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The MIT Student Assistance Fund

The MIT Student Assistance Fund is intended to provide financial assistance for all Joint Program students towards certain incidental expenses such as travel and equipment purchases that are not available for one reason or other through the student's principal advisor.

Who is eligible

The Fund is for the use of all Joint Program students, no matter what discipline, no matter what department they are enrolled in.

What the fund can be used for

The following categories are allowable:

    • Laboratory equipment UNDER $500
    • Computer equipment UNDER $500
    • Travel to Scientific Workshops and Meetings

We expect that the advisor would cover 50% of the total costs of attending the event.

Depending upon the request, the SAF may contribute up to half the total expenses of travel with no award (travel or otherwise) exceeding $1,000.

For computer equipment requests, please note that MIT has negotiated agreements with Apple, Dell, and Lenovo to offer students discounts – for both academic and personal purchases.  You may find more information and links to MIT-only online storefronts here.  For computing equipment requests, please visit these stores first to ensure you are securing the best price available for the item you need

What the fund cannot be use for

    • Student stipends
    • Tuition Assistance
    • Major equipment purchases or leases (i.e. NO PURCHASES OVER $500)
    • Per Diem – while students may have meals reimbursed as part of a travel request, student travel does not meet the threshold for “per diem” as defined by MIT.
    • Proposed vs. actual expenses are required as part of the request and reimbursement submission process (see next section), so food can easily be budgeted for without needing exact figures.

How to submit a proposal

Funding requests should be accompanied by:

  • A brief, written proposal from the student stating clearly:
    • The type of assistance (travel, computer or lab equipment)
    • Why the funding is needed
    • What it will be used to pay for
    • A proposed budget
      • Include your proposed breakdown of costs and funding sources
      • When submitting for reimbursement, include your final breakdown of actual costs and proposed sources.
  • A letter from the principal advisor must accompany and support this request.
    • Advisors should indicate their ability to fund 50% of the cost of travel, if the request is travel-related, or briefly describe

No action will be taken without the written request and the letter of support.

Where to send a proposal

Please send your written proposals to Prof. Mick Follows and Patricia Nesti via email at and

If you have any further questions regarding this Fund, please contact Prof. Mick Follows or Patricia Nesti via email.