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Update November 2:
To learn more about the 2020–2021 academic year please see our 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.

CLONE 2020–21 Financial support FAQs

We have put together answers to some of the questions that students and families have been asking about the 2020–21 academic year. Questions are grouped by topic and link directly to the answer in the page below.

My financial aid award
  1. How will financial aid and the Covid-era grant work in Spring 2021?
  2. How can I figure out how much I actually need to pay to MIT?
  3. Why does my award letter say that my net cost is the same, even though I was awarded a $5,000 Covid-era grant?
  4. On my financial aid award, there is $12,000 listed for Room & Board as a direct cost. Is this for both semesters, including the indirect charge for my off-campus semester?
  5. You have calculated my financial aid award presuming one semester on-campus and one semester off-campus. What if that is not the case for me?
  6. When will you update my financial aid award with my actual room and board? Will my financial aid be updated with new health insurance and room and board allowances if I am on campus for both semesters or not at all?
  7. If I receive financial aid, will I be expected to work as part of my award this year?
  8. I’m an undergraduate student living abroad; can I do remote paid work?
  9. I’m not eligible to work an hourly paid position; does this affect my expected MIT work contribution?
Covid-19 Grant and financial changes/support
  1. How will financial aid and the Covid-era grant work in Spring 2021?
  2. Why does my award letter say that my net cost is the same, even though I was awarded a $5,000 Covid-era grant?
  3. What if my family’s income has changed due to COVID-19; can I appeal my financial aid award?
  4. What if I have extenuating circumstances and I need more financial support?
Housing: on campus and off
  1. You have calculated my financial aid award presuming one semester on-campus and one semester off-campus. What if that is not the case for me?
  2. If I’m not on campus will I still have to pay for the extended health insurance?
  3. I will not be living on campus after November 22; will I get a refund on my housing costs?
  4. I am not able to leave campus in November due to extenuating circumstances; will I be able to stay on campus?
  5. I can’t live at home and I can’t live on-campus. What should I do?
  6. If I am allowed to stay on campus after November 22, how will the additional housing/dining charges impact my payment plan?
  7. I’m staying on campus until November 22. Will I receive a refund for housing and dining costs after I leave campus in November?
  8. What happens if I move to campus mid-semester?
  9. What happens if I leave campus before November 22?
  10. How are my housing and meal plan impacted if I take a leave of absence mid-semester?
  11. I am not able to live at home. What do I do?

How will financial aid and the Covid-era grant work in Spring 2021?

We recalculated your financial aid for the 2020–2021 academic year, based upon the information you provided earlier this semester. The remainder of your financial aid award (that was allotted for the spring semester) will be applied to your spring bill.

The Covid-era grant was provided in full with your fall semester award. Meaning, the entire $5,000 was disbursed to you in the fall semester.

Should your situation change for the spring, from what you were originally planning, please reach out to us as soon as possible at sfs@mit.edu. We will make sure that you are all set for spring.

Why does my award letter say that my net cost is the same, even though I was awarded a $5,000 Covid-era grant?
In order to award you the $5,000 Covid-era grant, we also increased the expense line in your cost of attendance. This will make it look like your total net cost is the same, even though your actual net cost is reduced by the full $5,000.

On my financial aid award, there is $12,000 listed for Room & Board as a direct cost. Is this for both semesters, including the indirect charge for my off-campus semester?
Yes. The $12,000 listed for Room & Board is a combined number. Under normal circumstances your award would not be split this way, and we understand this is confusing.

Unfortunately, due to limitations in our system, we had to display the room and board as a combined number (and as a direct cost) on your award letter. The breakdown for the $12,000 follows the cost of attendance.

$5,500 On-campus housing allowance (direct cost)
$2,750 Off-campus housing allowance (indirect cost)
$2,500 On-campus meal allowance (direct cost)
$1,250 Off-campus meal allowance (indirect cost)
$12,000 Total as appears on your award
REMEMBER: Your award is not meant to map directly to the actual charges that will appear on your semester bill. The award reflects the allowances for each potential charge, and your actual housing will determine the charges that appear on your bill.

For example: Let’s take the on-campus housing allowance. You are being allotted $5,500 for the semester in your financial aid award. However, you will live in East Campus which costs $3,577. You will only be billed for $3,577 on the semester bill—not $5,500—and you will be able to apply the extra $1,923 to another use.

Please see the next question to learn how to estimate your charges in advance of the semester bill.

How can I figure out how much I actually need to pay to MIT?
We know this can be confusing—so here’s a breakdown in case you want to do it yourself in advance of your semester bill.

  1. Add together all of your actual costs/charges from MIT for the term: tuition, housing and meal plan (if on campus), health insurance (if you need it)
  2. Next, add together all of your grants and scholarships. Including the Covid-era Grant.
  3. Now, subtract your total grants and scholarships from your total costs/charges.
    1. If you have a positive number, that is what you will owe MIT.
    2. If the number is negative, you will receive a refund.

You have calculated my financial aid award presuming one semester on-campus and one semester off-campus. What if that is not the case for me?
In order to get awards to students quickly, we calculated aid based on the expectation that students will spend one semester on campus and one semester off campus. However, we know that student situations may vary, and we may adjust your award up or down accordingly.

When will you update my financial aid award with my actual room and board? Will my financial aid be updated with new health insurance and room and board allowances if I am on campus for both semesters or not at all?
Our goal is to have all awards updated by the first semester bill of the semester. If you are approved through SHARP to alter your plans, the financial aid team will revise the housing allowance on your award. We will email you at your MIT email address if/when your award has been revised.

