MIT works closely with all families who qualify for financial aid to develop an individual affordability plan tailored to their financial circumstances.  There are no income caps, but we do take into consideration relevant factors, such as a family's assets and number of college-bound children.  Even families earning above $250,000 may receive grants based on extenuating circumstances.  Our net price calculator provides families with a tool to estimate how affordable MIT may be for them.

Each undergraduate student's affordability plan comprises a mixture of a family contribution, scholarships and grants, student employment, and loans.

Cost versus price

The actual cost of educating an undergraduate student at MIT is about twice the annual tuition.  Even those students who pay full tuition do not cover the total cost.  The high cost results from the Institute's need to attract and retain the best faculty, to provide premier educational facilities such as laboratories, and to provide funds to support student engagement in research.  MIT is committed to the research-university model in which opportunities to engage in cutting-edge scholarship with faculty who are leaders in their field enhance, and in many cases define, the undergraduate experience.

MIT's published tuition therefore represents a significant discount of the cost of an MIT education for all undergraduates.  MIT further discounts that tuition through its need-based scholarship program for undergraduates who qualify.

How financial aid from MIT helps families

The 2017-2018 sticker price of an MIT undergraduate education for tuition and fees ($49,580) and the variable costs of books, supplies, room, board, and personal expenses is $67,430.

The majority of MIT undergraduates pay much less than sticker price. We are one of six selective colleges and universities in the United States that are fully need-blind in their undergraduate admissions policies and that meet the full financial need of every student.

To ensure affordability to our undergraduate students, we expect to award $114.2 million in MIT need-based scholarships in 2016-2017, compared to the $97.1 million we awarded in 2015-2016. On average, 56 percent of families receiving a 2015-2016 MIT scholarship benefited from having their actual net price reduced to $16,651. (For comparison, that’s less than the average full “in-state on-campus” cost of attending a public four-year institution, which was about $24,6101 before financial aid.)

For students with family incomes under $80,000 a year, the Institute continues to ensure that scholarship funding will allow them to attend MIT tuition-free, a policy put in place in 2008. In AY2016, 33% of undergraduates (1,489 students) received scholarships and grants from all sources equal to or greater than tuition, of which 1,060 students, 24% of undergraduates, had incomes under $80,000.

Their remaining expenses were covered by their family or by the students themselves, through paid work or student loans (see below). For families in this income range, reliance on student loans averaged $867 per student.

How work and loans contribute

MIT does not require any undergraduate to take out a loan, but we do require students, as the direct beneficiaries of their education, to pay for some part of it. Rather than borrow, most students opt to do paid work throughout the academic year. And at MIT, this work often provides them not only with a way to help pay for college, but with world-class research experience. Through MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, 90 percent of MIT undergraduates work on paid research projects before they graduate.

Nationally, in 2015, only three in ten college seniors were able to graduate debt-free. At MIT in 2015-2016, seven in ten undergraduate students graduate with no debt.

And when MIT students do take out student loans, their debt at graduation is considerably lower than the national average. Nationally, in 2015 graduates of public and private nonprofit colleges who borrowed owed an average of $30,100 in federal and private loans combined2.  At MIT in 2015-2016, the 28 percent of undergraduates who took out loans graduated with an average debt of $24,698 – 18 percent less than the 2015 national average of $30,100. At current interest rates, a student loan in that amount would require payments of $255 a month for ten years. The higher starting salaries paid to MIT graduates make it possible to repay loans in a shorter period of time.

Return on MIT education

MIT graduates do well in the job market.

Average Starting Salary for MIT Bachelor's Degree Recipients


See where MIT students work.

1 Trends in College Pricing, The College Board, 2016
2 The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS) – Project on Student Debt, 2015