Graduate Tuition and Financial Aid

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Various forms of financial aid are available to support your studies at the College of Fine Arts. In addition to loans (federal and credit-based) and external funding opportunities that are available, we offer a range of scholarships and assistantships for students in our on-campus programs.

Students interested in our online programs should refer to the CFA Online site here.  The only financial aid we offer to students in our online programs are Direct Unsubsidized (Stafford) Loans.

The College of Fine Arts Graduate Financial Aid Office is located at 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 230. This office is a resource for CFA graduate students and prospective students. The CFA Graduate Financial Aid Office can assist graduate students with scholarships, assistantships, Work-Study grants, stipends, and loan processing. Students are welcome to drop by the office, call (617-353-3350), or email us.

Financial Aid FAQS


Tuition varies by program. Expand the sections below to learn about your individual program.

Please note that all students who register full-time must pay the required university fees outlined in the “Fees” section below, in addition to tuition.

For information on tuition refunds if you drop a course, please visit the Registrar’s website here.

If you are receiving a scholarship and have questions about how the percentage of your scholarship is calculated, please see the “Scholarships” section below.




All full-time students who attend classes on campus are charged the following fees for 2020-2021:

  • Student Services Fee: $356/year
  • Health & Wellness Fee: $456/year
  • = Total $812 in required fees for 2020-2021  

Explanation of these fees can be found here.

Student Medical Insurance

Medical insurance fees for 2020-2021 is $2789.

Full-time students enrolled in the College of Fine Arts are required to participate in a qualifying medical insurance plan. New students are automatically enrolled in the BU Basic Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) and their student accounts are charged for the coverage.  Students may increase their enrollment to the BU Student Plus SHIP to help cover a spouse or dependents $3,719 (two or more children ** $7438), or may waive their enrollment in the medical insurance plan if they have a comparable level of health insurance coverage. To waive BU insurance, students from the U.S. must have coverage that is at least comparable to the BU plan (see link below for more information). International students are required to enroll in a Boston University Medical Insurance Plan.  All changes to automatic enrollment must be submitted by the appropriate deadline.  Please see more information about medical insurance at Boston University here.


The College of Fine Arts offers merit scholarships based on the strength of each candidate’s artistic promise and program needs. Financial need is not a factor. As there is no separate application process for scholarship consideration, all graduate students (both domestic and international) admitted to an on-campus program are automatically considered for scholarships.

Scholarships are calculated based on full-time registration.  Scholarships are not available to part-time students. Full-time students who drop to part-time status are not eligible to receive scholarship aid (see the Tuition section above).  Any offer of scholarship will continue for the duration of the student’s program (see Commitment Requirements by Program below).

Students receiving scholarships are expected to make satisfactory academic progress, as defined by their school and program.  The academic status of every student is reviewed at the end of each semester.  Failure to make satisfactory progress and remain in good standing can result in academic probation or dismissal.  Any student not meeting the satisfactory progress requirements will forfeit his or her scholarship.

For detailed information, please click on your school:

Commitment Requirements by Program


Master of Music, Artist Diploma, Performance Diploma students: 2-year commitment

Doctor of Musical Arts students: 3-year commitment

Center for New Music Doctor of Musical Arts students: 4-year commitment


MFA students: 3-year commitment

Artisan Certificate students: 2-year commitment

Visual Arts

MFA students: 2-year commitment

Certificate in Graphic Design students: 1-year commitment


Assistantships are positions within the College of Fine Arts that are specifically available to graduate students. Assistantship opportunities include positions with instructional, research, and/or administrative responsibilities. Both domestic and international students may be considered for available positions. Assistantships are awarded based on artistic merit and the needs of the schools.

There is no separate application required to apply for an assistantship in the School of Theatre.

Students in the School of Visual Arts who are interested in applying for assistantship consideration should be in contact with SVA Assistant Director Jessica Caccamo.

Applicants to and current students in the School of Music will receive the Music Graduate Assistantship application by email in January. If you have questions, please email


Students enrolled in the School of Theatre MFA programs may receive stipends in addition to other scholarship aid. Stipends are split between the fall and spring semesters and are paid out as a check or direct deposit to the recipient at the end of the first month of each semester. If you are planning on using your stipend to pay for living expenses, please arrive with at least one month of savings to cover your expenses before your stipend is processed.


Funding for the graduate Work-Study program is provided by the federal government. The purpose of these grants is to assist US citizens or permanent residents who demonstrate financial need. Students are given an amount of money that they may earn through hourly paid positions in the University. As funds are very limited, not all interested students receive an award. To apply for Work-Study, students must complete both a 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a Work-Study application below.

2020-2021 Graduate Work- Study Application Deadline to apply: Thursday, August 27, 2020.

Due to the high volume of applications received and the limited size of our graduate work-study budget, it is important not to count on receiving a graduate work-study position.


Skip directly to information on: General Loan InformationFederal Direct Unsubsidized “Stafford” LoansFederal Grad PLUS LoansPrivate Loans

General Loan Information

Federal Direct Unsubsidized “Stafford” Loans

Federal Graduate PLUS Loans

Private Student Loans

Students are welcome to pursue a private student loan as desired, be it through your home bank or credit union, a national lender, or elsewhere. We list some trusted, competitive student loan options on our Office of Financial Assistance website.

When determining what private loan might be best for you, please consider all details, including interest rates (and whether it is fixed or variable), additional fees (such as origination fees), repayment options, and any special options or incentives available to you (such as perqs for good academic standing, loyalty programs with a lender you have previously used, etc.). You will work directly with the private lender to determine the terms and details of your loan, and then the lender will typically work directly with our central OFA to certify the loan and apply the funds directly to your student account.