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2009–2010 Tuition Rises 3.75 Percent

BU strives to balance operating costs, financial aid needs


The University's focus is on reducing costs without diminishing the quality of the educational experience, says BU President Robert A. Brown. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Tuition and room and board at Boston University will rise 3.75 percent, to $49,758, in the 2009-2010 academic year, BU President Robert A. Brown announced last week. The change represents the University’s lowest percentage increase in tuition in 40 years, Brown said, and reflects the administration’s effort to respond to increased financial need while maintaining the quality of programs.

“Tuition income directly impacts our resources for financial aid and our academic programs,” Brown said in a letter to parents.

“During the fall semester, we funded need-based appeals totaling $1.5 million to undergraduates whose financial circumstances had changed. I take this as a bellwether of things to come.”

The tuition rate has been set at $37,910 — up $1,370 from the current year — and room and board at $11,848, a rise of $430. The costs are comparable to many of BU’s peer institutions, such as MIT ($37,510), Northwestern ($38,088), and Washington University ($37,800), and the percentage change is less than the 2010 increases at colleges such as Brandeis, Dartmouth, and Emory.

While capital expenditures and rising utility costs are often a factor in calculating tuition and housing costs, this year’s focus is meeting the increased financial aid requirements of both the current and incoming students. BU is providing $168 million in undergraduate financial aid in the current budget; most of that money comes out of the operating budget, as opposed to endowment income or state appropriations.

The incoming freshman class exhibits even greater financial need: 65 percent of applicants indicate they would apply for aid, up from 61 percent last year, and the average need level is up 5 percent, to approximately $25,000 per student. To meet the demand, the University began implementing cost-cutting measures in October, including a hiring freeze, a salary freeze for the University’s senior leadership and highest-paid staff, an administrative reorganization, and a delay on some capital projects.

Jessica Ullian can be reached at jullian@bu.edu.


30 Comments on 2009–2010 Tuition Rises 3.75 Percent

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 6:30 am

    Has daddy's credit card finally maxed out?

    I think it’s absolutely appalling that BU has such high tuition fees. While I think it’s great that this has been the lowest tuition increase we’ve seen so far, I find it hard to believe that in a school known for it’s “rich kids”, 65% of incoming freshmen claim they need financial aid. Everyday i see girls strutting around in designer bags and boys walking down Comm Ave in expensive jeans. They talk of their summer homes in the Hamptons and the new Mercedes they got when they learned to drive.

    Why don’t you tell all those BU girls with their Prada bags and the boys with their Diesel jeans to have a garage sale and raise money for their tuition. Save the finaid for people who are in desperate need of it; whose parents don’t make 6 figures a year. I think it’s unbelievable selfish for those not in need to ask for finaid.
    I don’t claim to know anything about anyone’s situation but my own. But I can assure you, if BU kids are in need of money, it doesn’t show unless it’s in last seasons shoes.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 7:53 am

    Tuition increase is a scandal

    I attended Boston U roughly 10 years ago. During that time the cost of education fluctuated from $27,000 to $31,000. As a scholarship recipient, I was thankfully never in a position to pay what I perceived to be a staggering amount of money. To hear that at this point the cost of education is nearly double what it once was, and that 4% is the lowest increase in years turns my stomach. FYI- With my education from BU , great professional experience and a master’s from an Ivy league school, my last job paid less than one year at BU would cost me today. Something to think about as many people take on $100,000+ in debt for their education. To my mind, it is simply not worth the cost.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 8:34 am

    Why does tuition HAVE to go up every year? Where does it end. Workers in the “normal World” do not get pay raises every year. Why can’t schools in New England budget more and charge students less. Look around the country no one pays what we do for tuition. I went to University of Kentucky for 4,000 per year.I got into BU too at the time. Does the degree really give you an edge over the competition if it is from a NE school? NOPE

  • James Gatz on 03.16.2009 at 9:29 am

    It's a recession don't spend more.

