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The MIT Student Assistance Fund

The MIT Student Assistance Fund is intended to provide financial assistance for all MIT-WHOI Joint Program students towards travel as well as certain incidental 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 MIT-WHOI Joint Program students, no matter what discipline, no matter which 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 will cover 50% of the total costs of attending a workshop, meeting, or conference. For travel, depending upon the request, the SAF may contribute up to half the total expenses with no award exceeding $1,000.

Lab or computer equipment support from the Student Assistance Fund is intended to assist in cases where the advisor is unable to cover the cost.

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

  • Tax – MIT cannot reimburse tax for purchases
  • 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. MIT cannot reimburse for tax, so do not include this as a line item in your request.
  • A letter from the principal advisor must accompany and support this request.
    • If the request is travel related, advisors should indicate their agreement to fund 50% of the cost.
    • If the request is for computing or lab equipment, advisors should indicate their support for the purchase and why it is not being supported from their own funds.

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.