Boston University

Boston University Enrollment and Financial Aid Information

Located in Boston, MA, Boston University is a 4-year, private university that offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition, and admission information.

Should You Attend Boston University?

A 4-year, private, not-for-profit university located in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University (BU) offers about 250 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as certificate programs. The university houses 19 colleges and schools, including a law school, a school of theology, and a college of engineering. Examine the pros and cons to decide if Boston University is a good fit for you.


  • Ranked #15 for undergraduate biomedical engineering by US News and World Report in 2013
  • 4-year graduation rate is 25 percentage points higher than the national average
  • Accepts AP credits


  • Total cost is $18,871 higher than the national average
  • Average debt following graduation is $9,828 more than the national average
  • High number of TAs teaching classes

About Boston University

As a private university, the cost for attending BU is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. The total cost for the 2011-2012 school year, a figure which includes tuition, fees, and living expenses, was $56,842 according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This makes Boston University more expensive than the national average for private, not-for-profit universities. This higher-than-average total cost is accompanied by an average student debt of $36,488, about $10,000 more than the average.

BU was ranked by US News and World Report as #51 among national universities in 2013. Its biomedical engineering program earned the best ranking of all undergraduate programs at BU. It was ranked #15 among schools at which the highest level is a doctorate. According to Boston University, over 250 programs of study are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels, so you have a wide number of classes and majors from which to choose.

The acceptance rate at Boston University is about 50%, meaning that it's harder to get into than average. The graduation rate at BU is better than average. After 4 years, 65% of students who started in 2005 had graduated, which you can compare to a national average of 40%. After 6 years, 85% of those students had completed their undergraduate degree programs.

If you do best in a setting with a lot of access to individualized attention, you will have a student-faculty ratio of 13:1 at BU, and an average class size of 28. The majority of your classes will have less than 20 students, and about 11% will have more than 50 students. However, teaching assistants make up a high number of instructors, about 32%. If you need extra help with your classes, academic support services are available in the form of the Educational Resource Center, which offers peer tutoring, a writing center, and workshops.

Getting In & Financial Aid at Boston University

Boston University requires the common application, which will be accompanied by a BU-specific supplement. If you're considering early decision, the deadline is November 15. Regular decision applications must be submitted by January 1. In addition to the application, you will submit your high school transcript, a school report form to be filled out by your guidance counselor, a teacher evaluation form which will be filled out by a teacher familiar with your work, and your SAT or ACT scores. If you apply to the College of Fine Arts, you will also submit a portfolio or audition. For flute, violin, or voice auditions, a recording needs to be submitted by December 1. The average SAT scores for writing, reading, and math for the 2011 entering freshman class were 641, 620, and 657 respectively. The average ACT composite score was 28, and the average high school GPA was 3.5.

You will have to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than February 15. In 2011, according to U.S. News and World Report, 50% of students applied for need based aid, and 42% were determined to have need. Of those, 47% had their financial aid need fully met, while on average, 89% of student need was met. The average financial aid package for freshmen entering in 2011 was $34,510. Non-need based aid is also available. Applications for the Trustee Scholarship, which covers all undergraduate tuition and fees for up to 4 years, and the Presidential Scholarship, worth $20,000 per year for up to 4 years, must be submitted by December 1. The average non-need-based academic scholarship offered in 2011 was $19,381, and the average non-need-based athletic scholarship was $31,296.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013) January 1*
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013) February 15*
Notification of Acceptance (2013) Early April*
Application Fee (2013) $75*
Acceptance Rate (2011) 49.4%***
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2011) $56,842**
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $34,510***
Percent of Students with Need Met (2011) 47%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $36,488***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 1.5%**

Student Life at Boston University

If you attend BU, you will join a student population of 32,439, with 18,140 undergraduates and 14,299 graduate students. Boston University is a diverse school. About 50% of the student body is classified as white, according to NCES. Additionally, 13% is classified as Asian, 8% as Hispanic or Latino, and 3% as African American. International students make up about 12% of the student body, and BU has an office of disability services to aid disabled students. The majority of students, about 60%, come from states other than Massachusetts.

You will find about 500 student organizations at Boston University. About 3% of men and 7% of women choose to pledge at 12 fraternities and 13 sororities. If you don't want to pledge, you can explore a number of other organizations. There are clubs for recreation, religion, and politics, as well as other interests.

On campus housing is available. All freshmen students are required to live on campus, although exceptions will sometimes be made for students who are older than 21 or who live locally with a family member. Following freshmen year, you will be guaranteed on-campus housing until you complete your undergraduate work, if you choose to take advantage of it.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Large city**
Student Population (2011) 18,140 undergraduates // 14,299 graduate students**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 41% to 59%**
% of Full Time Students (2011) 92%**
% of In-state Students (2011) 20%**
% of International Students (2011) 12%**
Retention Rate (2011) 92%**
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 60%***
Number of Libraries 24*
Extracurricular Activities About 500*

Sources: *Boston University, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***U.S. News and World Report

Contact Info

  • Address: Boston University Admissions, 121 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215
  • Phone number: (617) 353-2300