MIT Student Financial Services


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Off-campus employment

A term used most often in connection with student employment to refer to working for any employer other than MIT.

On-campus employment

A term used most often in connection with student employment to refer to working for MIT.

Origination fee

A fee charged by a lender and deducted from the proceeds of a loan before disbursement. This fee partially offsets the administrative costs of the loan


The amount of financial aid awarded to a student that exceeds that student's financial need. While we take care not to overaward a student when packaging, circumstances may change after we award that result in an overaward. For example, you may receive a scholarship or grant from an outside organization, or a research or teaching assistantship from an MIT department. When these circumstances arise, we may be required to adjust the need-based financial aid in your package.

Outside awards

Any financial aid awarded to a student from a source other than MIT or the federal government. Outside awards include grants and scholarships from private sources such as community groups, high schools, corporations, foundations, or a parent’s employer. Other examples of outside awards are fee waivers, veterans’ education benefits, Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, Job Training and Partnership Act (JTPA) benefits, or other aid sources that a student expects to receive during any given award year.


Parent contribution

The amount, as determined by need analysis and a review of individual circumstances as provided by the family, that a dependent student’s parents can reasonably be expected to contribute toward that student’s expense budget.

Past due

The amount that was scheduled to be paid in previous month(s), but was not. The past-due amount may also called the delinquent or default amount.

Pell Disbursement Record from COD

Information received from the federal Common Origination and Disbursement system (COD) authorizing a school to disburse Federal Pell Grant proceeds to an eligible student. No action is required from the student, other than providing any missing documents relating to financial aid.

Pell Grant

See Federal Pell Grant

Perkins Loan

See Federal Perkins Loan

Personal identification number


Personnel Action Form

A web-based form that an MIT employer uses to put a student on the MIT hourly payroll. The full name is Electronic Student Personnel Action Form (eSPAF).


Personal identification number – an electronic access code that serves as a personal identifier for purposes of federal student financial assistance. It is often referred to as the FAFSA PIN since most individuals are sent a PIN automatically after submitting a FAFSA. However, an individual may apply online for a PIN at any time.


See Federal Direct PLUS Loan


See budget


PRIME is the Prime Lending Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal. This is the rate banks charge their most creditworthy customers. It is commonly used in setting interest rates on credit cards.


See loan principal

Private Lender

A third party lender which provides non-federal education loans to the students, at times at higher interest rates and less favorable terms than Federal Title IV loans (such as the Federal Perkins Loan, the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan). Students and families are advised to explore all possible federal funding avenues before considering borrowing a private education loan.

Private loan

An education loan from a commercial lender such as a bank or a state agency created specifically for this purpose. Commercial lenders have loan programs for both students and parents, but since these loans are not guaranteed by the federal government, the terms and conditions vary according to the lender.

Professional judgment

The judgment exercised by financial aid administrators to make adjustments in need analysis to accommodate a family’s exceptional circumstances. Federal law allows financial aid administrators to use their professional judgment in applying the Federal Methodology in limited circumstances.


See CSS Financial Aid PROFILE

Promissory note

A legal document a borrower signs each time they receive a loan. The promissory note includes the conditions under which the money is borrowed, including interest rates and deferment and cancellation options.


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The process of bringing a loan out of default and removing the default notation on a borrower’s credit report.

Repayment schedule

A description of the borrower’s monthly payment, due dates, interest rate, total repayment amount and length of time for repaying the loan.

Restricted fund

A funds set up by a donor for a specific purpose, such as financial aid scholarship assistance for students with certain backgrounds or interests.

ROTC scholarships

See military scholarships


Satisfactory academic progress

An acceptable rate of student course completion using qualitative and quantitative measures. Colleges and universities that participate in federal student assistance programs establish policies to define and monitor academic progress. Student who are not progressing satisfactorily in their academic program are ineligible for federal student aid.


A form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid and that is ordinarily awarded on the basis of merit. Sometimes used interchangeably with grant, though grants are generally awarded on the basis of financial need.

