Relatively few MIT graduate students pay the full price out-of-pocket. Instead, they use some combination of tuition awards, savings, student loans, and work to meet their expenses.
Departmental support for graduate students is administered by individual academic departments and support may come in the form of a teaching assistantship, research assistantship, fellowship, stipend, scholarship or traineeship. Managing your finances and meeting your expenses requires some research and careful planning of your current and future budget.
Creating a budget is surprisingly simple. At its most basic, you are determining the difference between your earnings and your expenses. You should aim to at least break even, but having some money left over at the end of each month is ideal.
Your actual expenses will vary depending on your academic program as well as your choices of dining and housing options, travel, other personal expenses, etc.
MIT Financial Aid Budget
If you need to borrow student loans from federal or private sources, those loans combined with any other sources of funding for your education may not exceed your cost of attendance for the academic year. The figures below are the standard amounts budgeted for most graduate students at MIT. These figures are for a 9 month academic year and would change based on actual enrollment. These numbers are informational only. To receive your budget for student loan eligibility, please follow the instructions under Applying for Aid.
- Tuition1: $49,580
- Student activity fee: $312
- Housing (on-campus)2: $15,750
- Meals3: $5,300
- Books & Supplies: $2,550
- Personal Expenses4: $6,508
- Transportation: $2,750
1Tuition amounts are set by the Registrar's Office and vary by academic program. Please confirm your tuition rate with your program directly. All graduate students in the Sloan School of Management are subject to a different base tuition rate than the figure listed above.
2For information on actual housing options, please see the Housing Office’s website.
3This is the budget figure suggested by Campus Dining for 32 weeks on campus per academic year.
4Our budget for personal expenses includes the full cost of health insurance for the student. Some form of hospital insurance is required by Massachusetts law. As part of the basic tuition fee, MIT provides the basic Student Medical Plan but also charges all students for the Student Extended Insurance Plan, which provides hospitalization coverage. However, students who can demonstrate that they already have comparable coverage under another insurance program are granted a waiver from the Student Extended Insurance Plan. There are additional charges for coverage of partners and dependents under both the Student Medical Plan and the Extended Student Insurance Plan. MIT Medical maintains a chart of rates for students and their families.
Our Budget vs Your Budget
Once you have received your financial aid award, review the amount we are budgeting for each category. In most cases, we will not be able to increase any of the amounts listed. If you need more money in one category, you will need to reduce the amount you are spending in another.
If you will be borrowing student loans, first determine how much you will need to borrow. If your rent is less than what we have budgeted, and you don’t believe you will need more than what we have budgeted for any other category, only borrow the amount you need instead of the full amount you are eligible for.
Keep track of your various income sources. This may include wages from work, savings, gifts, or loans. Make sure to capture your net income, the amount you actually take home and not your gross income, your stated earnings before taxes are removed. Determine when your funds will hit your bank or student account. If you are borrowing loans, keep in mind that loan fees may slightly reduce the amount you will receive. Most student loans are split evenly between all terms you will be registered for in an academic year, and will be disbursed at the right time to make your semester payments, however you must be registered for the term first.
Totaling Your Budget
Total your costs and income to see if you have enough funds to cover your budget. If you’re in the red (over spending) you should go back and modify your budget and re-calculate. When making modifications, figure out what out-of-pocket expenses are needs and what are wants.
If you have been able to break even, you have a realistic budget to follow. And if you have savings left over you can think about setting up an emergency fund or saving for your future.
Make sure to stick to your predetermined spending. Developing good spending habits now will help you far into the future.
- Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE)
- FinAid.org Expected Family Contribution Calculator