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Boston University 2022 Report highlights financial progress, research initiatives and competitive admission

Boston University finished the 2022 fiscal year on track with its pre-pandemic financial prediction, “despite lingering anomalies from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

BU sign
A Boston University sign in South Campus. Boston University 2022 Annual Report focuses on financial progress, research initiatives and competitive admission. SOPHIE PARK/DFP FILE

The 2022 Boston University Financial Report credited FY2022’s success to the swift resumption of residential learning, teaching and research after the pandemic as well as budgeting, planning and disciplined financial management.

Gary Nicksa, BU’s treasurer and chief financial officer, wrote in a letter that last year was different from recent years. The University ended with a record operating gain of $176 million.

“Despite the challenges created by external circumstances, the University’s financial engine continues to fire on all cylinders, promising to move us ever forward,” the report stated.

The operating revenues of the University’s tuition and fees increased from about $1.15 billion in FY2021 to about $1.3 billion in FY2022, which Nicksa attributed to “strong enrollment, increased tuition and fee rates and the return of study abroad offerings.”

Along with increased tuition, undergraduate financial aid increased from $330 million in FY2021 to $380.5 million in FY2022.

“Financial aid increased by $52 million, or 11%, in fiscal year 2022 as the University maintained its commitment to provide access to high quality higher education by meeting the full need for all domestic students who qualify for financial aid,” Nicksa wrote.

The University’s endowment, however, experienced a “modest decline,” dropping from a record high of $3.4 billion in FY2021 to $3 billion in FY2022.

Donations and grants dedicated to research totaled $531 million this fiscal year, extending aid toward 121 projects in 12 countries and bringing several other BU research projects to fruition.

Priya Garg, associate dean of medical education at BU Medical School, put together a team of faculty and students to examine racial bias in medical school curricula which was highlighted in the report.

Garg said her team’s research aimed to inform faculty and students about racism that has been historically perpetuated in medicine.

“The school is very supportive of medical education research,” Garg said. “We’ve really worked towards developing an institutional self-assessment tool so institutions and medical schools can think about the areas where racism may be perpetuated through their policies, processes and their curriculum.”

The BU Institute for Global Sustainability’s (IGS) research on sustainability in relation to vulnerable communities around the world was also spotlighted in the annual report.

Rebecca Pearl-Martinez, executive director of IGS, said the institute is working with many different colleges within BU to create a large community of sustainability researchers.

“BU is unique among universities in that it’s invested financially in the growth of the Institute,” Pearl-Martinez said. “We have a base of investment from BU itself, but also (are) going to be growing into different areas that faculty are interested in and students are interested in.”

The 2022 Annual Report also featured new admissions statistics. With BU’s acceptance rate at an all-time low of 14.4%, the University accepted approximately 4,000 students out of 80,000 applicants to join the class of 2026.

BU spokesperson Colin Riley said that although the University lowered the target number of students it aimed to admit this year, admission numbers can fluctuate.

“BU has gained a lot of interest and improved (its) reputation and strength in certain areas (like) the computing and data science,” Riley said. “The admissions professionals, the counselors there, do an extraordinary job and bring in a class and sometimes it’s a bit above the target, but not much higher.”

Nicksa wrote that the University will next focus on goals set in the 2030 Strategic Plan, which includes expanding services to ensure student well-being, developing a new student information system, hiring more faculty and staff and promoting other research initiatives.

“Learning from our pandemic experiences and building from our financial successes, the University is poised to focus on future strategic initiatives,” Nicksa wrote. “While we share concern about inflation, rising interest rates, and the effects of a recession, the University has consistently demonstrated the ability to adjust to uncertain economic conditions and to maintain balance sheet strength over the long term.”

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