10 min

Scholarships for MIT International Students

In 2022, Massachusetts Institute of Technology was ranked as the world’s best university by the QS World University Rankings 2022 for the tenth straight year.

Being one of the most famous and popular universities around the globe, it consistently prepares top engineers and scientists. 

The cost of attendance is extremely high though — $77,020 for undergraduate and $119,992 for graduate programs, which includes tuition, housing, meals, and other expenses. Fortunately, MIT is generous with scholarships and is committed to meeting students’ financial needs. About 60% of undergraduate students receive financial aid with the average grant being $45,146 for 2020–2021, while 26% of first-year graduate students are supported by fellowships. If studying at MIT is your dream, but you’re intimidated by the fees, it’s time to take a look at various opportunities to finance your studies.

MIT Scholarships

To be considered for an MIT need-based scholarship, you have to fill out the CSS Profile. International students are also eligible to apply this way for a need-based scholarship. You can sign up for the CSS Profile on the College Board website. If you already have a profile for the SAT, PSAT, or any other College Board exam, you can use that profile to apply and sign up for a CSS.

Be prepared that filling out the CSS Profile does take some time. You will need to describe your family situation, household income, and collect some documents such as income tax papers if your parents file them in your home country. If they do not, submit a wage statement, payslips, or letter from your parents' employers stating their annual income. If your parents are separated or divorced, each parent will need to complete their own CSS Profile application. 

Make sure the documents are translated into English. Additionally to CSS questions, there are some MIT-specific questions that you need to answer. The application deadline is February 15 (by then, you need to have already applied to the university), and awards are released in mid-March.

If you are awarded an MIT Scholarship, you will be asked to fill out a Student Information Review Form. This way, you will be matched with the correct scholarship from the right donor. You may also be asked to write a thank-you letter to your benefactor.

Another MIT scholarship is designed for low-income first-year students to assist with the additional costs associated with the transfer to college. The $2,000 First Year Grant is split evenly between the fall and spring semesters and will credit to the student account alongside other financial aid once a student has registered for the semester. 

The university also offers Technology Loan to international undergraduates who have been awarded an MIT Scholarship. A student can borrow up to $3,400 without a cosigner ($2,000 more with a creditworthy cosigner). There is no interest to pay until repayment begins nine months after graduation or withdrawal. The minimum monthly repayment is $50. The loan must be repaid in 10 years.

Apart from scholarships and loans, there are other ways to get your expenses covered during your studies. For example, students can conduct research in many fields such as artificial intelligence, cancer therapies, or humanoid robots and get paid for it through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

MIT Graduate Funding Programs

MIT praises itself for the fact that 94% of doctoral students finish their studies with no debt. On the graduate level, the funding is more decentralized since all funds are managed by different departments. Roughly, graduate financial aid can be divided into three categories: fellowships, appointments as research or teaching assistants, financial assistance, and grants. 

The last one is not something to rely on when applying for a graduate program. It is rather an option for already enrolled students who found themselves in difficult circumstances. The financial assistance programs include Guaranteed Transitional Support (for students who wish to change research advisors or groups), MIT Grant for Graduate Students with Children, Graduate Student Short-Term Emergency Fund, and Doctoral Long-Term Financial Hardship Funding. 

To do a research or teaching assistantship is a great way to provide yourself with income while gaining experience in scholarship and instruction. You can either become a member of a research group in your department, or assist a member of a faculty in grading undergraduates’ homework, posting online materials, or doing some preparation work in the classroom. Working for MIT can be a good way to repay your tuition. Among other things, MIT has come up with a payment plan that allows you to have your amount due broken down over several installments and deducted automatically from your paycheck instead of making separate payments to MIT.

A fellowship is an award to a graduate student that covers tuition partially or fully. It may also provide a stipend. Many graduate students at MIT are supported by fellowships. One of the ways to find one is to contact the Office of Graduate Education that maintains a database of fellowships and provides advice on how to apply for them. For some MIT fellowships, you cannot even apply directly but have to be nominated by the school deans. For example, this is how it works with the Presidential Graduate Fellowship Program. It has been established for outstanding students from all over the world and includes funding the tuition and a monthly stipend. 

Each department may nominate one student per an Office of Graduate Education (OGE) award which is from $1,500 to $3,000.

MIT has been receiving permanent funds from generous donors to sponsor OGE fellowships that cover tuition fees and provide a stipend. Some of them have special eligibility requirements, like being restricted to female applicants, citizens of certain countries, or those pursuing degrees in certain study areas. A handful of these endowed fellowships are administered by the OGE through an annual competition in March. The departmental graduate office submits nominations (both for new awards and renewal requests) on behalf of the student. Although outstanding academic and research credentials are important, the OGE is particularly interested in each applicant's community involvement at MIT (or prior institutions if an entering student). 

External Fellowships

Fellowships for graduate students are often funded by outside organizations. Some of them are administered by the OGE (for example, Dissertation Fellowship Program), while others, such as the National Institute of Health Individual Fellowships, for example, are managed by MIT’s Research and Administration Services. 

Apart from MIT administered scholarships and fellowships, there are plenty of other options to explore if you are committed to studying in this institution, such as the famous Fulbright program. Eligibility and selection criteria for this program vary greatly by nation. For example, in India, it is administered by the Educational Foundation USIEF and offers several options, including Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships for master’s degree programs, Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships, Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. A Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship covers visa support, traveling, tuition, accommodation, as well as accident and sickness costs.

Student- and Major-Specific Scholarships 

The Lemann Education Fellowships are made possible by the generosity of the Lemann Foundation. Applicants must be citizens of Brazil. Every year, outstanding new or continuing MIT graduate students are offered 9-month fellowships at MIT in education, educational technology and innovation, educational policy and reform, and related fields.

Non-government-funded scholarships include those provided by non-profit organizations, such as AAUW (American Association of University Women). It offers several scholarships, such as AAUW International Fellowships that may cover part of your tuition or living expenses if you intend to return home after graduation. 

There are scholarships designed specifically for women from developing countries, such as Margaret McNamara Education Grants (MMEG), P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship, or the Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowships

Asian Cultural Council provides fellowship grants to artists, scholars, students, and specialists from Asia for study, research, travel, and creative work in the United States.

Rotary Peace Fellowships offers scholarships for people who have worked in the fields of peace and development. The Aga Khan Foundation awards a limited number of postgraduate scholarships to deserving students from developing countries who have no other means of funding their education. 

Green Scholarships

Echoing Green's world-renowned two-year Fellowship program invests over $2 million in a diverse group of the world's most promising social entrepreneurs. The Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program provides fellowships aiming to raise awareness of renewable energy and sustainability among students and young professionals.

If your graduate studies in MIT lie in the fields of zero-carbon energy, smart grids, electric transportation, energy storage, advanced electricity technologies, public policy, economics, law, political science, or other relevant fields, you can apply for a scholarship as part of the Education for Sustainable Energy Development (ESED) program. It is implemented by the Global Sustainable  Electricity Partnership, an alliance of leading global electricity companies.  

Take your time and explore a variety of private scholarships for international students that can be found on the study abroad grants list by MIT and many other sources, including, Education USA, College Board, International Education Financial Aid, and International Scholarships.