BU Boosts Financial Aid to 100 Percent of Calculated Need
Initiative will meet full need for qualifying domestic students entering in fall 2020
In a continuing effort to make a BU education affordable and to create a more socioeconomically diverse campus, the University is expanding its financial aid program to meet the full need for all domestic students who qualify for financial aid, starting with the freshman class that arrives in fall 2020.
Robert A. Brown, president of BU, says the expansion of financial aid has been an important goal of the University for years. “For almost a decade, Boston University has been investing increasing support in undergraduate need-based financial aid in order to support academically talented students from all backgrounds and income levels,” says Brown. “The move to meet full financial need for our domestic students is the culmination of this investment.”
Christine McGuire, vice president and associate provost for enrollment and student administration, says the expanded benefit will apply to first-time domestic students, meaning those who have not attended another college and who are US citizens or permanent residents. The University has been increasing financial aid for the past several years, and currently meets over 90 percent of the calculated need for eligible students, McGuire says. Existing aid packages will continue as they are, under the BU Scholarship Assurance program, for currently enrolled students through their four years at the University.
Jean Morrison, University provost, says increasing financial aid is an important and strategic initiative for BU. “This will allow us to continue to compete for excellent students,” she says. “It demonstrates our commitment to access and affordability for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.”
It demonstrates our commitment to access and affordability for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Under the expanded program, students who are admitted will have their family contribution determined based on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile applications. The difference between what the family can pay and the total cost of a year at BU, which is considered 100 percent of a student’s full need, will be made up by some combination of scholarships, loans, or work-study. Scholarships will be renewed each year for four years of undergraduate study as long as existing criteria are met, and will increase at the same percentage rate that tuition increases, allowing a family to plan for all four years. For students who are either eligible for federal Pell Grants or are Boston Public Schools graduates, the University’s existing policy of meeting full need without loans will continue.
BU’s expansion of financial aid accelerated two years ago when it began offering full-need financial aid to students receiving Pell Grants, a benefit made possible in part by support from BU trustee Richard D. Cohen (CGS’67, Questrom’69). In 2017, the year that program began, the number of Pell Grant recipients in the entering freshman class increased by 4.2 percent, and every subsequent year Pell Grant recipients have made up more than 15 percent of the entering class. From fall 2016 to fall 2019, the number of entering students from underrepresented groups has climbed, from 15.7 percent to a projected 19.4 percent.
In fiscal year 2020, the University expects its financial aid investment to reach $290 million.
The new initiative is among BU’s efforts toward building a more racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse community on its campus. In 2018, the University joined the American Talent Initiative, an alliance of colleges and universities with a shared commitment to improve opportunities for students from low- to moderate-income families. And the University currently works with more than 100 community organizations that help create college-going cultures in underserved areas.
“These are all things that we need to be doing if we are really concerned about increasing access to a Boston University education,” says McGuire. “The new program is a really good thing to do, and now is the time to do it.”