Laurel Fellowship Criteria

Mount Holyoke offers Laurel Fellowships to support students whose own resources are not sufficient to cover the cost of study abroad.  Laurel Fellowships substitute for the need-based aid that students receive for study here on campus, and are the only form of financial aid given by Mount Holyoke for study abroad.

Mount Holyoke aims to fund all qualified students whose plan for study abroad relates to their major, minor, or overall academic program and goals.  We particularly encourage students who have little or no previous experience outside the U.S. to apply. 

We evaluate each application according to the relevance of the program/location chosen to the student’s stated goals, the student’s academic preparation for study abroad (including language proficiency, if applicable), and the student’s overall academic record.  Students should not focus on their desire to travel or explore opportunities for graduate study or future employment, as these goals are not directly relevant to their academic program here.  No priority or preference is given solely on the basis of GPA.

To enable Mount Holyoke to fund all qualified students, the following limitations apply:

  • Laurel Fellowship funding will be limited to one semester.  We will fund up to five students for the full year, with priority to language majors applying to study abroad, in the target language, in a single yearlong program/university.  This limitation will not apply if the student is selected for exchange with the University of Essex or the University of York in England, which strongly prefer that exchange students come for the full year because the academic calendar does not fully correspond to our semesters.  
  • Students who have already lived outside the U.S. for an extended period of time (including international students who have lived only in their home country before coming to study at Mount Holyoke) will need to argue persuasively that study abroad will decidedly enhance their work in their major at Mount Holyoke in order to be considered for Laurel funding.
  • Students will not be eligible for Laurel funding if they have previously studied abroad for a semester for academic credit at Mount Holyoke, even if they did not receive Laurel funding for that semester.  This limitation will not apply to students who entered Mount Holyoke in the spring semester and who studied abroad in the fall prior to matriculation.
  • Students who are approved for Laurel funding for a semester may apply to study abroad for a full year in one location, or for a subsequent semester in the same or a different location, with the understanding that they will not be eligible for Laurel funding for the second semester.
  • Students approved for most MHC programs and exchanges will be guaranteed Laurel funding, provided that they meet all eligibility criteria for acceptance to the program and for need-based financial aid.
  • Laurel Fellowships generally will be awarded only for Laurel Preferred Programs.  Laurel Preferred Programs are high quality programs that are competitively priced for their location. Limiting Laurel Fellowships to Laurel Preferred Programs helps Mount Holyoke stretch its own resources so that we can generally fund all qualified students. Students who believe they have a compelling academic need for a program that is not Laurel Preferred may apply for Laurel, but must include at least one viable Laurel Preferred program among their options; they will also be expected to make a strong argument in their application for why the non-Laurel Preferred program is a significantly better fit in order to be considered for funding.

Please note that Mount Holyoke generally will not fund:

  • Study abroad in a student’s final semester
  • International students who wish to study in their home country