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Our approach to aid: What we consider

Our helpful, dedicated financial aid counseling team works individually with our students and their families to help them afford MIT.

We are one of only seven American universities that practice need-blind admissions and offer full-need aid to all of our students. This means that your family’s ability to pay for MIT01 We say 'your family's ability to pay for MIT' because, in the United States, the federal standards for collecting financial aid information (for example, the FAFSA) presume that paying for college is a shared responsibility of a student and their family. This presumption entails other presumptions: for example, it presumes that your family conforms to a stable nuclear structure, and that your dyadic parents are supportive of your goals and willing to provide information to us. We know that, in reality, not every student comes from this kind of background, and a major part of our need analysis is in talking with every student to understand how their life experience might be unique and different from this imagined model, so that we can support them to the extent we are able within the constraints of how financial aid is assessed and delivered at the national level.   is not factored into your consideration for admission, and if you are admitted we will provide you with a financial aid package that meets 100% of your demonstrated financial need.02 'Demonstrated financial need' is a term of art in the financial aid profession that means something like 'what we think your family needs in order to be able to afford MIT, based on the information you provide us.' It is a mix of an art and a science: as this page explains, some of our need analysis is based on standard calculations, and some of it is the holistic consideration of individual circumstances.  

Upon admission, every MIT student is assigned to a financial aid counselor. That counselor works with you and your family to thoroughly understand your financial situation in order to assess need and award aid equitably.

Because of the unique and highly individualized nature of our need analysis, it is impossible to enumerate all of the considerations that determine your aid package. However, at a high level, our counselors evaluate demonstrated need by calculating a variety of standard factors using the College Board’s Institutional Methodology, and then adjust it by considering other factors that may impact your specific family’s ability to pay.

Some standard factors calculated in the Institutional Methodology

  • Number of people in the family
  • Number of children currently attending college as an undergraduate
  • Permanent residence
  • Total parent income from all sources, whether taxed or untaxed03 In families with more than two parents—or in cases where a student is judged independent of any parents—your financial aid counselor will help you figure out what is the appropriate parental income to consider.  
  • Taxes paid
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Private school tuition for younger siblings
  • Total assets04 Cash, non-retirement investments, real estate other than your primary home, value of businesses, etc.  

Some factors not in the Institutional Methodology, but that we consider

  • How your parents have prepared so far for retirement05 This is used strictly for the purpose of determining if an an allowance is needed for low retirement savings. We do not add total retirement savings into our need analysis.  
  • Financial support given to grandparents or other relatives
  • Some other compulsory financial obligations, whether one-time or ongoing (excluding credit card debt)

If you have any questions about your financial aid, or if you need our help navigating an unusual situation that doesn’t seem to “fit” neatly into the boxes above, please come and talk with us! We want to work with you to understand the complexities of your financial situation and make sure your MIT education is affordable.

  1. We say 'your family's ability to pay for MIT' because, in the United States, the federal standards for collecting financial aid information (for example, the FAFSA) presume that paying for college is a shared responsibility of a student and their family. This presumption entails other presumptions: for example, it presumes that your family conforms to a stable nuclear structure, and that your dyadic parents are supportive of your goals and willing to provide information to us. We know that, in reality, not every student comes from this kind of background, and a major part of our need analysis is in talking with every student to understand how their life experience might be unique and different from this imagined model, so that we can support them to the extent we are able within the constraints of how financial aid is assessed and delivered at the national level. back to text
  2. 'Demonstrated financial need' is a term of art in the financial aid profession that means something like 'what we think your family needs in order to be able to afford MIT, based on the information you provide us.' It is a mix of an art and a science: as this page explains, some of our need analysis is based on standard calculations, and some of it is the holistic consideration of individual circumstances. back to text
  3. In families with more than two parents—or in cases where a student is judged independent of any parents—your financial aid counselor will help you figure out what is the appropriate parental income to consider. back to text
  4. Cash, non-retirement investments, real estate other than your primary home, value of businesses, etc. back to text
  5. This is used strictly for the purpose of determining if an an allowance is needed for low retirement savings. We do not add total retirement savings into our need analysis. back to text