Frances Perkins Program

Nontraditional Age Students

Mount Holyoke continues to support the philosophy of its founder, Mary Lyon, who believed that a Mount Holyoke education should be available to any talented woman who could benefit from it. In recognition of the fact that the quest for knowledge has no age limit, Mount Holyoke College welcomes scholars who follow unconventional paths to its gates and, through The Frances Perkins Program, opens the nation's oldest women's college to students of nontraditional age who have not yet earned an undergraduate degree. Each year, for twenty-five admitted Frances Perkins scholars, that welcome comes with very generous financial support from the College. Applicants for a second bachelor's degree are not eligible for institutional funding and should contact the Office of Admission for more information.

Mount Holyoke is a women's college that is gender diverse and welcomes applications from female, trans and non-binary students. The Frances Perkins Program is open to and designed for candidates 25 years and older who have experienced an interruption in their education, but who now seek the intellectual challenge of completing their 4-year degree at a top liberal arts institution. Veterans, active military, and those under the age of 25 with dependents are also eligible to apply. Frances Perkins scholars fulfill the same requirements as do all other Mount Holyoke students, but have the added flexibility of electing either a full or part-time (two course) schedule and, if they enter with sophomore or junior standing, are exempt from the first-year seminar requirement.

Each year approximately 90 diverse and intellectually curious women are enrolled at Mount Holyoke as Frances Perkins scholars (FPs). Most FPs matriculate with between thirty and sixty four transferrable credits. These students enhance Mount Holyoke's excellence by bringing extensive work and life experiences to campus. Their contributions to the academic and social climate of the College are embraced by their traditional-aged classmates as well as the College's faculty and staff. Together, FPs form a close-knit community, supporting one another both as scholars and as women.

Since its founding in 1980, the Frances Perkins Program has graduated more than a thousand highly accomplished women. Many have entered the professions; others have excelled in well-known graduate programs; some have chosen entrepreneurial paths; one is a current Fulbright Scholar. We invite you to visit, and begin to more fully imagine where the unique confidence born of a Mount Holyoke education could lead you.