In light of the current concerns about COVID-19, Student Financial Services (SFS) is conducting all business virtually, rather than in-person, during our regular business hours. We remain dedicated to helping you navigate the financial aid process. Please send your questions by email to OSFS@bu.edu. Ask BUzz! Our interactive tool allows you to inquire about financial aid-related questions 24/7. To get started, please click on the Questions tab at the bottom of this page.

Budget Planning

Each semester, students with excess financial aid can request a refund for that semester. These funds can then be used for cost of living expenses such as rent, groceries, and utilities. Many students borrow more aid than needed, because they aren’t sure what their budget will look like month to month.  In order to help students decide how much to borrow, our office has the following recommendations:

# 1 UNDERSTAND YOUR BORROWING

When borrowing federal aid, it’s important for students to know that they can return any federal loan funds up to 120 days after they disburse. This gives them approximately 4 months to work out a viable spending plan, and determine a budget plan.   If they have more than what they need for the remainder of the semester, they can simply email Student Financial Services to make a reduction request. Students do not accrue any interest, nor do they incur any processing fees on the amounts that they return within 120 days. 

# 2 BUDGETING TOOLS

With all of the related costs to borrowing student loans such as interest and capitalization, it is important to limit borrowing to only what is necessary. SFS strongly recommends students create a budget plan in order to meet your needs while keeping borrowing to a minimum. There are several worksheets and websites out there to help you create your budget and stay organized:

  • AAMC Interactive Budget Worksheet — A simple way to compile your expenses and determine your borrowing needs.
  • AAMC Wellness Tools-  Calculate the cost of borrowing, create financial goals and a spending plan, track your expenses, and much more!
  • AAMC Budgeting Basics – Money will probably be tight during medical school and residency. That’s why a realistic spending plan (budget) – one you can stick to – will be critical to your financial well-being during this time.
  • AAMC Medical School Survival Tips – Review strategies for managing your financial aid and daily finances while you’re in school, so that you can make the best financial decisions that will help you during and after medical school.
  • ADA Manage My Debt – Debt and finance management is essential to building a successful career in dentistry. Check out these money-saving resources and valuable tools to help you achieve financial stability.
  • You Need A Budget – You Need A Budget will teach you how to prioritize and plan, so you have money for the things that are most important to you—whatever they are.
  • Mint.com — When you’re on top of your money, life is good. Mint will help you
    effortlessly manage your finances in one place.

# 3 EXPENSES TO ANTICIPATE

When preparing your budget, keep the following one-time expenses in mind:

Year 1

  • Moving expenses, which could include security and utility deposits, cannot be included in the student budget.
  • Please keep in mind the two months between the end of your 1st year and beginning of your 2nd year when you will not be enrolled in classes but will still need to cover your living expenses.

Year 2

  • $630 for USMLE Step 1 application fee (Spring). This is accounted for in the standard student cost of attendance.
  • USMLE Step 1 test preparation materials.
  • Please keep in mind the two months between the end of your 2nd year and beginning of your 3rd year when you will not be enrolled in classes but will still need to cover your living expenses.

Year 3

  • Clothes for clerkships where professional dress is required. This is accounted for in the standard student cost of attendance.
  • Increased transportation costs for travel to hospitals, parking, etc. This is accounted for in the standard student cost of attendance.
  • $1,920 for USMLE Step 2 application fee.  This is accounted for in the standard student cost of attendance.

Year 4

  • Travel for USMLE Step 2 – Clinical Skills (Summer or Fall).  This is accounted for in the standard student cost of attendance.
  • Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) fees.
  • Travel expenses for residency interviews.
  • Graduation expenses: invitations, cap and gown rental, diploma, etc.
  • Living expenses between graduation and the first paycheck for medical residency.