March 17, 2020
Financial aid and support update for students
We heard in our Academic Continuity Working Group meeting yesterday that students have questions about what MIT’s plans for stemming the spread of Covid-19 mean for undergraduate and graduate student finances. This is an important topic, so we are writing to detail the ways we are providing students with a safety net and mitigating the financial impacts of this global public health emergency.
Housing, dining, and student life fee costs
Undergraduates (and their families) had already been charged for spring semester housing and meal plans prior to the decisions to move to online instruction and to reduce our on-campus population. Undergraduate and graduate students had also already incurred student life fee costs for the semester. Student Financial Services and Housing & Residential Services immediately took the following steps to address our new reality:
- We determined that all undergraduate students departing on-campus and FSILG housing will receive a refund for any housing or meal plan costs they paid for but will not use.
- Additionally, we will reimburse half of the spring semester student life fee for undergraduate and graduate students alike.
- Undergraduate students on financial aid will see no reduction in their financial aid as a result of these changes to campus life and operations. This means that no one will be asked to return the aid they have already received – students can use the full amount of their forthcoming refunds for current or new expenses as well as to help offset the loss of paid opportunities such as UROPs, although we understand that most UROPs will continue remotely.
- For any undergraduate student whose financial aid package expects them to work to contribute to their education, we will reduce the amount students are expected to earn during the spring term by one-half, and increase their MIT Scholarship by an equal amount so they will continue to receive the same financial benefit they anticipated without having to complete their term-time contribution requirements.
You can read more about these steps, as well as updates about timelines for refunds and federal financial assistance, here.
Graduate student stipends
MIT announced on Saturday, March 14 that graduate students will continue to receive their normal compensation during this period of curtailed operations. More information about Institute pay policies in response to Covid-19 are available here.
Additional financial resources for students relocating off-campus
We understand that, for good reasons related to protecting everyone’s health and safety, the last 10 days or so have upended campus life. President Reif said in his message to the community yesterday that these are “difficult days.” He’s right about that.
He’s also right when he says that we should “take strength in knowing we will get through this historic challenge together.” Here are just a few examples of the financial assistance resources we’ve committed to providing so that we can help students bridge to the other side of this crisis:
- We are providing WiFi hotspots and other computing equipment free of charge for undergraduate and graduate students in need during this time of remote learning and social distancing.
- We are offering a no-cost meal plan for undergraduate students who remain on campus in emergency housing. Our SwipeShare meal donations program is still available to graduate students.
- Financial hardship grants related to relocating off-campus are being offered to undergraduates and and graduate students alike.
- In addition to providing supply and storage solutions to students who moved off-campus, we offered those undergraduates who relocated up to a $500 reimbursement for travel change fees or new reservation expenses if they moved their departures up to the end of the day on Sunday, March 15. Instructions for submitting reimbursement claims can be found here.
We hope that these updates serve to reassure community members about the strength of MIT’s financial safety net for students during this unprecedented moment in our history.
We also want to be sure that students who have any questions or concerns about their finances know that they can contact us or members of our team. All you have to do is email the staff in Student Financial Services and we will respond.
Vice President and Dean for Student Life
Ian A. Waitz
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services