The cost of a four-year education at most private universities is enough to make just about any student blanch. But the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is proof that some of the schools with the highest price tag also represent a tremendous value.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average cost of tuition and fees at MIT, located just outside of Boston, was $55,510. Add in room and board and other fees, and the price tag reaches $77,020 annually.
While those numbers look scary at first glance, it’s important to consider what students get in return. Ranked No. 4 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report as of June 2021, MIT is widely regarded as one of the finest institutes of higher learning in the world.
- Ranked fourth among U.S. universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is especially known for its science, math, and engineering programs.
- For the 2021-2022 school year, the cost of tuition at MIT was $55,510 annually; when you add in room and board, the cost of attending the school rises to $77,020 annually.
- Having an MIT diploma usually correlates with a high salary, according to research firm PayScale, with the average professional seeing an early career salary of $88,300.
Perhaps best known for its superb science, math, and engineering, the illustrious school also offers business and economics programs that are among the most prestigious in the country. It also offers much more personal interaction than many universities, with a desirable 3:1 student-faculty ratio.
In other words, the university’s sticker price might be on par with the expensive Ivy League schools it competes against, but it certainly holds its own academically.
The combination of a superlative education program and the school's concentration on the sciences and related fields makes it no surprise that alumni typically enjoy great starting salaries once they graduate. According to the salary research firm PayScale, the average professional with an MIT diploma can expect an early-career salary of $88,300. Even with its hefty tuition costs, PayScale puts MIT at No. 2 among private U.S. colleges in terms of return on investment.
Even by private school standards, MIT’s base tuition cost is steep, but when you factor in the school’s generous financial aid and the future earning potential of its graduates, it could be seen as a very good deal.
When looking at MIT’s tuition cost, it’s also worth considering the substantial financial aid that it doles out each year. It doesn’t hurt that the school, which educates more than 11,500 undergraduate and grad students, has an endowment of more than $18 billion, as of September 2020, from which it can draw.
The admissions process is need-blind, and 59% of its students receive an income-based MIT scholarship, as of March 2020. That means the average cost for a year's education—including tuition, fees, books, and housing—is a more modest $23,442.
MIT is especially helpful to families making less than $90,000 a year. Consequently, 31% of the student body attends tuition-free. So if you’re on the lower end of the economic spectrum but demonstrate excellent academic potential, don’t assume that an MIT education is out of reach.
Here’s another important measure of the school’s financial aid: The average graduate has substantially less student-loan debt than the national average. Twenty-four percent of MIT’s alumni have loans, with an average balance of $23,226 at graduation, for 2020. By contrast, the average debt load across the country was $28,950 in 2019, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.
Over 100 private U.S. colleges and universities charge at least $50,000 per year in tuition costs, according to the annual report from U.S. News, which surveyed 876 private schools.
How to Qualify
To qualify for assistance, MIT’s financial services department requires a completed FAFSA as well as the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. In most cases, parents will have to submit their most recent tax returns as well as any W2 forms to obtain consideration.
International students are also eligible for aid in the form of scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities. However, unlike U.S. students, they can skip the FAFSA and submit only a CSS PROFILE and tax returns, if applicable.