Laurel Fellowship Criteria

Mount Holyoke offers need-based Laurel Fellowships to support students whose own resources are not sufficient to cover the cost of study abroad.  Laurel Fellowships are the only form of financial aid given by Mount Holyoke for study abroad. Federal aid and outside scholarships may be used for study abroad.  

Mount Holyoke aims to fund all qualified students; typically we approve more than 90% of applications each year. 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 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. 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 directly 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 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. (This expectation will not apply to students who wish to study in a program taught in a language other than English that they have been studying consistently while enrolled at Mount Holyoke.) Students should specify courses that are directly relevant to their major, and explain how those courses will contribute to their work in their major at Mount Holyoke.  Students should not assume that living and studying in a different country and a different educational system will by itself make a significant contribution to their major and their academic goals.   
  • 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 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