Alexis Rich / Gavel Media

Behind the BC Tuition Increase

As the fall semester approached, many students were eagerly anticipating a return to BC, or, for the class of 2026, the start of their college experience. Between friends, clubs, and classes, there was much to be excited about for the new academic year. Perhaps less exciting for most was the increase in tuition, with the BC Board of Trustees voting to set the 2022-23 tuition cost to $62,950. The 3.86% increase from last year set the overall cost at a hefty $80,296 (including room and board). To offset the cost for the 67% of BC students receiving financial aid, the board also voted to increase aid by 4.43%. This additional $6.7 million in financial aid brought the total to $157 million for the year. BC is quick to point out its status as one of only 21 private need-blind (financial need not factored into admission) universities in the United States, and the fact that it meets the demonstrated need of all BC students. According to US News, the average tuition after grants comes out to just over $33,000. This contributes to BC's rank as #50 in best value schools in the nation. The number is nothing to discount, but with Boston University at #29, Tufts at #27, and Brandeis at #41, it begs the question of whether attending BC is the smartest move. Northeastern, at #83, and Harvard and MIT (#2 and #5 respectively) are also on the list. The methodology of the list can be found here.

Looking nationwide, several trends emerge. According to Forbes, the average tuition increase at top colleges for the 2022-23 academic year was 3.7%, slightly below BC’s increase of 3.86%. Private schools made up many of the highest tuition increases (USC at 5% and Amherst at 4.6%), but with UCLA and UC Davis both at 4.1% the line between private and public schools was not so clear cut. In particular, private institutions like Vanderbilt at 1.8% and Princeton at 2.5% were among the lowest tuition increases on the list. 

Oddly enough, inflation doesn’t seem to have that much of an effect on tuition. According to the Washington Post, on average, from 2010-2020, the tuition price increase was 3% for public universities and 3.7% for private universities. Sometimes, the price has jumped dramatically, such as a 8.5% average spike in public university tuition in 2011, and with the annual inflation rate of  8.5% as of July 2022, a 3.86% increase in BC tuition seems remarkably average, making it seem like BC will be losing money. But, such appearances can be deceiving. During the pandemic, for the fall 2020 and 2021 school years, on average, tuition and fees for public universities increased by 1.2% and 1.6%, respectively. Those numbers are the lowest percentage-wise since the 1970s. Private universities saw increases of 1.1% and 2.1% during the same time period. However, BC increased tuition in the falls of 2020 and 2021 by 3.69% and 2.5% respectively, both significantly higher than the national average for private schools. So while most schools are faced with a financial crunch due to low tuition increases during the pandemic and lower cost increases this year, BC is able to afford slightly higher than average tuition increases (as opposed to dramatic ones) after keeping tuition increases at normal levels during the pandemic.

For those affected by the tuition increase, Montserrat is available on campus, with a full list of their resources found here. The office provides textbook lending services, advising on employment (both during the year and the summer), academic advising, scholarships and grants, mentoring, and a number of other resources. However, the selection is determined every year and is handled through the office of financial aid. The administration also provides several grant programs for BC students (for unpaid internships, research, study abroad, etc.), of which the full list can be found here. Students with further questions about their financial aid should contact their financial aid advisor. International students who are ineligible for financial aid can also contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.