CollegeCalc Highest List Price Rank - 60th

Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Tuition for Boston University is $52,816 for the 2018/2019 academic year. This is 86% more expensive than the national average private non-profit four year college tuition of $28,471. Boston University is one of the 100 most expensive colleges in the America, coming in 60th on our Expensive 100 Ranking. The cost is 61% more expensive than the average Massachusetts tuition of $32,758 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 75th in Massachusetts amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 8th most expensive 4 year college in the state. Price does not vary by residence.

The school charges an additional fees of $1,132 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $53,948.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $15,720 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in Boston should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,000.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $1,950 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $1,950 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The annual tuition and living expense budget to go to BU was $72,618 for the 2018/2019 academic year. The cost is the same for all students regardless of Massachusetts residence status as there is no in-state discount.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 IPEDS survey response for Boston University and represent reported costs for the 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for Boston University
Estimated Budgets
Massachusetts Resident Total Budget $72,618
   In-State Tuition$52,816
   Other Fees$1,132
   Room and Board$15,720
   On-Campus Other Budget$1,950
   Books and Supplies$1,000
Non-Resident Total Budget $72,618
   Out-of-State Tuition$52,816
   Other Fees$1,132
   Room and Board$15,720
   On-Campus Other Budget$1,950
   Books and Supplies$1,000


What it Really Costs

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $72,618 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price

The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported BU net price for in-state students is $33,728* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

48% of Boston University students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $34,156. 14 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2014/2015 was $4,626. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend Boston University, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for Boston University
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$33,728*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid48%
Average Total Grant Aid$34,156
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants14%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,626

Average Net Price by Family Income

The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last published for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$26,482
$30,001 to $48,000$24,148
$48,001 to $75,000$28,388
$75,001 to $110,000$33,704

Average Financial Aid Mix - $72,618 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $72,618. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 48% - $34,156

Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, Boston University or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

 9% - $6,470

Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

 43% -  $30,042

Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.

*Reported Average Annual Net Price for students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Academic Year 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Is it Worth the Cost?

To make a comparative assessment if BU is worth the price, measures of it's relative value for tuition dollar can be examined. We've calculated an academic national percentile rating of 95/100 for Boston University. Considering an average net price paid of $29,899, this leads to an overall value ranking of 64/100. This places the school 139th on our national Best Value Colleges ranking as a provider of a very high value education compared to actual overall price paid.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Private Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. Boston University
Emerson College12.9% less expensive
Massachusetts Institute of Technology2.5% less expensive
Northeastern University4.5% less expensive
Harvard University12.3% less expensive
Boston College3.4% more expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it's the "all in" multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let's take a look at what it could really cost for four years at Boston University.

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor's degree at BU is $290,472 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you're in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school's annual $29,899 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $119,596**

If you end up on the "five year plan" and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $363,090 or $149,495 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Estimated Cost Per Semester

Most colleges don't charge students on an annual basis but instead require payment semester by semester. If you ever need to take an additional semester of classes to complete you degree you shouldn't have to pay for a full academic year. These our estimated costs for a semester at Boston University.

Massachusetts Resident Tuition Per Semester$26,408
Massachusetts Resident Total Cost Per Semester$36,309

Cost Per Credit Hour and Cost for a Class

Some schools offer the ability to take single classes by paying on a per credit hour basis. The reported price per credit hour and estimated cost for one class at Boston University are as follows. Per credit costs are for reference only as many schools will not allow students to pay by credit hour.

Cost per credit hour and per class at Boston University
Price per credit hour$1,651
Cost for one class (3 credit hours)$4,953
Cost for one class (4 credit hours)$6,604


Student Loans and Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 38% of Boston University students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $6,470. The reported average student debt upon graduation is $37,694.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for Boston University? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors - offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We've modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $119,596, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $148,391.21. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at Boston University. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 48% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $29,899. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our Boston University student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

Boston University Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$1,236.59
Amount Borrowed$119,596.00
Interest Rate4.5%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$28,795.21
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$148,391.21

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend BU? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider. In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you're considering attending Boston University, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $148,391.21 would be needed to afford a $1,236.59 monthly payment in the example $119,596.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost and Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to Boston University in the future? In the past four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $42,400 to $52,816. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 4.9%. Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc's estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current 4 year cost of $290,472.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for Boston University.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2025$99,867$399,467
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2030$127,458$509,832
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2035 $162,672$650,689
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2038 $188,314$753,254

Tuition History

What was tuition at BU five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago? Hop into our time machine and take a look. Pay attention to how aggressive the school has been with price increases in the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1987 follows.

YearTuitionAnnual Increase

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at Boston University to the national average for all other colleges offering the same major. Use this comparison to determine particular programs where this school offers value relative to other colleges.

