Skip to content ↓

Our approach to aid: Understanding your award

When you receive your financial aid award letter, you’ll notice that it is broken down into several components. Here is what they mean.


The budget we use to determine your financial need approximates the price of attending MIT for one year. Your actual costs will depend on a number of personal factors, including your housing and dining options, as well as other individual expenses. The majority of expenses incurred are billed through MIT. These can include tuition, student life fee, health insurance (if you remain on the MIT plan), on-campus housing, dining plans, or TechCASH.

The remaining expenses are not billed through MIT, but are out-of-pocket purchases you make for books, supplies, personal expenses, and travel. We do not change your budget based on your individual expenses. Whether you end up spending more or less than our allowance, your financial need and financial aid award stay the same.

Today, six out of every 10 students receive MIT need-based aid. The average price they pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, and other expenses is about $23,000—considerably lower than our published price of $70,240.

Expected family contribution

The amount that parents and the student are expected to contribute toward your college expenses.

We use a variation of the College Board’s methodology to determine eligibility for MIT undergraduate scholarships and the Federal Methodology to determine eligibility for federal student financial assistance for undergraduate students.

Expected parental contribution

We assess a parental contribution based on your family’s financial circumstances. We carefully review each application to make sure you receive the award that is right for you.

Student contribution

Part of each family’s expected family contribution is a student contribution from income and assets. For most undergraduates, the student contribution is the minimum summer earnings expectation of $2,000.


The first $3,400 of your financial need is designated as self-help. This is separate from your summer earnings expectation, and you can do this through a combination of term-time work, outside scholarships or grants (including Pell Grants), or student loans. You can meet this requirement with a UROP or other job during the fall and spring semesters. If your need is greater than $3,400, we award an MIT Scholarship to you.

Although we encourage MIT students to consider term-time work as one of the ways to meet their self-help, some students prefer maximizing their student loan eligibility.