Social Impact ELO Criteria

Please review the following sections carefully before submitting a proposal.

The 2023-2024 RFP has closed. Please check back in Fall 2024 for the next funding round.

Funding Eligibility

Please direct all questions about eligibility to

Eligible applicants

Any MIT DLC or faculty member may apply, including programs with social impact missions that offer programming primed for expansion and other programs that wish to explore adding social impact opportunities to their programmatic line-up.  

DLCs can submit separate applications for distinct programs but are encouraged to bundle similar requests into one proposal where possible (e.g., a request for course-related travel funding could combine multiple courses across multiple terms). 

Eligible uses

Funding is aimed at expanding opportunities for undergraduate MIT students and should be used to directly support student participant expenses. This may include student stipends/wages, travel, supplies and materials, and other student-related costs. Note that this typically does not include conference-related expenses, which are unlikely to be funded. Funding may not be used to cover program staffing costs. Funding should be used for new or expanded opportunities, not to supplant existing program funds.

Most grants will likely be in the $25-100K range, but programs with especially compelling or larger scale opportunities may request a more substantial grant amount. Applicants planning to request >$100K should reach out to OEL to discuss their intentions before the application deadline. Depending on overall demand, some proposals may receive funding awards less than the full amount requested or may not be funded at all. 

Qualifying Opportunities

Defining Social Impact ELOs

An Experiential Learning Opportunity (ELO) immerses and supports students in action-feedback-reflection cycle(s) that connect learners to the world around them.

Social Impact ELOs should include the following components:

  1. Hands-on, applied work in authentic, real-world contexts.
  2. Meaningful guidance, supervision, and feedback.
  3. Adequate duration and intensity (e.g., students complete at least one action- feedback- reflection cycle).
  4. Critical reflection performed by the student.
  5. Assessment of student learning, measured against identified learning objectives (and optionally, for more advanced programs, the learner’s broader impact is evaluated).
  6. Have an explicit focus on social and/or environmental impact and directly address a critical and complex social or environmental challenge. Specific topics can include a wide range of issues including racial justice, climate change, health equity, poverty alleviation, tech for good, and more.
  7. Present opportunities for immediate or near-term application for communities, policies, or practices (that is, they are not completely theoretical).

Additional Considerations

In addition to meeting the criteria for social impact ELOs, all proposals must include appropriate compensation in the form of a wage, stipend, or academic credit:

  • All hourly wages must meet or exceed the current Massachusetts minimum wage of $15 per hour, regardless of the opportunity location. UROPs must pay at least $15.50 per hour (AY2024 UROP Office Direct Funding wage).
  • All stipends for full-time opportunities must be calculated to more than cover typical living expenses in the location of the opportunity.
  • For opportunities awarding academic credit, funding should be used to cover all applicable costs (materials, travel, etc.) that students may would otherwise incur by participating in the experience.

Opportunities may occur in any location, but strong preference will be given to opportunities that are primarily in-person rather than virtual.