    unconscionable to continue to hike tuition this much when educational loans have dried up and average household wealth is down 18%. If BU is less reliant on its endowment the school’s revenue shouldn’t have been as impacted as much as these “peer” schools. This is the most serious recession in a generation, you don’t spend more, you hold the line until at least a sign of a recovery. I wonder if all contractual groups have accepted a salary freeze, not just highest-paid staff; everyone should have to sacrifice during this time. My summer job hours have already been reduced — I have no idea where I am going to get another $1,370 for next year.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 9:30 am

    are you sh*ting us… i dont know anyones salary that rose by 3.75 % this year, as well BU is currently on a “spending freeze” so why the f are we paying 3.75% more

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 9:31 am


    Well this is a biased article if I have ever seen one..

    try not to sound so defensive… This just looks like BU propaganda.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 11:03 am

    It seems ridiculous to me that financial aid requirements are being sited as a cause for raising tuition. After all, student loans go on the accounts receivables side of the balance sheet and include interest! I can’t imagine BU has suddenly started losing money on it’s loans. The fact is, tuition goes up every year and usually it goes up by more, no matter how many students apply for financial aid. So, OK that’s your excuse this year, what was it the last 8 years? How come tuition can never come down? Does it ever occur to anyone that if they lowered tuition, less people might need to apply for financial aid? From what I’ve seen, the cost of higher education is analogous to the real estate and tech bubbles except that no one can really pop it (unless, at some point no one can afford to go to school).

  • Morgan on 03.16.2009 at 1:06 pm

    Maybe if the school learned how to update buildings and heating systems to use less energy would decrease operation cost. Considering the majority of the winter students have to keep their windows open to keep from baking their brains out should tell something to the school. They are really heating the outside. Actually regulating the heat from the rooms and not the outside will help keep students from cooking and lower heating bills.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 2:00 pm

    I find it interesting that we as students are forced to pay more money each year in part to fund financial aid needs (people would need less financial aid if the cost of tuition wasnt so high and faculty and STAFF–dean, assistant deans, pres, etc. were not paid so much) and all those events that 90% of the student population doesn’t attend (i.e all those events “partially funded by your student fee”). It’s unbelievable that while everyone is financially suffering, BU somehow expects its students to pay more money. Also, the housing increase of $480 or whatever it was…. that’s only for the bottom of the line housing and bottom of the line meal plan. A single room in an apartment went up almost $3000. Where’s that statistic in this article? Why didn’t we all just go to state school? Probably would have been a comparable experience for a quarter of the cost of one year–OVER 4 YEARS!

    And as for the “His daddy’s credit card finally maxed out” comment… I have had a job since I was 14 and have paid for all my “designer bags and jeans” that you can easily find deals on. My mother makes over $100,000 but I find it naiive and rude of you to assume that it all goes to a bank account. It’s called bills, and taxes (which are about to be raised exponentially on those who make 6 figures). My brother and I both attend this school and my family is struggling to pay for this and bills. I find it appalling for you to assume that only families who make what? under $50,000 are in serious need of financial aid. Direct your comments more towards the people driving $120,000 cars. I’m willing to bet you’ve paid more than $50 for a pair of jeans at some point in your life.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 2:13 pm

    Oh good more money

    Hey BU, I work for y’all, does this mean I get a raise?
    …probably not.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 3:55 pm

    BU’s a fine school, and one I’m proud to be affiliated with, but I think it’s an ENORMOUS stretch to say that its “peer institutions” consist of MIT, Northwestern, and Washington University. I’d also question the assumption that paying a comparable rate justifies your own rates. Have some decency, BU, and freeze rates, at least for the time being.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 3:55 pm

    BU’s a fine school, and one I’m proud to be affiliated with, but I think it’s an ENORMOUS stretch to say that its “peer institutions” consist of MIT, Northwestern, and Washington University. I’d also question the assumption that paying a comparable rate justifies your own rates. Have some decency, BU, and freeze rates, at least for the time being.

  • bu senior on 03.16.2009 at 4:08 pm

    Seriously, what are you guys talking about?

    I like how BU charges us about the same for tuition as other schools in the area but is accused of paying its professors less than other schools in the area. I also appreciate the effort to show that BU tuition is “comparable to many of BU’s peer institutions, such as MIT ($37,510), Northwestern ($38,088), and Washington University ($37,800)”. I enjoy reading that BU is a peer to MIT, Northwestern, and WU. Wow, I didn’t know that we were all as smarty as the peeps who went to those institutions! I better start bragging more.

