MIT Student Financial Services

SFS Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a loan?

If you want a need-based loan such as a federal Direct Stafford Loan, federal Perkins Loan or MIT Technology Loan, you must first apply for financial aid from MIT. This is required to determine how much government loan funding (if any) for which you are eligible, based on your family's ifinancial situation. You can apply directly for most non-need-based student loans and parent loans, For more information and links to pages for specific loans, click here, or contact SFS Student Financial Aid.

What’s the status of my financial aid application?

Financial aid award letters were mailed to incoming freshman (those whose aid applications were complete) in mid-March. SFS Financial Aid staff are still in the process of completing and mailing financial aid awards to upperclassmen and graduate students. You can see your award package when it's ready by logging onto WebSIS. To check on your application, contact SFS Financial Aid at 617-253-4971 or

What is the price to attend MIT?

The estimated price or student expense budget for undergraduates in 2013-14 are below. The total may be higher or lower depending on the spending decisions you make. There are details for undergraduates and graduate students in "How Will I Afford an MIT Education?"

Tuition and fees $45,016
Room and meals $13,224
Books and personal expenses $2,790
Total price for MIT undergraduates $61,030


What is MIT’s financial aid and scholarship policy?

  • We recruit and enroll the most talented and promising students without regard to their financial circumstances.
  • We award our undergraduate aid on the basis of financial need, and we do not provide undergraduate scholarships based on any non-financial criteria (such as academic or athletic achievements).
  • We guarantee that each student’s demonstrated financial need is fully met for all four years.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Students and their families shouldn’t assume that there is some particular “ceiling” on a family’s financial strength to receive any aid at all. All applicants who feel they need help are encouraged to apply. In 2012-13, 58 percent of MIT undergraduates received MIT scholarships (grants that don’t have to be repaid).

How much financial aid can I expect to get?

We first look at your income and other financial information (and your family's, if you're an undergraduate). Your financial aid package is the difference between your expected family contribution (EFC) and the price. For more information on how we determine aid, see the specific pages for undergraduates and graduate students.

How do I apply for financial aid?

That depends on whether you’re a prospective freshman, returning undergraduate, graduate student, etc. You can find instructions by clicking the appropriate student category in About Financial Aid.

Will applying for financial aid hurt my chances of admission to MIT?

MIT admits the most talented and promising students without regard to their family financial circumstances. A student’s application for financial aid, if any, will have no bearing on his or her admission decision.

Are jobs available on campus?

Campus jobs are available in a range of settings including academic departments, administrative offices, research labs and libraries. SFS Student Employment also lists jobs offered by off-campus employers, including summer jobs. The minimum wage is $9.50 an hour for all on-campus jobs, including UROPs.

What is Federal Work-Study?

Some students receiving financial aid qualify for Federal Work-Study, a federal program that subsidizes term-time jobs which focus on community service for nonprofit organizations. If you have Federal Work-Study in your financial aid package, you can get paid for community service each week by MIT at wages comparable to regular on-campus positions.

What are “self-help” and “student contribution”?

Self-help is a contribution we expect from students in addition to their contribution from summer earnings. As of fall 2013, every undergraduate receiving financial aid is required to contribute $6,000 through a combination of term-time job earnings and low-interest student loans. Students decide how to divide their self-help between loan and work. Self-help is also reduced by the amount of any outside scholarships a student receives.

Will I get the same amount of aid for all four years?

We review your eligibility for aid with the updated information that you and your parents give to us when you reapply for aid each year. However, you should expect to receive the same financial aid, provided there are no significant changes in your family's finances or eligibility and you meet the financial aid renewal deadlines.

How much debt do students have when they graduate?

The median debt for all undergraduate financial aid recipients who graduated in 2013 was $10,948 (not including any loans that their parents may have borrowed). MIT students rarely have difficulty repaying their loans; our default rate is among the lowest in the country.

When will I be notified about my financial aid decision?

All entering students who apply for financial aid by the February 15 deadline will be notified in late March of their aid decision. Those who apply late will be notified of their eligibility to receive aid shortly after their application becomes complete. However, we reserve the right to stop considering late applications at any time.

What's the aid process for Early Action applicants?

The financial aid application process and deadline are the same as for Early Action applicants and regular decision applicants. The financial aid application deadline is February 15.

How can I find out about non-need-based scholarships?

MIT will award any need-based federal and institutional grants for which you may be eligible. If you’d like to research scholarships on your own, try FastWeb (the largest free web-based scholarship search service), the College Board’s Scholarship Search, or books you can borrow or purchase. We caution you not to spend money on scholarship search services, as most are not reputable and will provide you with information you could have found yourself for free. Check out for more information on scholarship scams.

Do you need information from both my parents to determine my aid aligibility?

