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.
Examine your expenses and write them all down. It may be helpful to separate MIT costs (tuition, housing, etc.) from your out-of-pocket living expenses (cell phone, transportation, etc.) and organize them in terms of priority. Additional budgeting resources are available from the Graduate Student Council.
- Tuition1: $49,580
- Student activity fee: $312
- Housing (on-campus)2: $9,768 - $23,472
- Meals3: $5,300
- Student Medical Plan: $0
- Student Extended Insurance Plan4: $2,568
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.
2These figures are set by the Housing Office and vary from a double room in one of MIT’s graduate residence halls to a two-bedroom in one of MIT's family residence halls. Prices vary depending on which residence hall you choose, whether you are single or seeking a family apartment, and (if you're single) how many roommates you elect to have. These figures don’t apply to off-campus housing. Rates from 2015-2016.
3This is the budget figure suggested by Campus Dining for 32 weeks on campus per academic year.
4Some 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. Rates from 2015-2016.
There are other expenses that are not billed by MIT that you should take into account. The items below show a standard budget amount suggested by MIT, but you may spend more or less.
- Food: $4,634
- Utilities that may not be included in rent – heat, water, gas, electricity, phone, Internet, cable TV
- Books and supplies: $2,816
- Local transportation: $2,736
- Personal and miscellaneous expenses – health insurance, clothing, entertainment, etc.: $5,250
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. Most student loans are 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.