BU expands scholarships for Boston public school grads

Boston University scholarships previously only available to incoming freshmen who have graduated from Boston Public Schools will be expanded to include transfer students.

Any BPS graduate who is accepted into BU can enter the BU Community Service Awards program, which covers all financial need without loans and assigns university faculty or staff to mentor each scholarship student, said Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office in a statement last week.

And beginning in fall, the scholarships will be available to BU transfer students who graduated from the Boston school system, the mayor’s office said.

Between 35 and 40 freshmen take advantage of the program every year, the office said, and students are required to maintain a grade point average above 2.0 and complete 12 hours of community service per semester.


Judy Le, who graduated in 2013 from the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, is a senior studying hospitality at BU. She said the scholarship gave her the opportunity to remain in Boston for college.

“This scholarship helps me not worry about the financial [figures] and helps me give back,” Le said. “Giving it to BPS students also helps to increase their knowledge of what they can give back to Boston.”

The program, since its creation in 2009, has benefited more than 348 students, the mayor’s office said.

“The university feels really strongly that we need to have a great connection with the city that we live in and we want to make sure that all students from the Boston Public Schools can come home to a school like Boston University,” Christine McGuire, vice president ad interim for enrollment at BU, told the Globe.

McGuire said BPS graduates can apply for the Community Service Awards or the Menino Scholarship, a merit-based program that began in 1973 as the Boston Scholars Program and is also only available to BPS graduates. McGuire said 25 students are selected every year for the Menino Scholarship, which was named for former mayor Thomas M. Menino, who died in 2014.


“Even if a student doesn’t win the Menino Scholarship, they can attend Boston University and get their full need met without having to borrow a loan,” McGuire said, referencing the Community Service Awards.

McGuire said the university is hoping more students will take advantage of the scholarship now that it is being expanded.

“We would like to make it more accessible to all Boston Public Schools students even if they didn’t start here,” McGuire said.

Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.