Financial Aid for Graduate School

Where to Start

Graduate students fund their education in a variety of ways:

  • Grants and assistantships are financial awards that may come in the form of stipends, salary, or tuition remission. There may be research grants, assistantships, and resident assistantships at the institutions where you are applying.
  • Scholarships and fellowships are financial awards that can be offered by institutions, companies, or private benefactors. These awards are based on a range of criteria.
  • Federal or private loans can be used to help finance your education, but they must be paid back once you graduate. Keep in mind living expenses as well as tuition costs. Investigate both federal and private loans, and review payment terms such as interest rate and length of loan payments. Federal loans can offer much lower interest rates than most private loans and tend to have more options regarding repayment, but these decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis depending on a student’s individual need.
  • Personal savings/Employment/Family Support
  • Higher Education Tax Credits: The American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit are both currently available to help offset costs of higher education by reducing your income tax. Look into your eligibility at the Internal Revenue Service’s website.

The best experts on assistantships and fellowships, at MIT or elsewhere, are the staff in the Office of Graduate Education (3-138). They also have compendia listing individual fellowship programs. For information on aid available in a particular discipline, request information from the graduate office in the corresponding academic department.