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BU Expands Boston Community Service Award Program

Scholarships open to transfers who graduated from city’s public schools


Boston University has deepened its commitment to the city of Boston by expanding a scholarship program to offer all graduates of Boston public high schools who are admitted to the University a chance at a debt-free education.

The BU Community Service Award, a seven-year-old program that has been limited to incoming freshmen, will be made available to transfer students who are Boston public high school graduates, beginning with the 2017 fall semester.

“This scholarship will make a tremendous impact in the lives of our BPS students,” says Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We know that BPS graduates are smart, dedicated individuals, and Boston University is offering them a fantastic opportunity to pursue their degree without the financial burden so many students have to take on. I’m grateful Boston has a strong academic partner in Boston University and look forward to BPS students benefiting from the expanded scholarship program.”

“We are pleased to expand the eligibility to our Community Service scholars program to Boston Public School graduates who transfer to Boston University,” says President Robert A. Brown. “We are hopeful that creating this opportunity for financial aid will allow more students from Boston to study and graduate from Boston University.”

Rosy Chen (ENG’17), a 2013 graduate of Boston Latin School, is one of the 150 undergraduates currently supported by the program, which meets the full calculated financial needs of students: tuition, room and board, books, supplies, travel, and fees, all without loans. “The Community Service scholars program is the main reason why I’m at BU,” says the computer engineering major.

Chen, whose mother is a seamstress and whose father works in a restaurant, says the scholarship program has made it possible for her and her two sisters, Anna Chen (Questrom’13), a Boston Latin Academy graduate, and Helen Chen (Questrom’15), who graduated from Boston Latin School, to attend BU.

“It’s not very often that someone can graduate from a private institution without any loans,” she says. “The program made it possible, and I’m grateful for that. With this degree, I’ll be able to get access to more opportunities, whether it be grad school or whatever career path I choose to follow.”

Christine McGuire, vice president ad interim for enrollment and student affairs, says 35 to 40 freshmen each year take advantage of the program, which has a graduation rate of 94 percent. The cost to the University averages $41,000 per year, per student.

This year the University admitted 17 transfer students who were graduates of Boston public schools. Many transferred from another university, a handful from local community colleges.

The program, created in 2009, has provided 348 Boston Public Schools graduates with over $36 million in scholarships. Each student is given a University faculty or staff mentor as a resource and support throughout his or her four years. Community Service Award recipients must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA and successfully complete at least 12 credits per semester. After their first semester, they are required to perform 25 hours of community service each semester, under the guidance of their mentor. They must also reapply for financial aid each year, including income verification documents.

The cost is mostly met with University scholarship funding. If eligible, students in the program may also receive federal grants and work-study funding. Students complete the normal financial aid process, which includes submitting a CSS Profile and FAFSA applications. A few may choose to take loans to cover expenses that go beyond their calculated eligibility.

BU also funds the Thomas M. Menino Scholarship program, which supports up to 25 exemplary incoming students from Boston Public Schools each year with full tuition for four years, and if they’re eligible, will also meet their full calculated need without loans.

Joel Brown, Staff Writer for BU Today, Bostonia and BU Today Marketing & Communications
Joel Brown

Joel Brown can be reached at jbnbpt@bu.edu.

3 Comments on BU Expands Boston Community Service Award Program

  • Elie Saroufim on 01.24.2017 at 10:31 am

    What are the chances that BPS Students in Graduate School at BU will be able to gain access to this generous funding as well?

  • BU Financial Assistance on 01.24.2017 at 1:42 pm

    Elie – Scholarships for graduate study at the University are funded through different sources. As a result, students pursuing post-baccalaureate degrees are not included under this program.

  • jaden smith on 01.24.2017 at 5:10 pm

    Elie – Scholarships for graduate study at the University are funded through different sources

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