Yes. Without information from both natural parents, a student will not be eligible for institutional aid consideration. If your CSS PROFILE application indicates your parents are divorced or separated, the College Board will e-mail you with a link to the Noncustodial Parent Profile. It’s your responsibility to forward this link to your noncustodial parent for completion. If you didn’t receive the link, call the College Board at 305-829-9793.

How do I use financial aid to pay for extra expenses?

If your financial aid is greater than the charges on your student account and you want to use the money for other expenses, the Student Services Center in Room 11-120 will issue you a refund check for the difference. 

How will my outside scholarship affect my financial aid award?

Outside scholarships reduce a student’s self-help offer first, and then your MIT scholarship.  If you receive outside scholarships totaling an amount larger than your self-help, we suggest contacting your outside scholarship providers to defer some of the scholarship funding to a future year.

How can we fill out the CSS PROFILE by early February when we don't even file our income tax return until April 15?

The tax return doesn’t have to be filed before the CSS PROFILE form or the FAFSA are completed. If estimated figures are used, then you should indicate this on the forms. You should realize that any offer of financial aid based on estimated income figures is considered tentative until we receive a copy of your tax returns, at which point we’ll make any necessary adjustments based on the actual numbers.

How can I see my student account statement?

Student account statements are posted on MITPAY, a secure web-based tool accessible to registered students. By the 10th of each month, students receive a courtesy e-mail to their MIT e-mail address indicating that the current month's bill has been posted. Students then log onto WebSIS and click on the "MITPAY" link to view their accounts. Parents and others may not access MITPAY unless their students designate them as authorized payers.

How can I allow my parents or others to pay my bills?

When students establish their online MITPAY student accounts, they can also set up authorized payer accounts. Students set and control their authorized payers’ user names and passwords. Authorized payers may then log on to MITPAY directly, view the student's monthly statement, and make payments.

How do I make payments?

The preferred method is electronic payments through MITPAY (log on from WebSIS). You may also bring or send a check to the Student Services Center, or send a wire transfer. Click here for details.

When are payments due?

Payments are always due on the first day of the month after bills are posted on MITPAY, which is on or before the 10th of the month. To register for the fall term, you must pay by August 1 (or make payment arrangements with your student account counselor). To register for the spring term, the payment deadline is February 1.

What happens if I don’t pay on time?

Student accounts that are not on a payment plan and are past due will incur a late payment fee of 1.5% per month (18% annual percentage rate) on the outstanding balance. Contact your Counselor for Customer Service immediately to discuss any difficulties you expect in making payments. In addition to late payment fees, finance charges or collection fees, a financial hold – which can prevent you from registering or receiving your degree – may occur. Additionally, MIT student services will be revoked.

Can I pay charges on my student account with a credit card?

MIT does not accept credit card payments for student account bills. Card companies charge additional fees for this service, so the cost to MIT would be too great.

What is the Student Life Fee listed on my bill?

This fee charged to all students helps fund activities devoted exclusively to enhancing the quality of student life, including student groups, activities and organizations, club sports, and the operations of the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center.

Why am I being billed for MIT health insurance?

All students are automatically billed for the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan prior to the start of the fall and spring terms. If you have alternative coverage that qualifies under Massachusetts law, you may deduct the charge from your payment, but only if you immediately file for a waiver through MIT Medical.

Why doesn't MITPAY show the payment I just made?

MITPAY is a static shot of your bill. It will change only when the next monthly bill is posted. However, payments made through MITPAY are posted on WebSIS on the next business day and may be seen by logging onto WebSIS and clicking on "Current Account Activity."

Does MIT offer a payment plan?

The MIT Monthly Payment Plan is an installment arrangement that allows you to pay your account in four monthly installments for the fall and spring terms and three monthly installments for the summer term. The terms and conditions of this plan are currently under review and subject to change.

What should I do if I think a charge on my statement is wrong?

If you have a question about a student account charge, contact the office or department that assessed it. Only that office can authorize a correction that will be reflected in your student account. You can find contact information for charging offices on the student account statement and on this Student Account web page.

Who should I talk to in Student Financial Services?

There are specific people in SFS to help you with questions about financial aid, loans, jobs or your student account. All these units except SFS Student Employment have staff members assigned to students based on the student’s last name. See the SFS Contact page for details on exactly whom you should talk to.

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Stay Tuned

Check out our publication on financing your education at MIT!

You can find many facts about financial aid at MIT by reading our guide to Financing Your MIT Education.

Get your student account refund FAST!

If your student account has been overpaid, the fastest way to get your refund is through MITPAY’s direct deposit option.  You can sign up for direct deposit on MITPAY at any time.  Your refund will be deposited into your bank account within two-business days after being processed.  If you are graduating this spring, make sure that we have your correct banking information in MITPAY so that we can return funds to you, even after you leave campus.