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Suffolk’s Ads Cost Way Too Much And Now The Students Are Paying For It

Downtown, there were more Suffolk Advertisements than I cared to count. If you did not see them while they were up, pay more attention. Suffolk is in the heart of Boston so to not have seen these ads is absurd. They were everywhere.  

Now, why were these ads so important? Is it not wonderful that our school promoted itself in such bold ways? A lot of other schools in the city certainly did not have as many ads as Suffolk. Plus, our university resorted to advertising in every possible crevice of the city, perhaps even further. Better yet, tuition has gone up this year! What are the odds?  

So… is there a correlation between our school’s decision to splurge on ads and an increased tuition?   

After contacting the MBTA about Suffolk’s expenses and not hearing back, I searched their site for prices. They unfortunately do not have direct quotes on how much each advertisement costs. Blueline Media happened to be my savior. The site gives a general quote for about 25 cities across the nation including our own. What I found: advertisements are very expensive.  

There are typically six types of ads for purchase… Suffolk resorted to using the majority of them, if not all. Here are the costs of advertisements for about a 4-week period, according to Blueline Media:  


backlit diorama is typically $400 to $1,950 per ad for a 4-week period. This ad is seen on the other side of the tracks that lights up. Basically, just think of a TV screen because that is what it looks like.   





2 Sheets are about $400 to $950. This kind of ad is duller than the diorama but still does the job. It is just a basic ad that also hangs on the other side of the tracks. The only difference is that this ad is physically put up rather than displayed in a digital format.


Interior displays in vertical format are at most $150. Horizontal interior displays can be as much $100. 

Urban panels usually cost $750- $2,000 and are ads that you see outside of the station.

Suffolk has had a few around downtown in the past.






Lastly, station domination is the costliest at $25,000 to $75,000. Note that all pictures are a courtesy of Blueline Media.

Clearly, purchasing advertisements is not something ones does on a whim. Our school not only had great ads, but they came in multiples across the city. In fact, government center’s station was perhaps the most ad infested line I saw. It had about 15 two sheets on each platform, which have been there before the semester even started.   

Suffolk was not wrong to advertise in the downtown area. I personally think that promoting our school was a great idea. But the money involved was, without a doubt, absurd. Not to mention, students are expected to pay a greater amount in tuition, yet there have not been any significant changes around campus.  

Government Center’s ads alone cost around $18,000, with 40 two sheet ads between the blue line and green line, followed by six backlit diorama’s. This amount is close to one semester at Suffolk… and I did not even count all the ads in the station. Interesting, right?

Mira Abouseif, a Senior at Suffolk argues that the money spent on ads could have gone towards things on campus. She thinks that money should be put towards newer residence halls and improving some buildings on campus. Abouseif thinks that we need to invest in better quality food as well.

“More attention could also be given to on campus cafeterias and foods to create a larger variety catering to vegetarians, vegans, gluten free, and so on. More ethnic  and cultural variations of food would also be greatly appreciated to acknowledge and respect the large number of international students on campus”

One can argue that passengers on the T benefited from Suffolk’s advertisements by providing the MBTA with more money for better services. Take the red line for example. Come the beginning of 2019 the MBTA plans on implementing new carts, which is truly a miracle. Suffolk is now a contributor to that.

But Suffolk University is an institution of higher education, not a non-profit. Our money should not be going to T-riders. Just as in any business, the money paid should go towards whatever service is expected. In this case, students are paying for a college education, not a round trip ticket on the subway. As young adults, we chose Suffolk for the education it provides, not the quality of the train ride into school. In this scenario we see that MBTA passengers potentially get more out of Suffolk’s ads than its very own students. This is disheartening.  

Julia Demopoulos, a Suffolk commuter claims that the advertisements were mediocre.  

She said, “If I were a prospective student they (the ads) wouldn’t make me want to go to Suffolk. It’s just a picture. Also, there are so many of them that they kind of don’t do anything. It’s a bit overwhelming. I think they would be more effective if they shared the student’s story to see what a Suffolk student’s life is like”.

Suffolk’s intentions were in the right place: to promote the school in hopes of expanding our community. But in doing so they wracked up a lot more debt for students and sacrificed many chances of improving life on campus. As a university, there should have been a very careful approach towards advertising. Instead, the school splurged on something a bit out of its price range.

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