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MIT will match Federal Pell Grants

Acknowledging the decline in federal funding for student financial aid, MIT has announced it will match Federal Pell Grants for all eligible students attending the Institute starting in September 2006.

MIT's Pell Matching Grants program will effectively double Pell Grant funds for eligible students. Because the doubled Pell Grant is over and above any need-based MIT scholarship, this new Pell Grant match will limit, or in some cases, eliminate student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients.

Pell Grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, are need-based, providing educational funds that students are not required to repay.��The grants are typically awarded to those whose family income is less than $40,000.

Congress has frozen Pell Grants at 2003 levels despite rising tuition costs.

In announcing the Pell Matching Grants program, MIT President Susan Hockfield said, "Adequate need-based student aid, especially in the form of scholarships, is essential if this country is to develop the talents of our young people to the fullest."

Hockfield emphasized the Institute's commitment to recruiting and enrolling students of merit and promise. For more than 40 years, MIT has had a policy of admitting students without regard to their financial circumstances, of awarding all MIT financial aid solely on the basis of need and of meeting the full need of every enrolled student.

"The new MIT Pell Grant match reaffirms our commitment to families who are losing their faith in the American dream of sending their children to college," Hockfield said.��

In 2006-2007, more than 90 percent of MIT undergraduates will receive approximately $85 million in combined need-based and merit-based financial aid through scholarships, loans and/or work-study. This will include more than $60 million in scholarships from MIT and $1.5 million in Federal Pell Grants.

According to Daniel Hastings, dean for undergraduate education, the Pell Matching Grant program builds on MIT's tradition of success in providing and sustaining access to the Institute's world-class opportunities in science, engineering, technology and humanities.

"MIT will continue to recruit, enroll and graduate a diverse student body with a significant number of first-generation college students," said Hastings, a professor of engineering systems and aeronautics and astronautics.

For the academic year 2006-2007, tuition, fees, housing and meals will total $43,550.

Approximately 16 percent of MIT undergraduates come from homes with incomes below $42,000.

A typical financial aid package for a student eligible for the maximum Pell Grant and a need-based MIT scholarship would be $43,550.�� The aid package would include $42,100 in scholarships -- consisting of an MIT scholarship of $34,000, a Federal Pell Grant of $4,050, and an MIT Pell Matching Grant of $4,050 -- and a term-time job of $1,450.�� The student would work about five hours a week to earn $1,450.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 8, 2006 (download PDF).

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