, no doubt about it. By that time, around 250K per child…for what? So they can get caught drinking on the weekends? NOT WORTH IT – It will take us or them years to pay off the loans, making it even more than 250K with interest.

  • SDW on 03.15.2008 at 12:00 pm

    Where does it all go

    Where does all that money go? What are they using it for? does it really cost that much to teach students? Is it faculty salaries? facilities? what? I wish BU and other universities would be more transparent about their finances, cash flows. Then, perhaps at least I might be convinced that they aren’t squandering my $.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2008 at 8:00 pm

    Stop complaining and think

    Everyone who is complaining – this hits me as well, hard. But let’s look at the economic realities of the 21st century. Do you think BU is alone in facing sky rocketing costs? Do you want BU to start slashing professors and selling off buildings? Maybe they should slash all sports teams, student advising, health services and student activities. BU is not making big money here. Is BU making it expensive for you to get an education? NO, our society is doing that. Our government is doing that. You wanna change it? Vote people into office who care about education at all levels, but don’t go complaining about how BU is such a big bad wolf when their increases are lower than the national average!

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2008 at 11:14 pm

    I am really glad they’re renovating CFA, because it really needs it, even though I’ll probably never reap any of the benefits of construction. But I really don’t understand the whole StuVi thing. If you want an apartment, live off-campus or get a BU apartment…

    I’d rather get more financial aid than watch them build a fancy tower to attract incoming freshmen at the expense of me and my parents.

  • Neraj on 03.17.2008 at 10:24 pm


    So far, the only justification I have seen for this 4.5% is the "need for BU to modernize its facilities." Particularly the funding of Stuvi II does not, personally, seem like a justifiable need for "modernization" considering the associated cost. Furthermore, NO undergraduate education WHATSOEVER is worth $50,000 per year. NO QUESTION. We are taking rates here greater than graduate schools in many cases.
    Lastly, with regard to the "increased financial aid," it is nothing more than lies. My father has been unemployed for 1 and half years and all BU has offered me family is $4000 in unsubsidized loans. How is that justifiable?
    An article in the Free Press indicated that BU’s annual budged in $1.5 billion. It is spending close to %10 on financial aid. Not to mention – this financial aid is NOT SOLELY TOWARD UNDERGRADUATES.

  • Anonymous on 03.19.2008 at 8:20 am

    As a parent of a BU Senior, I have been pleased with the education that my son has received over the last 4 years. I do however find it ridiculous that dorm rooms can’t be painted in the off season, that old beat up carpets can’t be replaced, that parking garages on campus can’t be kept open at night and on weekends (and during Red Sox games) so that students don’t have to pay for parking. I also find it ridiculous that with tuition being what it is, that students continue to pay out of pocket for program related supplies.
    I also find it sad that a prestigious University like BU does not have a solid Career Services Dept. that should be “hands on” rather than “hands off” and one that serves all Majors, not just the popular ones.
    In closing, I believe that it’s important to spend money on new buildings but it is equally important to spend money on maintaining what already exists.

  • seriously... on 03.19.2008 at 11:06 am

    the only question i have goes to the students posting about there dire financial need…if you are in such need and not receiving any aid, how are you still here? I know one thing for sure, if i didnt receive the amount of aid that i got ( which is quite alot, and i worked my ass off in high school to get) i would not be here. My parents COULD NOT have sent me here. It wouldnt have even been a question. Sure, the price of higher education is ridiculously inflated, but apparently there are people who are willing to use there life savings to pay for it. They just arent my parents…stop crying about it and go where you get more money. That’s a decision thousands of kids have to make.

  • Anonymous on 03.19.2008 at 11:17 am

    want to know where the money goes? try http://www.bu.edu/president/annualreport/AnnualReport.pdf

  • Anonymous on 02.23.2009 at 11:00 am

    how much money does it cost?

  • Anonymous on 04.07.2011 at 8:35 pm


    I’m a 4th grader and i want to go to BU! I get A’s and B’s on my report card. Can I get in?

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