Campus Updates

Visit the Campus Updates page for information on Mount Holyoke’s response to the global pandemic. The Opening the Gates website contains the plan for the spring semester.

Mount Holyoke College
Opening the Gates

Financial Matters

We acknowledge the many disruptions and constraints the pandemic imposes on campus life and activities, as well as the challenging economic circumstances our students and their families may be facing. We encourage all students and families to review the content on this page, visit Student Financial Services, and contact us at 413-538-2291 and sfs@mtholyoke.edu to discuss individual circumstances and options. 

First-generation and/or low-income students who may be having a difficult time accessing living necessities, technology or other needs to support academic learning should visit the First-generation Low-income Student page.

Income changes due to COVID-19 

Mount Holyoke College recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unforeseen changes and financial hardship for many of our students and their families. Student Financial Services may be able to provide additional need-based financial aid towards 2020–2021 educational expenses in response to significant changes in family income caused by the pandemic.

Undergraduate need-based financial aid recipients whose immediate families are currently experiencing significant loss of income (greater than 20%) stemming from disruption related to COVID-19 may submit a request for additional student financial aid to Student Financial Services beginning November 4, 2020. This review option is available to domestic, international and DACA/undocumented students. Students requesting a review will be provided with instructions on submitting required documents that support their request. Required documents are due November 20, 2020, and decisions will be released by December 18, 2020.

Income changes not due to COVID-19

Families experiencing 2020 income changes that are unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic may submit a Request for Reconsideration form for a January review. End-of-year income documentation will be collected at that time. Contact Student Financial Services in January for information on securely submitting supporting documentation.

The spring semester bill will be available to students and authorized users by mid-December, after all student housing has been finalized and financial aid adjustments based on residency have been completed. When financial aid revision is ready to view on Financial Aid Online, students will receive an email notification from Student Financial Services.

Returning residential students with a work-study award will be prioritized for available positions on campus. Due to the limited availability of jobs on campus that are typically available to first-year and new transfer students, these students will receive a work replacement grant for the spring term. Visit the Student Employment page to learn more about the student employment program for spring 2021.

Students who will not be living on campus for the spring 2021 semester will not be charged for room and board. Please keep in mind that lower billed charges also reduces need-based aid eligibility.

Financial aid recipients who are unable to live at home or on campus may be eligible for an allowance for off-campus housing expenses in their financial aid budget (Cost of Attendance) of up to $4,000 for the spring semester. Eligible students must incur additional living costs in rent, utilities and other living expenses in off-campus housing. Priority is given to students on the basis of need. Funding for approved housing allowance comes from remaining eligibility for federal or institutional loans (not to exceed standard loan award amount) and institutional grant funds. 

For the spring term, new requests for off-campus living expense allowances may be considered here.

The College authorized a six-month interest freeze for all institutional loans that are in repayment and administered by the College, including Federal Perkins loans and the Global Loan program. From the period beginning September 1, 2020, through February 28, 2021, the College will adjust the loan interest rate to 0%. If a borrower is unable to make payments during this time, they will be able to request forbearance during this period, resulting in no required payments. If a borrower continues to make regular payments during this time, the funds will be applied to their principal balance and any fees outstanding. The borrower can access forbearance request forms via the document tab in their ECSI account.   

Repayment and interest accrual begin six months after students leave school, so this relief is not applicable to loans held by currently enrolled students.

How the 0% interest rate will be applied

The 0% interest will be applied to all Federal Perkins and Mount Holyoke loans. This relief does not include Federal Direct loans, which are not serviced by Mount Holyoke. Information about the current interest relief and forbearance on Federal Direct loans can be found on the announcement on the Federal Student Aid website.

The 0% interest rate will apply to all loans, including those in default or deferment, except those that have been referred to a collections agency.

Zero percent interest will end on February 28, 2021.

Loan payments 

Unless you request a forbearance to suspend loan payments, you must continue to make payments in order for your loan to stay current. Payments are applied first to outstanding fees and interest and then to principal.

In March, interest will again accrue and the forbearance period will end, if applicable.

Contacting the loan servicer

In the United States, call 888-549-3274. From outside the United States, call 412-788-3900. The website is https://www.heartlandecsi.com.

If you have received a global loan reduction grant and would like to reinstate the full global loan (additional $1,376), please email Student Financial Services with the request.

In February 2020, the Board of Trustees approved an increase in tuition for 2020–2021. While the additional costs that are required to provide for a safe return to campus far exceed the proposed annual increase in tuition, we acknowledge the many disruptions and constraints that the pandemic imposes on campus life and activities, as well as the challenging economic circumstances that our students and their families may be facing. 

We will, therefore, offer a tuition credit of 4.5% (or $2,448) on the 2020–2021 Mount Holyoke undergraduate tuition rate. Tuition is the same for all students, whether they participate in-person or remotely: It reflects the instruction, academic credit, and other academic and non-academic services that are available to all enrolling students. 

As the fall semester is a slightly shorter (by one week) period in residence, students in residence for the fall have a reduced room and board charge on their bill. The spring semester is standard length in residence; therefore, students living on campus will be charged the full room and board rate. Students who are not living on campus are not charged room and board.  

In an effort to provide additional support to our aided students, we have also adopted the following measures:

  • The minimum student contribution has been reduced by 50% to $1,374 for the year.
  • The move to a non-residential program for the fall semester resulted in a significant additional reduction in student jobs, particularly entry-level in-person positions. For this reason, work-study awards were replaced by grant aid for all work-study eligible students for the fall semester, including those living on and off campus. 
  • For the spring semester, returning residential students who have a work-study award in their need-based financial aid package will have priority for jobs.

