Public Service Center Grants

what we do

Grants

The deadline for Expedition Grants is Wednesday, October 8, at 8:00 am. We are not currently accepting applications for other Grants.

PSC Grants provide funding to support MIT graduate or undergraduate student public service. Any full-time, continuing MIT student is eligible. MIT faculty and staff can also apply for PSC Grants to support service learning and other efforts that involve MIT students in public service.

PSC Grants are intended to help MIT students accomplish service that requires some funding support. The grants are focused on direct service and its outcomes for people in need. By direct service, we mean implementation: providing a science program, building a biodigester, training people in computer skills, designing lab space for a school, hosting a service-focused event, traveling to consult with an organization that needs your expertise, starting a social enterprise, etc.

The emphasis is on some funding: PSC Grants are not intended to be comprehensive support. The PSC has other programs that provide funding packages; PSC Grants are limited funding that contributes to service endeavors. They typically cover one type of expense, such as materials, or transportation, or the cost of refreshments that enable service to take place; sometimes they cover a combination of things at a modest level. PSC grants are handy for getting students started on a new initiative, or covering the last remaining expense, or simply moving the work ahead.

In addition to grant funding, we offer strategic advice and planning help. We’re good listeners and resourceful thinkers. We’re happy to talk with you at any stage: let us know what you want to accomplish so we can try to help. You can reach us at psc-grants@mit.edu.

One of the nice things about PSC Grants is their flexibility. Groups can apply, and so can individuals. PSC Grants can support work that takes place around the corner, anywhere in the US, or anywhere outside the US where it is safe for MIT students to travel. If you’re wondering whether a PSC Grant might cover what you have in mind, ask. We’ve supported conference attendance that built service leadership capability and covered travel for fundraising purposes for service initiatives. We will also consider supporting philanthropy efforts, especially if they include an element of hands-on service too. We try to help as much as we can.

Another example of flexibility: PSC Grants don’t have a deadline. We’ll consider applications whenever they come in. That being said, we appreciate a practical approach to timing.  Let’s say you want to purchase a plane ticket to enable you to do service at a distant place. Getting a good price often means purchasing a ticket at least three weeks ahead, and depending on the time of year that you want to travel, we may need up to two weeks to read a stack of grant applications, talk with applicants, and make decisions. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can let you know the likely time frame for a decision. An exception to the “no deadline” policy is the PSC Expedition Grant, which is funded by the Underclassman Giving Campaign, which determines the application cycle.

How much is the typical PSC Grant? There’s quite a range. How much does public service typically cost? It depends. Again, ask us about what you have in mind. We’ll respond as soon as we can. 

Interested? Here are the PSC Grant application guidelines.