MIT will raise tuition by 5 percent for the 1997-98 academic year to $23,100, a hike of $1,100. The cost of room and board will go up an average of 3.1 percent, putting the overall cost for tuition, room and board at $29,650, an increase of $1,400, or 4.6 percent, compared to 1996-97.
For the coming year, there will be no increase in the self-help component of the student budget, which will remain at $8,600. This is the amount that students are expected to provide from MIT term-time work, loans or savings before receiving scholarship assistance. This is the first time since 1989 that the self-help amount has not increased (MIT reduces the self-help requirement for students from families of very low income by as much as $3,500).
Nearly 60 percent of this year's undergraduates receive financial aid based on need--through a combination of scholarships, loans and MIT term-time jobs. The average aid for a needy student this year was $20,730. The median annual income for families that qualify is $55,000.
The increases, approved by the Executive Commitee of the MIT Corporation on March 6, were announced by President Charles M. Vest at a meeting of the full Corporation the next day.
"I am pleased that for the third consecutive year, we have been able to constrain the rise in overall cost [tuition, room and board] of an MIT education. Again, we have kept this increase to within about one and a half percent of the CPI [consumer price index]," President Vest said. "Beyond that, we remain firmly committed to the practice of need-based financial aid for undergraduates. We have worked hard to keep our operating expenses in check, and to keep our financial aid programs strong. In addition, we have been making very good progress toward our goal of raising $100 million in endowment for financial aid by the year 2000. Over the past four years, we have raised $53 million toward that goal."
Scholarship grants from MIT for the current academic year were about $26.2 million, or 77 percent of $34 million grant total from all sources. MIT-based grants for 1997-98 are projected to be $27.7 million. Loans and term-time work account for an additional $20 million.
Some students from wealthier families who fail to qualify for financial aid from MIT neverthless receive scholarships from sources outside MIT. Such scholarships may be based on academic merit, geography, participation in ROTC or other factors. As a result, it is estimated that only about 29 percent of MIT students and/or their parents pay the full amount of tuition, room and board.
Tuition historically covers about half the cost of a student's education, with the remainder met by earnings from the endowment and by unrestricted gifts and grants. Tuition is one of three primary sources of revenue to MIT, the others being federal and industrial research funds and private support, primarily gifts and investment income.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 12, 1997.