    Why don’t we just compare our tuition to other top tier schools while we’re at it? BU – $37,910 and how about Harvard (since the academic instruction we receive is on par with MIT and Northwestern, why not Harvard?) at $32,557 or Yale at $34,950 (they increased their tuition by 2.2% next year; yay! we outdid Yale!) or Princeton $33,000 (they didn’t even increase tuition – – we totally rocked them!).

    and to “Maybe if the School Learned” I froze my entire freshman (west campus) and sophomore (warren towers) years, so I honestly don’t know what the heck you’re talking about when you complain about heaters which are on too high. BU is doing an awesome job at managing my money I believe. I mean, if you were overheated and I was underheated, someone must have been goldilocks and found the “just right” right?

    and to “Has daddy’s credit card finally maxed out?” I think someone’s a little bitter! I don’t have any of the stuff you’re talking about and neither do any of my friends. I think it’s an example of the one Sun outshining the rest of the solar system. Why don’t you just celebrate BU the way I do?

    We can all comfort ourselves with the knowledge that at least . . . BC still sucks.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 4:17 pm

    Student Body is uninformed...

    I wouldn’t be at this school without it’s generous Financial Aid. Although its tuition is very high, so is the income of a vast majority of its student body. Tuition has to go up because the cost of living goes up. I do NOT think that the upper-level officials at this school should be getting paid as much as they do and believe that it is a disgrace to say that the university is strapped when well over 6 figures is being paid to a sizable number of individuals. And as for being environmentally-sound, BU is not abysmal in terms of environmental standards. It received a B- from the College Sustainability Report Card, which is an indepenent group that assesses a variety of eco-categories. Perhaps everyone should stop complaining so much!

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 4:36 pm


    hmm..now let’s think about this one for a second..where the f*** does all this money go from our tuition..not re-doing our mediocre library that’s for sure..the only real thing i see the money going into is the sidewalks..everywhere i go another sidewalk is being constructed on to put in some “classy” brick..i’m assuming the price of these bricks went up 3.75%..suck it brown

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 4:52 pm

    to paraphrase, "we need to

    to paraphrase,

    “we need to increase your tuition so that we can give you more financial aid”

    WHAT FREAKING IDIOTS. stop bsing us…

    meanwhile, the endowment is just growing and growing

    why did i choose BU?

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 4:54 pm


    I don’t care if BU’s tuition increase is the lowest in 40 years, most schools don’t have tuition that high to start with in the first place. BU knows that the students/parents will eventually pony-up and pay the increase after many complaints. But, morally, what BU is doing is wrong.

  • Anonymous on 03.16.2009 at 6:30 pm

    Tuition Increase

    Bu has one of the highest tuitions in the country. Shame on you! I think you are out of touch Mr Brown, my son is in his second year at BU and we are barely scraping by trying to keep in in this school. Surely there are other ways to cut corners rather than punish the student. After this semester, we will be transferring out of BU, unfortunately you leave us no choice. $50,000 a year for a college education, how sad our memories of BU will be the debt our family will carry for years to come!

  • Anonymous on 03.17.2009 at 6:05 pm

    Tuition increase

    “Tuition income directly impacts our resources for financial aid and our academic programs,” Brown said in a letter to parents. Ok, lets think about this. The more we raise tuition, the more financial aid we hand out. Let’s reduce the tuition and then we would decrease the amount of aid we distribute. MAKES SENSE. After financing one kid at Brown and the other at Virginia Tech, I would send my 3rd to Tech without a second thought. Just look at all the in-state kids going to UVA or UNC for under $10,000. What world are we living in when some are paying $50,000 for the same education others are paying $10,000.

  • Anonymous on 03.18.2009 at 11:43 am

    Can we actually get a newspaper that is CRITICAL of BU policy?

    Seriously, all I see from the Daily Free Press and BU Today is celebration of every decision BU makes. They screw us for money at every corner, and no one is standing up for us. No one wants to do anything about it. This place disgusts me.

  • Anonymous on 03.20.2009 at 2:16 pm

    Instead of complaining...

    Do something about it. Commenting on BU Today isn’t going to get anything done.

