Cost of Living Off vs. On Campus


Boston College is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated institutional financial need for undergraduate students through a combination of grants, loans, and work opportunities. 

The Office of Financial Aid assumes that the parents and the student are responsible for the cost of education to the extent of their abilities and that financial aid will be used to supplement the effort of the family.

Boston College uses two separate formulas to determine eligibility for Financial aid assistance. (1) Federal Methodology which determines eligibility for Federal and State Funds and (2) Institutional Methodology which determines eligibility for BC funds.  Essentially the formula is:

Cost of Attendance (COA)
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) 
= Financial Aid Eligibility/Financial Need

The cost of attendance for residential (on-campus) students at BC for the 2015-2016 academic year (including tuition, fees, room/board, books/misc.) is $65,928. The cost of attendance for non-residential (off-campus) students is $60,814 (including tuition, fees, estimated living expenses, books/misc). The cost of attendance is lower living off-campus, resulting in a reduced amount of financial aid because you lose the portion of your grant that was allotted for the added cost of the on-campus room and board plan.

Boston College estimates that the average cost of living off-campus for the 9 month academic year (September to May) is $9,450 (which translates to $1,050/mo to pay for rent, groceries and utilities. When the $2,500 for books/misc cost are included, the monthly estimated cost of living increases to $1,327. This budget assumes students are living under similar conditions as you would on-campus, with a roommate, to keep costs down.

The average cost of living on-campus for upperclassmen students is $14,104 for the 9 month academic year or $1,557 a month.  With the $2,500 included for books/misc, the monthly cost of living while a residential student is about $1,844 each month.

If a student's actual cost to live off-campus is higher than Financial Aid's set budget, it could cost students more to live off-campus. However, if students spend less than the estimated budget, then living off-campus becomes the more economical choice. Students should be very mindful of their monthly expenses and seek out affordable housing with roommates and sublet their apartments if they study abroad or live elsewhere over the summer months.

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