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Financial Planning

The McCulloch Center is committed to helping all students find affordable ways of studying abroad.  Come talk with us if you have questions about how you will fund your program abroad.

Financial Planning FAQ

Students pay the tuition and fees of their program or host university, not Mount Holyoke tuition (except for some reciprocal exchanges).

  • Most study abroad programs, including Mount Holyoke’s own programs, cost less than studying here on campus.
  • Mount Holyoke charges each student studying abroad an administrative fee of $900 per semester. This fee contributes directly to the support of study abroad. For students who are awarded Laurel Fellowships, the fee is taken into account in determining the amount of the award.
  • Program costs vary widely, and there is no direct correlation between cost and quality. Some programs have inclusive fees that cover everything except personal expenses; others list only the tuition charge; most fall somewhere in between. Ask for information about costs not covered in the basic fee to determine the total cost of a program.  
  • Students who receive no financial aid generally will find that study abroad costs less than Mount Holyoke. Many students who receive some need-based aid here will find that their own resources (family contribution, federal aid, etc.) will be sufficient to cover the cost of their program.

  • Most outside aid (including federal direct student loans, parent loans, Pell Grants, some state aid, and outside scholarships) will travel abroad.
  • Mount Holyoke need-based financial aid does not travel abroad. Instead, Mount Holyoke offers the Laurel Fellowships, which substitute for the need-based aid that students would have received here. We typically fund all students who qualify according to the academic and financial criteria, for a wide range of programs. Eligible students who are selected for most Mount Holyoke programs or exchanges are guaranteed Laurel Fellowships, provided that they apply by the deadline and meet all financial and academic criteria.  
  • Mount Holyoke Leadership Awards, other merit awards, town grants, and employment-based aid (such as tuition exchange) generally do not travel. Students who would be eligible for need-based aid if they were not receiving these awards may apply for Laurel Fellowships.  

  • Students who think their own financial resources (family contribution, federal aid, etc.) will not be sufficient to cover the cost of their program should apply for Laurel Fellowships.  We use next year's financial aid package to determine financial eligibility for Laurel. All students who expect to need financial aid for study abroad must via their Request to Study Abroad a) select "yes" to indicate that they're applying for the Laurel Fellowship; and b) request a faculty recommendation. Domestic students will also haveto have submitted a complete financial aid application for the following academic year (available October 1-February 1) to SFS by the Laurel deadline. Students who anticipate a change in circumstances that may affect their eligibility for need-based aid should apply for Laurel, and contact Student Financial Services for more information.

  • As with Mount Holyoke need-based financial aid, Laurel Fellowships are intended to cover the difference between a student’s own resources and the cost of their program, up to the amount of aid that they would have received for study on campus; therefore, award amounts vary according to students’ need.
  • For students who receive only need-based aid at MHC, their family contribution for study abroad will be the same as if they were here. Students who currently receive merit-based funding alone or in combination with need-based aid may find that the calculated family contribution for study abroad is more than the amount the student's family has been paying each semester while at Mount Holyoke. Please consult with Student Financial Services for additional information. All students approved for Laurel will be expected to carry the appropriate loans and outside grants that travel.
  • The amount of the Laurel Fellowship award is based on the student’s demonstrated need according to the program budget. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives compiles program budget data as part of the Laurel review process. The budgets include costs for tuition, fees, housing, meals and local transportation as provided by the abroad programs and universities. Mount Holyoke uses standard allowances for airfare, books and personal expenses. For those expenses, we use the standard allowance or the program estimate, whichever is less. Program budgets are calculated and finalized using the foreign currency exchange rate at the time of posting and will not be re-calculated regardless of currency fluctuations. Students approved for Laurel will receive detailed information along with their letter of approval. General procedures for transferring Laurel and outside aid are outlined in the Aid Transfer Procedures section of our website.

  •  The Laurel Fellowships are the only form of aid that Mount Holyoke provides to support study abroad.
  •  See Outside scholarships for a list of awards given by study abroad programs and other organizations.
  •  All students applying for Laurel Fellowships are expected to apply for financial aid/scholarships from their program (if available) and for the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships for Undergraduate Study Abroad (if eligible). Program scholarships and outside scholarships do not reduce the student’s family contribution, but help Mount Holyoke stretch its Laurel Fellowship dollars to fund more students.
    • Program scholarships will first replace the student employment component of the student's financial aid package for study abroad, and then will reduce Laurel eligibility dollar for dollar.
    • Outside scholarships (such as the Gilman) will be treated according to the usual policies, and will first be used to reduce the student's need-based loans. If the outside scholarship exceeds the amount of the need-based loans, the remainder reduces the College grant dollar for dollar. Students should not underestimate the value of receiving an outside award even though it will not necessarily increase their resources toward the program abroad: an outside award will reduce the student’s loan, and will also enhance their resume.