Selective Service registration

A U.S. requirement designed to keep a list of names of men from which to draw in case of a national emergency requiring rapid expansion of the armed forces. Almost all male U.S. citizens and male aliens living in the United States who are 18-25 are required to register with Selective Service. To be eligible for federal student aid, this requirement must be met. Additional information is available online at the Selective Service System.


The combination of student loans and term-time work that MIT offers to undergraduates as part their financial aid package. It is called self-help because colleges and universities expect students to make a reasonable financial contribution toward their education expenses.

Self-help form

The form used by students to tell Student Financial Services how they want their self-help distributed (e.g., all in the form of work, all in the form of loans, or some combination of the two)


See Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Social Security Administration (SSA) citizenship match

A comparison by the U.S. Department of Education of a student’s record with his or her Social Security Administration (SSA) record to confirm the student’s citizenship status. Students who fail the match may be asked to provide documentation confirming their data, such as a copy of a certificate of naturalization, a birth certificate, a U.S. passport or a Social Security card.

Social Security number (SSN)

A nine-digit number assigned by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that is often used as a form of identification. Everyone who works in the United States must have a Social Security number. See this SSA site for information on how to apply for a SSN.

Stafford Loan

See Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan and Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan

Standard repayment plan

A loan repayment plan that requires a fixed monthly payment (generally at least $50) over a fixed period of time (ordinarily up to 10 years).

Student account

An exact record of a student’s financial transactions, including charges and credits; similar to a bank account. Charges include tuition, fees, housing, dining, TechCASH, the student extended insurance plan, medical charges, library fines, etc. Credits include family payments, scholarships, grants and loans.

Student Accounts

The unit of Student Financial Services that bills and collects tuition, fees and other MIT charges. Student Accounts staff members also counsel students and families on payment options and financial management.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

The form sent to the student by the U.S. Department of Education to the student’s school of choice after the student files the FAFSA to summarize the student’s family finances and calculates the expected family contribution. Also called the Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR).

Student and Parent Loans

The unit of Student Financial Services that manages undergraduate graduate and parent education loan programs (including MIT's Educational Loan Plan for faculty and staff) and offers advice to borrowers on debt management strategies.

Student budget

See budget

Student contribution

The amount, as determined by need analysis and a review of individual circumstances provided by the family, that a student can reasonably be expected to contribute toward his or her own educational expenses over and above self-help.

Student effort

The amount of money that an undergraduate financial aid recipient is expected to contribute toward his or her educational expenses by working during the summer and by borrowing, working or both during the academic year.

Student employment

The unit of Student Financial Services that develops term-time and summer student employment opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Student Emoloyment serves as the human resources office for students and their employers, and it also administers the Federal Work-Study program including paid community service jobs

Student expense budget

See budget

Student Financial Aid

The unit of Student Financial Services that administers need-based financial aid programs from institutional, federal, state and private sources for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Student Financial Aid also counsels satudenta and their families on financial aid and financing options

Student Financial Services (SFS)

A service organization dedicated to making MIT affordable by providing an array of financial services, products and counseling to support students and their families. SFS coordinates all aspects of student finances, including billing, payment plans, financing aid, loans, financing options and student employment.

Student Information Review Form

An MIT form that undergraduates offered an MIT scholarship are required to complete to determine if their scholarships will be funded from a particular donor’s fund or general funds.

Student Resource Development and Employment

The unit of Student Financial Services that collects and lists on- and off-campus student employment opportunities, including paid community service positions, processes forms required for students to get jobs and get paid, and oversees MIT scholarship funds for financial aid and matches funds to student recipients.

Student Services Center (SSC)

A walk-in center in Room 11-120 operated by Student Financial Services in which students can conduct all their financial transactions and some academic transactions, such as verifying enrollment or requesting a transcript. SSC staff are available during office hours for appointments and drop-in visits.

Subsidized loan

A loan on which the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school. Because there is a subsidy, eligibility for these loans is usually based on financial need. Examples of subsidized loans are Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans.

