Eligibility for Need-based Financial Aid

The family contribution

The family contribution is the amount you and your family will be expected to provide for your education. It is calculated based on an assessment of your family’s income and asset information and then verified with documentation such as certified tax returns or certified letters from your parents’ employers, along with bank statements.

After we review your financial aid application, if your calculated family contribution is less than the cost of education, you will be eligible for financial aid. If your family contribution is determined to be higher than the cost of education, you are not eligible for need-based financial aid.

Special circumstances that may affect your family contribution

In determining your eligibility for financial aid from Mount Holyoke (as opposed to from the federal government or other sources), the College considers information from both parents. If your parents are remarried, financial information from their current spouses is also considered.

If you have special circumstances regarding a divorced or separated parental situation, please complete the Noncustodial Parent Waiver Request and submit with third party documentation to Student Financial Services.

Student Financial Services accepts requests for reconsideration of the family contribution under certain circumstances, including financial support of an elderly parent, unreimbursed medical expenses or long-term loss of employment. We are unable to consider requests for reconsideration based on circumstances such as cash flow shortages, home repair costs or consumer debt. The Request for Reconsideration form must be submitted with supporting documentation.

Eligibility details by student status

Satisfactory academic progress

All students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

If you did not indicate an intent to apply for need-based aid on your admission application, you cannot be considered for need-based grants, loans and work-study awarded by the College until you have completed two semesters of enrollment at Mount Holyoke. This does not apply to federal aid, which you can apply for at any time during the application cycle or the academic year.

The family contribution from year to year

Your calculated family contribution is likely to be relatively consistent, or increase modestly, from year to year, unless you have a significant change in family income or assets, a change in the number of dependents supported or a change in the number of dependent children attending four-year undergraduate institutions.

Independent students definition

Mount Holyoke College follows the federal definition of an independent student with the following important exception: If you enroll as a dependent student at Mount Holyoke, you will always be considered a dependent student. Regardless of changes in your family situation, marital status, time away from the College due to nonacademic leave, or withdrawal status, you cannot be considered as an independent student.

In some cases, you will be asked to supply parental or guardian information, even if you meet the above federal requirements. Please contact Student Financial Services if you have any questions regarding independent student status.

To be considered an independent student according to the federal definition, you must be one of the following:

  • At least 24 years old by December 31 of the award year.
  • Married.
  • A person with legal dependents other than a spouse.
  • An orphan or a ward of the court after age 13.
  • The ward of a court-appointed legal guardian after age 13.
  • An unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of being homeless after age 13.
  • A veteran of U.S. military service or currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training.

While Mount Holyoke welcomes students interested in earning a second bachelor’s degree, second degree candidates are not eligible for financial aid from the College.

To be considered for financial aid, international students must indicate their desire to apply for financial aid on their admission application and complete all financial aid application requirements by the published deadlines. International students who do not apply for financial aid at the time of admission will not be considered for financial aid at any time during their enrollment at the College, regardless of any change in their personal or financial circumstances.

The family contribution

For international students, your family contribution (the amount your family is expected to pay annually) is finalized when you enroll and will be the same each year until graduation, regardless of changes in family financial circumstances, including a younger sibling’s enrollment in college, or currency fluctuations.

Additional costs

Annual costs for the student beyond the comprehensive fee include the cost of the annual student health insurance premium (approved health insurance is required of all students attending college in Massachusetts), travel costs, and the estimated personal and book expenses of $2,000.

The financial aid package

A typical financial aid package for an international student consists of need-based grant aid, a fixed-interest student loan and student employment. Due to College financial aid policies, some aid packages may not include the maximum amount of student loan or campus employment each year. Please expect the student loan component of the package to increase by at least $1,000 a year.

Requests for reconsideration

If there are unanticipated, permanent and significant changes in your family’s financial circumstances, you can submit a request for reconsideration, provided you applied for financial aid when you first applied to Mount Holyoke. Additional documentation will be required in support of the request.

Exchange students attending MHC are not eligible for financial aid from the College and should not assume that they will be eligible for campus employment. Students who hold scholarships from sources other than Mount Holyoke should check with Student Financial Services regarding possibly using them while on an exchange program.

Contact Us

The Office of Student Financial Services administers financial aid and student billing.