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Tuition shortfall: Tuition shortfall

We know the funding process can be confusing, so we’ve broken down MIT’s tuition shortfall process and outlined a few ways to make it easier while you’re working at MIT.

Tuition shortfall defined

According to IRS regulations, the money you make as a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant cannot be paid solely in the form of tuition funding. Therefore, the difference (plus the estimated amount you are taxed) is paid with a stipend or salary.

This of course leaves you with an amount due (or shortfall) for tuition and fees—and you do need to pay MIT for this outstanding amount. This is explained in more detail in MIT’s reasonable compensation rules.

Paying the amount due or tuition shortfall

You are welcome to pay the amount due in any way that you choose and can view our payment options for more information.

However, in order to make the process simpler, we have a payment plan and a payroll deduction option specifically for graduate students with a shortfall. Instead of having to make separate payments to MIT, you can have your amount due broken down over several installments and deducted automatically from your paycheck.

Payment plan

The payment plan is set up to make it easier for you to pay back the shortfall amount and is spread over several payments each semester. This allows you to pay back the shortfall incrementally. To sign up for the payment plan just follow the steps below.

Payroll deduction

The payroll deduction works in concert with the payment plan. It will match your current stipend payments and will be deducted from your paycheck twice a month. For example, if you have a payment due on March 1, the amount due will be taken from your February paychecks and applied to your balance. To sign up for payroll deduction, you must click the consent pop-up in MITPay and then enroll in a payment plan.

How to enroll

Within a week of your appointment, we will email you about your shortfall options. If you want to enroll in the payroll deduction plan to manage your shortfall, make sure to sign up for both the tuition shortfall payment plan AND the payroll deduction, following the steps below:

  1. Sign in to your MITPay account.
  2. On the pop-up, when asked, “Would you like to opt in to the payroll deduction?” click “Yes I opt in.”
  3. Click on “Enroll in Payment Plan.”
  4. Select the appropriate academic term and choose the “Stipend Shortfall” payment plan.
  5. Enter the plan amount—enter either the shortfall amount listed on your graduate award notification or the present balance due if you want to include other charges.

It can take up to two weeks for the payroll deduction to take effect once you set it up in MITPay.

Please note that you many need to make installment payments manually until the payroll deduction process is complete.

Still have questions?

We know this can be confusing, so we have put together answers to some of the most common questions that students have. Don’t see what you are looking for? Then of course—feel free to email us at We can help!