Summer earnings expectation

The minimum amount an undergraduate is expected to earn and save during the summer as part of their student contribution.

Summer earnings replacement

An additional grant awarded by MIT to undergraduates unable to meet their summer earnings expectation because of a significant medical problem

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

See Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).


Teaching assistant

A person who assists a faculty member in grading undergraduate quizzes and homework, instructing in the classroom and/or laboratory, preparing apparatus for demonstrations, posting web-based materials and conducting tutorials.


A declining-balance spending program for MIT students, employees and affiliates. Participants deposit money into their TechCASH account and then use their MIT ID card to make purchases throughout campus and a few off-campus vendors.

TechCASH account

An exact report of all TechCASH transactions, including deposited funds and debits against those funds. This account is separate from the student account.

Tech Loan, Technology Loan

See MIT Technology Loan

Title IV (Federal) Financial Aid

Federal financial aid for MIT undergraduates includes:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Iran and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Parents
  • Federal Work-Study

Federal financial Aid for MIT graduate students includes:

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Degree Students
  • Federal Work-Study

Truth in Lending statement

A document provided to loan recipients that explains the interest rate and other information regarding the loan the student has received. The statement is required by the Consumer Credit Protection Act.


Unrestricted funds

Money that may be used by an institution for whatever purpose it deems most important at any given time. Some MIT scholarships are drawn from unrestricted funds.

Unsubsidized loan

A loan not based on financial need in which there is no monetary assistance granted to the borrower to assist with the interest expense. The borrower may either pay the accruing interest monthly or allow the interest to be added to the principal (see capitalized interest). An example of an unsubsidized loan is the Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan and most private loans.


Variable interest rate

See interest rate

Veterans Administration benefits

Students who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces and who are receiving financial assistance to attend MIT from the armed forces must report these benefits on the FAFSA. If a student’s veteran status is in question, he or she may be asked to provide information certifying their service in the armed forces.


A procedure whereby the school checks the information that the student reported on the financial aid application, usually by requiring a copy of the tax returns or other documents filed by the student and/or parent(s). MIT verifies 100 percent of all undergraduate financial aid applications.



The Employee’s Allowance Withholding Certificate, a federal form that allows employers to withhold the correct amount of federal income tax from employees’ paychecks.


The rate of compensation an employee receives for doing work. The minimum wage at MIT is currently $9.00 per hour.


MIT’s web-based system that provides secure access only to enrolled students for viewing their academic, financial and biographical records.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program

See Federal Direct Loan Program


See Federal Work-Study


Financial aid that the student earns with a job. This is considered one of the three types of financial aid along with money you do not need to pay back (grants or scholarships) and money you do pay back (loans).


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SFS NewsDates & Deadlines

Stay Tuned

SFS Office Hours Notice

SFS will be closed for part of the day December 17th and 20th, as well as, January 17th. The hours of operation for these three days are listed below:

  • Monday, December 17th - SFS will close at 4:00PM
  • Thursday, December 20th - SFS will close between 11:00AM and 2:30PM
  • Thursday, January 17th - SFS will not open until 1:30PM

2013 NASA Aeronautics Scholarship Application is now open!

Undergraduate Students

  • $15,000 awarded for each school year, to be used for educational related expenses
  • $10,000 Summer internship at a NASA Research Center
  • Up to 2 years of support

Graduate Students

  • $35,000 stipend
  • $11,000 awarded each year, to be used for educational related expenses
  • $10,000 Summer internship at a NASA Research Center
  • 2 years of support, with an option for a 3rd year

The application deadline is January 15, 2013. All transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, essays and other supporting materials must be received by the deadline of January 15, 2013.

For more information or to start an application, please visit

Student Financial Services is excited to announce the MIT Online Financial Aid System!

This new web portal will allow you to access real-time financial aid information online, at anytime. Click here to access your account (MIT Certification required). For a helpful tutorial that walks you through all the screens, click here.

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.