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Next Year’s Tuition, Room and Board to Rise 3.85 Percent

University will increase financial aid


Students will see an increase in BU costs next year that is among the smallest in the last four decades.

The University’s trustees have set the 2011–2012 academic year’s standard tuition at $40,848 and room and board at $12,710, President Robert A. Brown has announced.

The combined increase of 3.85 percent is one of the lowest percentage hikes in the last 40 years, Brown said in an email sent to students and parents last Thursday. He also acknowledged the financial sacrifices families make for college.

“We understand that this tuition increase is a burden for many families, and we continue to focus on maintaining access to Boston University for students with varying economic means,” the president wrote. “Currently, 55 percent of our undergraduate students receive financial assistance from the University. Our total undergraduate aid budget for the coming year is projected to be $210 million, up $15 million from one year ago, an increase of 7.7 percent.”

BU’s increase is equal to or less than those planned at several other schools. Six of the eight Ivy League members have announced cost increases of between 3.8 and 5.9 percent, including Harvard’s 3.8 percent; only Princeton came in below that, at 1 percent, and Columbia hasn’t yet announced next year’s charges. Wesleyan’s costs are to rise 3.8 percent, Boston College’s, 3.6 percent, and Northeastern’s, 4 percent.

The email said the new charges allow funding “for a very modest level of growth of our faculty and for further improvement in our student services.” The University’s budget will cover “modest” raises for faculty and staff and some “unavoidable” cost increases, Brown wrote, notably employee health care expenses, which will rise an anticipated 13 percent next year.

Executive Vice President Joseph Mercurio says the University is undertaking numerous projects that are supported by tuition, projects that “will provide improved facilities, services, or both to graduate and undergraduate students.”

He cited the 208-student residence hall under construction at the Medical Campus, the Center for Student Services on East Campus, installation of wireless access campus-wide, and renovations of numerous rooms and buildings, from Rich and Sleeper Halls to chemistry labs and Walter Brown Arena.

“We remain committed to providing an exceptionally high-quality education and well-rounded academic experience to our students,” Brown wrote in his email.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.


5 Comments on Next Year’s Tuition, Room and Board to Rise 3.85 Percent

  • Austin Corbett on 03.23.2011 at 11:02 am

    Lots of Sacrifices

    “Boston University was the only Massachusetts college to pay its president more than $1 million in 2008. Counting salary and a variety of other benefits, Robert A. Brown received just over that threshold, making him the highest compensated college leader in the state”


    Lots of sacrifcing, huh? Nice to know that one month of President Brown’s rent could pay for a semester of my tuition. Even if its an inflated estimate, he’s still making an obscene amount of money.

    I understand the need to compensate people who work hard and do great things for the University, but is that really necessary? And if he’s making this much imagine all the other positions below him that are making several hundred thousand each year.

  • Anonymous on 03.23.2011 at 11:46 am

    Take it from someone on staff. BU spends it’s money wastefully.

  • Anonymous on 03.24.2011 at 1:12 pm

    It may be the lowest percent increase in 40 years, but tuition remains about $20,000 more than it should be. Instead of raising tuition, they should cut wasteful spending. I found humor in an email sent out by the student union asking students to vote on which building needed renovation. They didn’t give an option to say “instead of renovating perfectly fine buildings, don’t raise tuition.”

  • April Schoenfeld on 04.07.2011 at 9:10 pm


    I have been on a leave of absence since 2009 when my parents made it known that we could not afford tuition. I have been working part-time jobs in the food industry to make up the difference between what my parents can pay and what tuition costs. These rises are ridiculous and are continuing to make college less and less affordable for me and my family. Not only is tuition rising faster than the natural rate of inflation (or interest rates for that matter), they are not justified in any quantitative way.

    BU is missing an opportunity to become a leading institution in the academic community by exercising more responsibility, controlling their costs, and helping make a quality education attainable for all that prove worthy. Why can’t BU be the first college to not raise tuition at all? BU owes it to the students, families, and faculty who are sacrificing so much to make better decisions regarding their costs. Otherwise, BU’s ability to retain top students, partially from diverse backgrounds, will diminish.

  • Anonymous on 05.17.2011 at 6:12 pm

    BU tuition increase

    Perhaps higher education is just another “bubble” created when the Federal Government hopped in and began guaranteeing students loans. Let’s see what else has seen a meteoric rise in the last 40 years: Health Care costs, Real Estate, Tuition. Hmmmm….what is one thing in common on all 3? Yep, Fed Government subsidizes or guarantees all three. We’re paying the tariff because BU is a good school; but, the bubble is coming (lower number of high school students entering college) and watch tuition start to come down.

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