Area of Study Graduates vs National Avg
Business Administration and Management, General Bachelor's Degree 682 110% costlier
Speech Communication and Rhetoric Bachelor's Degree 317 83% costlier
International Relations and Affairs Bachelor's Degree 305 55% costlier
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 247 80% costlier
Hospitality Administration/Management, General Bachelor's Degree 175 101% costlier
Journalism Bachelor's Degree 155 88% costlier
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 152 62% costlier
Radio and Television Bachelor's Degree 128 88% costlier
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 121 80% costlier
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other Bachelor's Degree 107 73% costlier
Health Professions Bachelor's Degree 104 90% costlier
Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, Other Bachelor's Degree 104 100% costlier
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 102 75% costlier
English Language and Literature, General Bachelor's Degree 101 81% costlier
Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 91 71% costlier
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 81 42% costlier
History, General Bachelor's Degree 76 77% costlier
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 53 77% costlier
Neuroscience Bachelor's Degree 50 26% costlier
Art History, Criticism and Conservation Bachelor's Degree 48 48% costlier
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 42 61% costlier
Computer Science Bachelor's Degree 42 73% costlier
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Bachelor's Degree 40 45% costlier
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 39 76% costlier
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 34 61% costlier
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering Bachelor's Degree 33 60% costlier
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degree 30 72% costlier
Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies Bachelor's Degree 27 69% costlier
Painting Bachelor's Degree 27 63% costlier
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 25 87% costlier
Elementary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 25 105% costlier
Graphic Design Bachelor's Degree 24 80% costlier
Archeology Bachelor's Degree 23 36% costlier
Manufacturing Engineering Bachelor's Degree 20 90% costlier
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Technician Bachelor's Degree 20 89% costlier
Acting Bachelor's Degree 18 65% costlier
Social Studies Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 18 95% costlier
Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist Bachelor's Degree 18 88% costlier
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Bachelor's Degree 17 75% costlier
Mathematics Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 17 105% costlier
Spanish Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 17 69% costlier
Molecular Biology Bachelor's Degree 16 50% costlier
Computer Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 16 71% costlier
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 15 74% costlier
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 15 65% costlier
Nutrition Sciences Bachelor's Degree 15 62% costlier
Social Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 15 54% costlier
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 15 71% costlier
Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 14 46% costlier
Voice and Opera Bachelor's Degree 14 64% costlier
French Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 14 57% costlier
Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology Bachelor's Degree 14 68% costlier
Athletic Training/Trainer Bachelor's Degree 13 93% costlier
Stringed Instruments Bachelor's Degree 12 39% costlier
Music Performance, General Bachelor's Degree 11 82% costlier
Sculpture Bachelor's Degree 9 54% costlier
Special Education and Teaching, General Bachelor's Degree 9 104% costlier
Early Childhood Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 8 110% costlier
English/Language Arts Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 8 107% costlier
Astronomy Bachelor's Degree 8 40% costlier
Environmental Biology Bachelor's Degree 8 64% costlier
Religion/Religious Studies Bachelor's Degree 8 53% costlier
Conservation Biology Bachelor's Degree 7 62% costlier
Ancient Studies/Civilization Bachelor's Degree 6 28% costlier
Japanese Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 6 38% costlier
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies Bachelor's Degree 6 114% costlier
Foreign Language Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 6 89% costlier
Geology/Earth Science, General Bachelor's Degree 5 75% costlier
Pre-Dentistry Studies Bachelor's Degree 5 70% costlier
Geography Bachelor's Degree 4 96% costlier
East Asian Studies Bachelor's Degree 4 27% costlier
Directing and Theatrical Production Bachelor's Degree 4 53% costlier
Latin American Studies Bachelor's Degree 4 37% costlier
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 4 76% costlier
Art Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 3 100% costlier
American/United States Studies/Civilization Bachelor's Degree 2 40% costlier
Chemistry, Other Bachelor's Degree 2 73% costlier
Geophysics and Seismology Bachelor's Degree 2 49% costlier
Architectural History and Criticism, General Bachelor's Degree 1 22% costlier
Music Theory and Composition Bachelor's Degree 1 56% costlier
Music Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 1 91% costlier
Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments Including Deafness Bachelor's Degree 1 93% costlier
Urban Studies/Affairs Bachelor's Degree 1 55% costlier
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 1 37% costlier
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 1 65% costlier
Musicology and Ethnomusicology Bachelor's Degree 1 18% costlier
Science Teacher Education/General Science Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 1 112% costlier
Comparative Literature Bachelor's Degree 1 30% costlier
German Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 1 54% costlier


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for Boston University or model a student loan.

College Savings Calculator

Plan and Save for College

Discover how much will you need to start saving now to afford Boston University in the future.

Student Loan Calculator

Estimate Loan Payments

Modify the loan assumptions to fit your financial situation and likely tuition price. Then calculate your payoff and loan payments for a Boston University student loan.

Prepayment Option

About Boston University

Boston University is a four year private college located in Boston, Massachusetts.  Full time enrollment is 28,287 and part time is 6,370. Learn more about getting accepted at Boston University at CollegeSimply.

Students attending this school may pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Boston University
One Silber Way
Boston, Massachusetts

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

Boston University is a private not for profit institution.

Boston University cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=164988 IPEDS survey data.