Tuition and Financial Aid for Online MSDS Students

Total Cost of Online MSDS Program: $25,000

Sample Payment Schedule (10 modules at $2,500 each)

Fall 1 Spring 1 Summer 1 Fall 2
2.5 Modules 2.5 Modules 2.5 Modules 2.5 Modules
Tuition $6,250 $6,250 $6,250 $6,250

Financial aid is available in the form of federal student loans or private education loans.

Funding Options Quick Links


Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans are available to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents and are made directly to the student who is responsible for repayment. Interest accrues and must be paid by the borrower or is capitalized during periods of in-school enrollment, grace, and/or deferment. Learn more about the current interest rates for Federal Direct Loans.

You must meet federal eligibility criteria to qualify for the Unsubsidized Loan. Financial eligibility is determined by a federally legislated analysis of family financial information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You must file the FAFSA and use Boston University’s School Code (002130) to apply for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan.

Who is eligible to apply?

You are eligible to participate in the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Program if you: 

  • are a US citizen or permanent resident
  • are enrolled in a degree program
  • register for at least six credits which are accepted towards the degree program and are not repeat classes
  • demonstrate financial eligibility as determined by federal regulations
  • do not have an outstanding balance from a prior period of enrollment at Boston University 
  • make satisfactory academic progress

How much can I borrow?

The maximum annual loan limit for graduate and professional students is $20,500. Your actual eligibility may be less and is determined by how many credits you are enrolled for and other sources of financial aid. The maximum cumulative Federal Stafford Loan borrowing amount is $138,500, including any amount borrowed for undergraduate study.

How do I apply for the Unsubsidized Loan?

      1. Complete the FAFSA using your (the student's, and where applicable spouse's) information. Include BU's school code 002130. You may be required to submit additional documentation to support your FAFSA submission.
      2. Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This is required if you are a first-time borrower; federal loan funds will not be disbursed until this requirement is completed.
      3. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each type of federal loan you will be borrowing. This is required if you are a first-time borrower or if you have not borrowed a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan within the last five years.
      4. Complete a Direct Loan Request Form. You will receive a loan approval letter from CDS, which will list your approved loan amounts following review of your FAFSA and this form.

      When will the loan funds be available and how will I receive them?

      • Loans can be disbursed in up to two installments. The amount that will be disbursed will be less the origination fee that the federal government subtracts from the loan to pay for guaranteeing and processing the loan.
      • Any credit balance in your account that remains once your University bill has been settled is available to you through a refund request through the Boston University Student Link. The earliest that the University can release refunds is on the first day of classes for the semester/term.

      Where can I find loan repayment information for federal loans?

      Find the complete listing of loan servicers and their contact information. You can also find your loan servicer’s contact information on the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS).


          Credit-Based Loans

          If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident, we advise first considering borrowing a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, as the interest rates for credit-based loans tend to be higher. If you need to borrow additional funding to help cover educational costs, we advise choosing one of the two credit-based loan options: either a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan or a private education loan (from the lender of your choice), to help simplify repayment in the future. 


          Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

          The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is applied for by the student borrower initially on their own, without a co-signer. The credit check, conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, reviews a student for any "adverse credit history"; a specific credit score or lengthy credit history are not required. Students who are unable to meet the credit criteria may be able to borrow this loan with a creditworthy co-signer. Like the Unsub Loan, interest accrues and must be paid by the borrower or is capitalized during periods of in-school enrollment, grace, and/or deferment. Learn more about the current interest rates for Federal Direct Loans.

          Who is eligible to apply?

          You are eligible to participate in the Federal Graduate PLUS Program if you: 

          • are a US citizen or permanent resident
          • are enrolled in a degree program
          • register for at least six credits which are accepted towards the degree program and are not repeat classes
          • demonstrate financial eligibility as determined by federal regulations
          • do not have an outstanding balance from a prior period of enrollment at Boston University 
          • make satisfactory academic progress

          How much can I borrow?

          The maximum annual loan limit for graduate and professional students is determined by your total cost of attendance budget as determined by BU, less any other aid including scholarships and other loan borrowing.

          How do I apply for the Grad PLUS Loan?

              1. Complete the FAFSA using your (the student's, and where applicable spouse's) information. Include BU's school code 002130. You may be required to submit additional documentation to support your FAFSA submission.
              2. Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This is required if you are a first-time borrower; federal loan funds will not be disbursed until this requirement is completed.
              3. Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each type of federal loan you will be borrowing. This is required if you are a first-time borrower or if you have not borrowed a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan within the last five years.
              4. Complete a Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form. You will receive a loan approval letter from CDS, which will list your approved loan amounts following review of your FAFSA and this form.

              When will the loan funds be available and how will I receive them?

              • Loans can be disbursed in up to two installments. The amount that will be disbursed will be less the origination fee that the federal government subtracts from the loan to pay for guaranteeing and processing the loan.
              • Any credit balance in your account that remains once your University bill has been settled is available to you through a refund request through the Boston University Student Link. The earliest that the University can release refunds is on the first day of classes for the semester/term.

              Where can I find loan repayment information for federal loans?

              Find the complete listing of loan servicers and their contact information. You can also find your loan servicer’s contact information on the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS).


              Private Education Loans

              We encourage you to research and apply for other private loans that suit your lending and educational needs. You are welcome to borrow from any lender of your choice, without penalty. Private loan options will vary from lender to lender in regard to eligibility requirements, interest rates, terms and repayment options. BU suggests using Credible.com to compare credit-based loan information and terms and determine the best fit for your particular circumstances. Credible is a free online loan selection tool that allows you to filter your search to sort on key factors most important to you. With your approval, Credible will pull a soft credit inquiry, which will not affect your credit score but will enable you to compare interest rates you qualify for at multiple lenders.


              Employer-Based Tuition Reimbursement

              You may be eligible for tuition reimbursement through your employer; contact your HR representative for details and terms. If you need to provide a tuition invoice as part of the reimbursement process, you'll be able to access this after you've registered through Student Accounting Services.


              Payment Plans

              Some graduate students use personal savings to help finance their degree and want a flexible way to pay their tuition over a period of time. You can find information on payment deadlines, payment options and payment plans through Student Accounting Services

              Have questions? Contact the Admissions Team: cds-admissions@bu.edu.