We encourage all students and families to visit the Student Financial Services website and contact us to discuss individual circumstances and options.

Health insurance requirement

Students living and studying in Massachusetts (on campus or remotely) are required to have health insurance that meets the Massachusetts standard. If the student is already covered by a comparable plan, they may apply for a waiver of the College insurance. If a student lives outside of Massachusetts (in the U.S. or abroad), they may complete a waiver attesting to sufficient coverage for their current location. This includes international students who will be studying at home. The insurance needs to be waived online by the waiver deadline.

Student Health Insurance Program

Information about the College’s Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) can be found on the Student Health Insurance page. All enrolled students are eligible to enroll in the health insurance plan.

Enrolling for spring

Due to COVID-19, the College is offering the insurance on a semester-by-semester basis rather than an annual basis. Students who received a waiver for student health insurance coverage for the fall semester, can still enroll and purchase a spring-only insurance policy.

Student health insurance guidelines for international students

Normally, the College’s policy is that all international students are enrolled on a mandatory basis and cannot waive coverage. However, due to current circumstances, the College is providing flexibility for international students. 

International students living on campus

International students who have been approved to reside on campus will automatically be enrolled in the fall Student Health Insurance Program. They do not need to do anything further.

International students studying remotely outside of the U.S. 

International students do not need to do anything further, nor do they need to fill out a waiver. When they return to the campus, they will be required to enroll in the plan.

Health insurance for students who are on leave

Students taking a personal leave are not eligible to enroll in the College’s Student Health Insurance Program. Students on an approved medical leave of absence, who have been previously insured under this plan for at least one year prior to the approved medical leave, are eligible to enroll in this insurance plan for a maximum of two consecutive semesters.

The spring semester due date is January 5, 2021. The spring semester bill will be available to students and authorized users by mid-December, after all student housing has been finalized and financial aid adjustments based on residency have been completed. If there is a delay in billing, the College will extend a grace period for the payment deadline. Students should plan to pay the balance, enroll in payment plans and/or secure educational financing by that time. 

Spring semester payment plan

A five-month payment plan is available for the spring semester. The first payment is due December 31, 2020, and the remaining payments are due at the end of January, February, March and April.

Students with a credit balance after all adjustments may choose to leave the credit on the account for the spring semester or request a refund. An online Student Balance Request form is available on my.mtholyoke.edu in the student accounts and payment section.

Please send requests to SFS@mtholyoke.edu with the subject line: Password Reset Request. This way we can quickly identify your specific need.

Thank you! The best way to help our students affected by the outbreak is by making a financial gift to The Mount Holyoke Fund and/or the Student Safety Net Fund.

Mount Holyoke College signed and returned to the Department of Education on June 9, 2020, the Certification and Agreement with intention to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Mount Holyoke College was awarded its CARES ACT HEERF Student Allocation on June 18, 2020.

Mount Holyoke College signed and returned to the Department of Education on June 8, 2020, the Certification and Agreement for the Institutional Portion of the HEERF in acknowledgment that the funds shall be used solely for purposes authorized in Section 18004(c) of the CARES Act. Mount Holyoke College was awarded its CARES ACT HEERF Institutional Portion on June 9, 2020.

Mount Holyoke College received $794,402 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Institutions Certificate and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid to Students. 

Mount Holyoke College received $794,401 from the Department of Education pursuant to the Institutions Certificate and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid to the Institution. 

The total amount of funds that Mount Holyoke College has received from the Department of Education is $1,588,803.

The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES ACT is $794,402, as of December 31, 2020.

In 2019-20, 1,333 students at the College submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and were therefore eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

Eight hundred fifty two students (852) have received Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

In determining the methods used by Mount Holyoke College to determine which students would receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act, the College elected to award the funding in multiple phases. In Phase 1, students received block grants ranging from $200-$1,200 who:

  • Were enrolled in classes on March 27, 2020.
  • Had submitted a FAFSA.
  • Had institutionally determined annualized family contributions under $35,001.
  • Had received institutional grant funding. 

Students with the lower family contributions received higher awards.

Phase 2 funds were awarded based on a brief application from the student attesting to the eligibility for the grant and that the student had expenses related to campus disruption due to COVID-19.

A notice was posted about CARES Act grants, including an FAQ about Phase 1 and Phase 2 grant funding. Emails were sent to individual students who were receiving the Phase 1 block grants, with a followup email from a vendor partner who was distributing the grants. For Phase 2, a notice was sent to all students that the application is open, how long the application would be open, and how much was remaining in funding. Grants of between $50 to $200 were distributed in Phase 2, depending on the request. Phase 3 funds were reimbursed to the College for payments distributed directly to eligible students who had requested emergency funds from the College's Safety Net fund. Qualifying payments occurred after March 27, 2020, to students who were enrolled in classes in the Spring 2020 semester and had submitted a FAFSA.

The Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report per CARES Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion, 18004(a)(2), and 18004(a)(3) (as applicable) is available in PDF format.  

The final Quarterly Budget and Expenditure Report per CARES Act Sections 18004(a)(1) Institutional Portion, 18004(a)(2), and 18004(a)(3) (as applicable) is available in PDF format.

There are no additional updates to the use of the CARES Act funds since the last posted update on January 10, 2021.