Problems Applying for Aid

Waiver of noncustodial parent information

If your special circumstance relates to your ability to submit financial information because of a previous or ongoing separation or divorce, contact us to discuss how to proceed. There are instances in which we will waive the submission of the financial information of your noncustodial parent (the parent with whom you are not living).

Award revisions

Appealing your financial aid award decision

We consider each financial aid application on a case-by-case basis within our general guidelines for awarding need-based financial aid. While we don’t negotiate financial aid offers or match another school’s offer, we’re always willing to have a discussion with families who are concerned that they can’t afford MIT with the financial aid package we offered.

If you’re appealing your financial aid award, we ask that you talk first to your financial aid counselor. After this initial conversation, we may ask you to complete a supplemental form such as a Parents’ Estimated Annual Year Income Statement or a Monthly Cash Flow Statement.

There is no guarantee that we will adjust your award, but we encourage you to contact us as we may be able to recommend a financing strategy that supplements your award.

To provide some guidance, the most common reasons we may increase financial aid awards:

  • Significant decrease in current year’s income not reflected in your tax return
  • Receipt of a one-time income source on the previous year’s tax return
  • Unemployment of a parent or spouse
  • A change in the number of family members attending college
  • Unusual or unexpected medical expenses
  • Care for an aging relative
  • Tuition for a child attending a private elementary or secondary school

Decreasing your financial aid award

If you receive additional financial aid after we make an award to you, and sometimes after the financial aid is applied to your account, you may have what we refer to as an overaward. The additional aid could be a scholarship or grant from an outside organization or a research or teaching assistantship from an MIT department. When these circumstances arise, we have to reevaluate our original award decision. You may not receive need-based financial aid exceeding your financial need and you may not receive need- and merit-based financial aid exceeding your budget. If we need to adjust your financial aid, we notify you and offer you assistance in understanding how that impacts your student account and in making the necessary adjustments to your budgeting.

Undergraduate leaves of absence

On occasion an undergraduate leaves MIT for a break, a change of direction or emphasis, or even to take advantage of educational, research, travel or volunteer opportunities. Deciding whether to take a leave or stay—perhaps with a change in academic program—is a difficult decision. In addition to your parents and peers, there are people at MIT willing to discuss the issue with you. Please contact Student Support Services for more information on leaves and for help.

Once we receive notification that you are no longer a student, we make the necessary adjustments to your student account and financial aid.

Student Accounts

We review and update your student account to make any changes necessary to tuition or other charges. Check your MITPAY statement on the 10th of each month until all your financial issues are settled. Otherwise your account may be assessed a Hold Assessment Fee and will be placed on registration hold that prevents you from registering or accessing Institute services upon your return. A balance that remains unpaid may be sent to collections and incur collection fees.

Scholarships and Grants

We review and update your financial aid award to make any changes and notify you directly of any adjustments. If you’re receiving scholarships and grants from sources other than MIT and the federal government, let them know that you’re taking a leave so you won’t jeopardize your financial support in future years. Make sure to check with them on what actions you need to take if you return to MIT. 

Student Loans

If you have an outstanding student loan, you must have an exit interview before leaving. This counseling session will recap your rights and responsibilities, including when repayments begin. Contact your loan counselor to set up an exit interview.

Returning to MIT

If you plan to return to MIT, you must first contact Student Support Services. You must be current on all your student account and student loan obligations and you must file your financial aid renewal application by the deadline, even if this is prior to the readmission application.

Return to Title IV (Federal Financial Aid)

If a student receiving federal financial aid (except Federal Work-Study) completely withdraws from classes before completing 60% of the term, we are required to determine how much of the financial aid was earned up to the time of withdrawal.  Any federal funds considered as unearned must be returned by MIT and/or the student to the federal government. This situation could result in the student owing aid funds to MIT, the government, or both.

To determine the amount of aid a student earned up to the time of withdrawal, we divide the number of calendar days the student attended classes by the total number of calendar days in the term. Scheduled breaks of more than five days or more are excluded. The percentage derived is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed (either to the student’s account and/or to the student in the form of a refund) for the term. This calculation determines the amount of aid earned by the student, which he/she may keep (for example, if the student attended 25% of the term, the student would have earned 25% of the aid disbursed). The unearned amount (total aid disbursed less the earned amount) must be returned to the federal government by MIT or the student.