    Protest! Jeez, you wouldn’t pay a sudden increase in your cable bill. You’d call your cable company and complain until they returned you to your normal rate. When you need relief, an institution you’ve invested your future in, and your trust, is taking from you to increase their accounts receivable.

    Nobody’s organizing a demonstration? Who wouldn’t show up for that?

  • Anonymous on 03.24.2009 at 11:23 am

    BU Investment

    Being an alumnus of the university, I am happy that the tuition continues to increase. It only makes the value of my degree worth even more. Please keep the annual tuition costs increasing exponentially!

  • Anonymous on 03.27.2009 at 8:56 am

    BU Tuition increase

    It is great that BU wants to offer more financial aid to students, but has anyone thought about the foreign students who are not entitled to financial aid? Our economies are as much in the toilet as the US and our currencies are sometimes as much as 7:1 US. We are also struggling to pay fees in the face of job losses and pay freezes in our own countries. Have a heart BU!

  • Anonymous on 03.28.2009 at 5:25 pm

    When you pay more it is expected to get more which I am sure is part of any business cirriculum they are teaching the soon to be in debt students and/or the soon to be in the poor house parents.
    We have tightened our belts and budgets, guess what I think it is high time BU consider doing the same.

  • Anonymous on 03.29.2009 at 3:03 am

    it is good for the students who get the aids.But how about the students who fail to apply the aids? espacially the foreign students.

  • Anonymous on 07.14.2009 at 3:09 am

    It’s not just foreign students who pay full tuition. I’m a US citizen, and my parents pay full tuition. They’ve always wanted me to focus on school and get the best education available to me. I could have gone to my state party school for free on scholarship, but I chose BU instead because I thought the academics and overall environment would be better, and my parents were willing to pay. But just because my parents’ income is too high for me to qualify for financial aid doesn’t mean they can afford to pay for my education AND for other people’s education, especially since nearly half of what they make is stolen away by taxes. I don’t have designer clothing either – other than living and school expenses, I really don’t spend money on anything else.

    I wouldn’t feel so bad if I felt like I was receiving a quality education, but I don’t feel that I am. I don’t think the quality of BU matches the price tag. Most of the dorms, classroom buildings, and other facilities are incredibly old. I’ve had way too many awful professors who are just mean people and/or incapable of teaching. Even in some upper level classes, there are still 300-400 students all competing for one professor’s attention. But hey, at least our sidewalks are pretty!!

    I’m almost done with BU now, so transferring at this point would be more trouble than it’s worth. If I were at an earlier stage, I would definitely transfer.

  • Anonymous on 08.23.2009 at 10:12 am

    Get involved.. make noise

    Complainers are like cancer, it just keeps spreading at an enormous rate infiltrating others. STOP! If you don’t like the tuition, do something about it! Need money, apply for grants, aids,scholarships. There are many scholarships that go unfunded every year because no one applies or too few to even award. This money will not get renewed so it goes to waste. Students and parents alike need to educate their children on where to look for free money..it’s out there. I am a firm believer that if you look hard enough you will find an answer, ask questions, ask everyone you know. How many times have you gone to a conference and NO ONE asks questions! Ask them.. Hold accountability for your decisions. An education from any school will get you to where you want to be as it what you make of it that will get you far. ASK.. be open sincere and postitive.

  • Anonymous on 09.12.2009 at 4:24 am

    I attended UCSB back in the 90’s and it amazes me that 4 years of tuition at current rates (for residents) adds up to less than 1 year at BU.

  • EEK on 01.30.2010 at 3:17 pm

    Public schools

    Here’s what you do… GO TO STATE UNIVERSITIES. The tuition is much less and you get the same if not better of an education. I say the heck with the private schools.

  • Anonymous on 10.20.2010 at 7:02 pm

    Never can happen

    As a senior in high school, top of my class, i have been aspiring to go to BU my whole life and as i have started to apply my mother told me not to get my hopes up for a school we clearly cannot afford. ( her meaing BU is not an option) It would be amazing if i was offered scolarships of some sort but there is no way it is possible for a mer child can pay $50,000 a year for an education . even with Financial aid BU is now out of my reach. Good bye High Hopes =(

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