The charges for health insurance will appear on your semester bill. For detailed information about health insurance for the year or how to waive it, please visit the MIT Medical website.

If I’m not on campus will I still have to pay for the extended health insurance?
You will be charged for the extended health insurance on the initial bill unless your waiver has already been processed. You can still submit one after the semester bill if you feel you don’t need the coverage, and we’ll adjust your account accordingly. Please check the MIT Medical website to see under what conditions you can waive the insurance.

I will not be living on campus after November 22; will I get a refund on my housing costs?
The cost of attendance for housing and dining has been calculated for the entire semester. Your fall bill will reflect a prorated cost for September–November. However, your financial aid award will stay the same; you will still receive the full housing and dining allowance. If you are allowed to stay on campus after November 22, we will add the remainder of the housing and dining costs to your bill.

I am not able to leave campus in November due to extenuating circumstances; will I be able to stay on campus?
Students who are unable to travel home due to extenuating circumstances will be able to request to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester. If your request is granted, the additional housing and dining charges will be added to your bill.

I am not able to live at home. What do I do?
We understand that some students are not be able to live at home during their off-campus semester. The Division of Student Life has developed a student housing assistance review process (SHARP) for you to request special dispensation to live on campus. You are eligible to apply under the following circumstances:

  • You are currently in a short-term arrangement or on-campus emergency housing and cannot return home due to travel restrictions, circumstances in your home state/country, or circumstances of your home life
  • You have a home environment that would significantly impair remote learning
  • You do not have another place to live or being at home is unsafe given circumstances in your country or home

Please note that incoming first-year students will only be considered through this process if they are facing extreme hardship. More information about this aspect of the SHARP guidance is available on the SHARP website.

I can’t live at home and I can’t live on-campus. What should I do?
The Covid-era grant is designed to provide students and their families with additional financial resources that can be used in many ways, including applying the grant to off-campus housing expenses.

Students who are experiencing significant hardship and believe that they absolutely can not live at home and cannot live on campus, can submit a form through SHARP so that student support professionals can better understand your situation. The SHARP team may consult with appropriate offices, including Student Financial Services, to make sure they are making the most informed decisions. The result of this process will determine if additional financial support beyond the Covid-era grant will be provided.

If I am allowed to stay on campus after November 22, how will the additional housing/dining charges impact my payment plan?

The additional charges posted to your account in November will impact the remaining two payments left in the fall payment plan. The payments for December and January will be increased to cover the additional housing and dining costs you incur by staying on campus.

I’m staying on campus until November 22. Will I receive a refund for housing and dining costs after I leave campus in November?

No. The housing and dining charges on your fall bill already reflect the prorated cost to live on campus from September–November. If you are allowed to stay on campus after November 22, additional housing and dining charges will be added to your November bill, which is due December 1.

What happens if I move to campus mid-semester?

If you have been living off campus and move to campus in the middle of the semester, both your housing and meal plan will be prorated based on your move-in date. Your financial aid award will also be adjusted proportionately based on your updated cost of attendance.

What happens if I leave campus before November 22?

If you leave your on-campus housing early—for any reason—both your housing and meal plan will be prorated based on your move-out date. Your financial aid award may also be adjusted proportionately based on your updated cost of attendance.

How are my housing and meal plan impacted if I take a leave of absence mid-semester?

If you take a leave of absence in the middle of the semester, both your housing and meal plan will be prorated based on when your leave begins. Once we receive notification that you are no longer a student, we will make the necessary adjustments to your student account and financial aid.

If I receive financial aid, will I be expected to work as part of my award this year?
Yes. Students that have a student contribution as part of their financial aid award generally meet that expectation through term-time work. We recognize that it might be harder to find opportunities, so MIT is developing research, public service, and teaching positions to help fill the gaps. To that end, every undergraduate student will be guaranteed a paid research or employment opportunity this academic year (read more on our 2020 information page).

  • 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.
  • Outside scholarships, including the Federal Pell Grant, can also reduce your work expectations.

I’m an undergraduate student living abroad; can I do remote paid work?

Due to international tax and compliance issues, ​MIT is not able to offer paid UROPs or other hourly wage opportunities (including grading or TA positions) to undergraduate students who are not physically located in the U.S.​ You may still pursue an experiential learning opportunity for a stipend in which the funding is paid in 1–2 lump sum disbursements at the start and end of the semester. MIT is offering a paid experiential learning opportunity (up to $1,900) for every undergraduate student. For a detailed explanation on all experiential learning opportunities, please see elo.mit.edu.

I’m not eligible to work an hourly paid position; does this affect my expected MIT work contribution?

MIT is not changing student work expectations given that there are still other opportunities for students, including being able to earn money from stipends. For a detailed explanation on all experiential learning opportunities, please see elo.mit.edu.

What if my family’s income has changed due to COVID-19; can I appeal my financial aid award?
Many families may find themselves in a new circumstance, and we are here to work with you during this challenging time. If you think that you may need to appeal your financial aid award, you are welcome to do so.

We will consider changes to overall income if there has been a 10% or larger reduction in your family income. You will need to fill out the estimated income appeal form and send it to us with your appeal.

You should reach out to your financial aid counselor directly and they will work with you to review your appeal.

What if I have extenuating circumstances and I need more financial support?
Students in this situation should contact us so your financial aid counselor can learn more about your extenuating circumstances. Your counselor will work with you and possibly other offices such as Student Support and Wellbeing, Housing and Residential Services, the International Students Office, among others, to determine potential next steps.