What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What Does It Cost to Attend Boston University?

Between grants, scholarships, loans, and a host of other factors, comparing the costs of colleges and universities is far from a straightforward affair. While the published price of an institution provides a good overall idea of the anticipated cost, it fails to consider the aforementioned factors; therefore, it doesn’t deliver a true sense of the expense of expected cost. The truth is, very few students pay the published price of college.


When comparing the prices of colleges and universities, a better metric to use is net cost. Net cost is the published price of a college or university minus any grants or scholarships that your student is awarded and paints a clearer picture of the real expense of attending a distinguished institution such as Boston University (BU).   


If your college-bound student is interested in attending BU, keep reading to learn more about the cost of attending and get a peek at some the other financial factors affecting students in Boston.


If Boston University is your student’s dream school, don’t miss our blog Boston University Acceptance Rate: What Does it Take to Get In?


The List Price of Boston University


The list price for tuition, room, and board at BU is $68,060 for both in- and out-of-state students. However, the majority of students will not pay list price for BU—most full-price-paying students come from well-to-do families with incomes greater than $175,000 who were not in the top third of accepted students. For instance, the average net price of BU for both in- and out-of-state students who don’t qualify for financial aid is $65,467, roughly the published price.


Financial Aid Net Price of Boston University


The financial aid net price—that’s the published price less any financial aid awarded—of Boston University is $58,597, approximately $10,000 less than the list price of $68,060.


Cost Based on Family Income of Attending Boston University


Boston University’s large, urban campus attracts all kinds of students, including students from a diverse group of financial backgrounds and needs. Students will find the price of attending BU varies greatly depending on their family’s income level and financial need and will cost significantly less for students with less fiscal means. For example, below is a list of what the average net price of Boston University is for various family income levels:


  • Average net price for families with an income below $30,000: $21,773
  • Average net price for families with an income between $30,001-$48,000: $22,618
  • Average net price for families with an income between $48,001-$75,000: $26,232
  • Average net price for families with an income between $75,001-$110,000: $32,940
  • Average net price for families with an income of more than $110,000: $46,991


Merit Aid Net Price of Boston University


Merit aid is awarded for a wide range of reasons including academic excellence, athletic achievement, and community involvement. 11.2% of BU students without financial need receive merit aid; the average student without financial need is awarded $2,593.

How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Boston University?


Student loans play a considerable role in how many students pay for college. Roughly one-third of students (32%) at Boston University take out student loans, with the average federal student loans per undergraduate student being $4,454.


Local Area Cost of Living Considerations


There is no denying that Boston, Massachusetts, is an expensive city to live in. Kiplinger ranked Boston as the eighth most expensive city in 2018 and the city has a cost of living index of 181.6—meaning it is 81.6% more expensive than the average U.S. city or town.


Average Apartment Rental


Other than freshman, any Boston University student may choose to live off campus. However, the university guarantees four years of housing to all undergraduate students, which is positive as the housing market can be competitive (and expensive) thanks in part to students from the city’s numerous colleges and universities, in addition to many young professionals, all vying for housing.


The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Boston is $1,836 a month, while two-bedroom apartments go for $2,238. BU does provide an off-campus housing service to help students find and secure housing in the city.




The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12 an hour and students can find employment opportunities in all the industries you would expect to find in a major metropolitan area. Interns in Boston can expect to do slightly better than the minimum wage; according to Indeed, they make $12.47 per hour on average. A plethora of work can be found supporting the city’s numerous bars and restaurants. Boston bartenders earn an average of $15.76 per hour while servers on average take home $13.77 an hour.  


Student Outcomes at Boston University


A student attending BU can expect a positive return on their investment at the university. BU graduates 86% of students within six years, and the average salary for students ten years after graduation is $65,300—about $10,000 more than Boston’s median income of $54,485.


Other Ways to Save


Work-study is a popular option for students looking to offset some of the cost of college. BU participates in the federal work-study program, which is open to qualifying students in need of financial assistance.


BU’s Student Employment Office provides both a job board and a quick job service. On the job board, students will find positions in a wide array of categories, including paid internships. The quick job service posts temporary and unique opportunities ranging from help raking leaves to staffing a party.


Merit-based scholarships are another method for reducing the overall cost of college. Boston University offers a considerable group of merit-based scholarships which is easily discoverable on a dedicated page on their website. Students at BU are also welcome to pursue private scholarships; however, they can affect any aid awarded.  


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Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.