Strength Starts with Scholarships: How Scholarships Help MIT Build a Better World

“MIT’s strength derives from its students, and our undergraduates depend on MIT’s ability to help meet their financial needs. Through generous financial aid, we’re committed to doing just that.”

Stuart Schmill ’86, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services

Year after year, MIT’s graduates around the planet set to work in academia, public service, and business. They make pioneering discoveries, invent industries, and have an outsized impact on the lives of billions. Scholarships are a beautiful investment in the promise of a future leader, one who not only will tackle great challenges but also will lead the way to solutions. But more than that, scholarships bring uniquely talented students from around the world into MIT’s dynamic community.

When students apply to MIT, the Admissions Office looks at them very carefully. What are they trying to see? Creativity, curiosity, and smarts. Entrepreneurial spirit. The motivation to push across boundaries, a willingness to take intellectual risks, and a drive to apply these gifts in service to the world.

Not under consideration during the admissions process? A student’s ability to pay. Scholarships are the foundation of MIT’s longstanding commitment to need-blind admissions, and they are integral to continuing the Institute’s meritocratic principles and values. Scholarship support fuels many members of MIT’s undergraduate student body—18% of whom are the first in their families to attend college—and makes space for their innovative ideas.

“Growing up, MIT was really never on my radar—I didn't think that coming here was something that could happen to me. All of the experiences I've had at MIT wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the generosity of scholarship donors.”
Kenneth Vieira ’19, scholarship recipient

“Every day, I am grateful for this challenging yet wildly rewarding journey.”
Alice Jin ’18, scholarship recipient

Supporting Scholarships at MIT

Finding an Intellectual Home

“MIT can only work the way it does if all people have an equal opportunity to study here—and that opportunity can’t exist without scholarships.”

Mercedes M. Ondik ’18, scholarship recipient

A scholarship can ease students’ financial worries, helping them channel more energy into their classes, research, and learning opportunities outside the lecture hall. The skills that come from pursuing diverse activities—whether it’s spearheading a service project, joining a club, learning to play a musical instrument, or teaching technology to others in a country far from home—can contribute to student success at MIT and beyond.

More than that, every scholarship introduces a new mind into the MIT community, simultaneously enriching the life of the recipient and the campus. Ask professors what attracts them to MIT, and students top the list. Ask students what they like best about MIT, and they say, “Each other.”

When they begin their studies here, students discover a community filled with people like themselves—just as bright, a little bit quirky, and equally driven by the desire to discover, invent, and tinker. These students do not want to choose between a school they can afford and the place where they belong. With a scholarship, they can make their decision without worry—and make themselves at home at MIT.

A Sense of Mission

Today’s students arrive on campus with a passion for tackling specific challenges and pushing past the limits of human knowledge. Seizing opportunities to incorporate the arts, humanities, and entrepreneurship into their academic pursuits of science and engineering, students who choose MIT are ready to take on big, multidisciplinary challenges.

No matter a student’s path, education and service are bound tightly at MIT. We attract undergraduates who are driven to careers that will enable them to be of service to the nation and the world, and we produce alumni who have a strong sense of purpose. A scholarship welcomes new students to this remarkable community and asks them to join the broader MIT family in working for the betterment of humankind.

“I have grown as a person, a friend, a scientist, an engineer, and as a world-changer because of my MIT experience. I’m confident that I can redefine the boundaries of what the world knows to be the status quo.” —Max Freitas ’19, scholarship recipient


To learn more about scholarships, including how to provide scholarship support to students, contact Elizabeth Crabtree at or 617.715.2838.

This story was originally published in March 2019.

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