If it has been determined that a student has unofficially withdrawn, we assume 50% of the term was completed unless otherwise documented by the student.

Order of Return of Title IV Funds

Funds that are returned to the Federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Financial aid returned (by MIT and/or the student or parent) must be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loan
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal TEACH Grant
  7. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Once a student's earned financial aid eligibility is determined, we notify each the student of any loss of eligibility.

Loans disbursed in excess of eligibility are due based on the terms and conditions outlined in the promissory note(s). Most Direct Loan borrowers will be required to enter repayment six months after withdrawal—unless they begin classes on a half-time basis before the end of their six month grace period. Please see the registrar's office for more information.

Institutional Funding

MIT funding is adjusted after deducting the self-help amount and based on the student expense budget. The student expense budget may be modified to reflect any reductions made to the tuition charge as determined by Student Support Services.

It is important to realize that a key component of satisfactory academic progress is course completion. A total withdrawal contributes no completed credits to an academic transcript. Students completing less than a minimum of 67% of all credits attempted at MIT may lose financial aid eligibility.

Undergraduate study abroad

We work with undergraduate financial aid recipients to enable them to participate in study abroad options. Eligible programs must be during the fall and/or spring semester and approved for academic credit.

Students interested in studying abroad during an academic semester should work with Global Education and Career Development (GECD) to find a program that is an appropriate fit. Once a program has been approved by GECD, students receive a form to be signed by representatives from Student Financial Services, indicating that they have been counseled on how studying abroad can affect financial aid and billing.

When studying abroad, the student expense budget is adjusted to reflect the expenses of the specific study abroad program in which the student is participating.

  • If you participate in the Exchange Programs or the MIT Madrid Program,
    your budget is adjusted automatically.
  • For all other programs, students must fill out either a Consortium
    or Contractual Agreement with their Host Institution. Find out which document to use on the MIT Online Financial Aid System.
  • Budgets will be adjusted for actual tuition charges and estimated travel expenses. All other budget items are left up to review and may be capped
    at the standard MIT budget amounts or reduced to reflect costs reported on the consortium or contractual agreements.
  • The expected family contribution and self-help portion of the financial aid award remain the same.
  • If you have an MIT scholarship, it will be adjusted in proportion with the budget adjustment.

The same rules that apply to financial aid while a student is on-campus also apply while the student is studying abroad.

  • Students who drop below full-time status may have their financial aid award
    adjusted. If this happens, please contact your financial aid counselor immediately.
  • Students studying abroad during the spring semester are still expected to
    complete the financial aid application for the following year by April 15th.
  • Students are only eligible for financial aid during the fall and spring semesters. Students interested in summer and IAP programs should check with the office
    that hosts the global opportunity about available funding.

Accessing financial aid funds to pay for study abroad:

All financial aid is disbursed to the student’s MIT student account. Students required to pay their host institution directly can receive an advance on their anticipated refund to pay for their program expenses/deposits after the first bill has been issued (fall semester—on or around July 10th, spring semester—on or around December 10th).

Visit MIT’s Go Global Website for more information about programs and funding.

Undergraduate summer school

MIT undergraduate and graduate students are automatically eligible for participation in MIT’s summer session, however, MIT doesn’t award need-based aid from institutional sources to undergraduates for attending summer school.

MIT’s commitment is to aid its undergraduate students for the nine-month academic year (the fall and spring terms). If you’re planning to attend MIT summer school, contact your financial aid counselor to receive information on other possible funding sources, including student loans. You may also need to borrow additional funds to replace your expected summer savings expectation.

Summer UROP

Although a summer UROP is usually done for pay, registered MIT undergraduates may do this for academic credit instead. To receive credit for a project, register with the Registrar's Office for the Summer Session. Tuition is based on the number of units earned and is charged per unit. There is no MIT financial aid available to assist with this tuition charge.