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Update August 17:

To learn more about MIT’s changes to the fall 2020 cost of attendance as well as the Covid-era grant, please see our 2020 financial support page and our expanded FAQ page. You can also read more about the evolving policies and other key questions related to MIT’s COVID-19 response.

2020 Financial support for undergrads

We’ve compiled key information that we hope will help you make a plan for the fall that is best for you. It all starts with the student budget or what we call the cost of attendance.

Cost of attendance

The annual student budget, or cost of attendance, is the total amount we estimate it will cost a student to attend MIT for one year. It includes costs that are billed by MIT, such as tuition, housing, and dining, and estimates for other expenses, such as books, supplies, and personal expenses. We use this budget to determine financial aid for every student.

How we calculate aid

Every award is different. We evaluate how much we believe a family can contribute towards the cost of attendance based upon the information you provide, then calculate the expected parent and student contributions. Once we determine how much a family can contribute—the sum of the parent and student contributions—we ensure that students have scholarships (most of which are from MIT) to cover the difference between that and the total cost of attendance.

Please note: The student contribution can be reduced by outside scholarships, including the Pell grant. Email us at to learn more.

Adjusting your award for 2020–21

With the new plan to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated cost of attendance has been adjusted and your award will be revised with these new numbers. Because certain costs (like tuition) are going down from the original financial aid award letter, you may see a change in your award. Your adjusted award also reflects the fact that we are providing a $5,000 grant to all enrolled undergraduates in recognition of the burdens facing students and families in the COVID-19 era.

Your cost of attendance will vary by semester, depending upon your expenses and whether you are living on or off campus.

Our goal is to update all undergraduate financial aid awards by July 20.

2020–21 Cost of attendance

Because we expect that most students will live on-campus for one semester and off-campus for the other, your budget will look like this, by semester:


2020–21 Academic Year On-campus semester cost of attendance Off-campus semester cost of attendance
Tuition $26,725 $26,725
Student life fee $0 $0
Housing $5,500 $2,750
Dining $2,500 $1,250
Books & supplies $415 $415
Personal expenses $1,091 $1,091
Travel Varies $0
Total $36,231 + travel

We understand some students will not fall under our assumption that most students will live on-campus for one semester and off-campus for the other. We have a response in the FAQ section below.

We have broken down each category to outline the changes for the coming year.

  • Tuition: Tuition will remain at the 2019–20 rate. There will not be the planned 3.8% increase this year.
  • Student life fee: No one will be charged a student life fee for the coming academic year regardless if you are on campus or not.
  • Housing allowance: Typically, our housing allowance is tied to the most expensive double room on campus. That remains true this year, even though all students will be living in single rooms. MIT is only charging for a double room.
    • For students living off-campus, we expect that many students will be living at home and will not have housing expenses. However, in recognition that there may be other costs, MIT has decided to offer students half the on-campus allowance.
    • We do recognize that living at home is not a viable option for everyone. If this is the case, you may request to live on campus through the student housing assistance review process (SHARP). If your SHARP request is granted, your aid will be readjusted to the on-campus level. We provide options for seniors who signed leases in the FAQs section below. Please note that, as a general rule, incoming first-year students’ requests will not be considered except in cases of significant hardship. More information about this guidance for first-year students is available on the SHARP website.
    • If you feel you cannot live at home and cannot live on campus, you may appeal through SHARP. SHARP will evaluate your request to determine if additional financial support will be provided.
  • Dining allowance: Typically, our dining allowance is tied to the most expensive meal plan, originally set at $3,160 per semester for the 2020–21 school year. This year, there will only be one meal plan, a 14 meal/week plan that will cost $1,900. MIT is subsidizing the actual cost to help with your expenses. So that students can supplement their meals per week, the dining allowance in the cost of attendance is $2,500 per semester.
    • We expect that students living at home will have reduced food costs, and we are offering an allowance of half the on-campus rate.
  • Books, supplies, and personal expenses: These are standard allowances for books, supplies, and personal expenses, set at $1,506 per semester, for both on-campus and off-campus students.
  • Travel: For the on-campus semester, we are offering students an allowance to support one round trip to and from campus. We are not offering an allowance for travel during the semester off-campus.

Additional support

  • Covid-era grant: In recognition that this year there will be financial uncertainties for many families, we are offering a one-time grant of $5,000 to all undergraduates enrolled for the full academic year 2020–21.
    • Based on feedback from students, we have clarified that every student will see the full benefit of the $5,000.
    • We will apply the full $5,000 in the fall semester for all enrolled students, and it will appear as a credit on your student account. This means that if you have an outstanding balance of $5,000 or more, your bill will be reduced by that amount. If your bill is greater than $0 but less than $5,000, your bill will be zeroed out and you will receive the remainder as a refund. If your bill is already $0, you will receive the full $5,000 as a refund.
    • The grant will appear in your financial aid award letter (for those receiving financial aid) and on the fall bill (for everyone), which are scheduled to go out respectively on July 20 and August 10.
  • Guaranteed employment or research opportunity: All undergraduates, remote or on-campus, will have the opportunity for a paid UROP, teaching opportunity, or public service opportunity through the PKG Center.
    • These experiential learning opportunities will be available to every undergraduate student, whether remote or in person, through programs such as UROP, MISTI, PKG, Open Learning, or Sandbox, and will offer a stipend of up to $1,900.
    • The guarantee is for one semester but does not prevent students from earning more in that semester or engaging in more than one experiential learning opportunity.
  • Technology: To promote collaboration and small group problem solving for our enrolled students, whether remote or on-campus, MIT will loan a cellular-enabled Apple iPad and Apple Pencil to any undergraduate student who does not already have one, or who wishes to upgrade relative to what they own.
    • For more details and to indicate whether or not you wish to enroll, fill out this short form here. Further, as during the spring semester, MIT will once again loan WiFi hotspots and computing equipment, including laptops, to those who need them. Visit for more information.
    • 24/7 technical support by phone or email will also be available to all.


Explore our expanded fall 2020 FAQ page to see answers to some of the questions we’ve been getting from students and parents about the upcoming semester.

Fall 2020 FAQs →