Campus Updates

Please 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 fall semester. FAQs are being updated regularly.

Finances/Financial Aid

In February, the Board of Trustees approved an increase in tuition for 2020-21. 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 are 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 will be a slightly shorter (by one week) period in residence, students who will be in residence on campus will see a reduced charge on their bill. Students who are not resident on campus will not be charged for 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 resulted in an additional reduction in student jobs, particularly entry-level, in-person positions. For this reason, work-study awards will be replaced by grant aid for all work-study eligible students this fall semester (including those living on and off campus). Students receiving a work-study replacement grant will receive priority for any available student jobs.

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 are facing. We encourage all students and families to review our FAQs, visit the SFS website and contact us with questions, concerns and to discuss individual circumstances and options.

For first generation and/or low-income students who may be having a difficult time accessing living necessities, access to technology or other needs to support academic learning should go to the First Generation Low Income Student Support section of the FAQ page.

More information is available in the Financial Matters section of the FAQ page.

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: $707,800 as of July 7, 2020.

In 2019-20, 1333 students at the College submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We estimate another 396 students were eligible to do so. Approximately 1729 students were therefore eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

817 students 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 two phases. In Phase 1, students received block grants ranging from $200-$1,200 who

  • were enrolled in classes on March 27
  • 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 will be awarded based on a brief application from the student attesting the eligibility for the grant and that the student had expenses related to campus disruption due to COVID-19.

A notice was posted on the FAQ page about CARES Act grants including a 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 will be sent to all students that the application is open, how long the application will be open, and how much is remaining in funding. Grants will be $100-$200 for Phase 2 depending on the demand and the remaining funds.

There are no additional updates to the use of CARES Act funds since the last posted update on July 13, 2020.

New Financial Information for Students

(updated August 28, 2020)

MHC Cares funding

The College recently approved institutional funding to support students who are not eligible for federal CARES funding based on citizenship status. “MHC Cares” grants will be provided to non-citizens who meet the criteria used in Phase 1 funding. Students must have been enrolled at the time of the COVID-19 closure of campus. The amount of funding is tiered, dependent on the calculated family contribution used for 2019-20 financial aid funding.  Information will be sent to eligible students at the end of August. 

International, DACA and any other federal CARES ineligible students will also be eligible to apply for funding in our CARES/MHC Cares Phase 2 funding which provides grants of up to $200 for students who do not qualify under Phase 1. The application process will open at the end of August. 

Cares Act and MHC Cares Update

In June, MHC distributed over $700,000 in federal CARES Act/Higher Education Emergency Relief funds to students who were eligible for federal financial aid, were aid applicants, and had family contributions determined by the College to be less than $35,000. Recently, the College approved funding to support financial aid recipients with comparable family contributions who are not eligible for federal student aid (including international and DACA students) to receive grants funded by Mount Holyoke College through MHC Cares Phase 1 as well. Students receiving those grants will be notified early next week about their grant amounts, ranging from $200 to $1,200.

Other currently enrolled students who did not receive the block grants in Phase 1 are now eligible to apply for Phase 2 grants of $50-$200 to support costs related to the disruption of campus operations during the spring 2020 term. The eligibility criteria for Phase 2 are:

  • Students who were in residence on campus or enrolled in an approved academic leave or study abroad program the spring of 2020 and have not graduated or withdrawn from the College
  • Students who did not or will not receive Phase 1 Cares Act funding from the College
  • Students who had additional expenses such as food, housing, technology, health care, and child care expenses due to COVID-19 disruptions to campus operations last spring.

For more information, please see the CARES Act funding section of the FAQ page.

Institutional loan repayment and rate freeze 

The College has 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. Forbearance applications will be available by the end of August.

Review of the international financial aid process and the impact of currency depreciation

The College has committed to a fall 2020 review of the current international student financial aid application process, including how significant currency changes impact our international students’ ability to meet their family contribution over time. More information will be shared following the review later this fall.

Appeals for off-campus living expenses

For this academic year, financial aid recipients who are unable to live at home may submit an appeal for a housing accommodation to include an allowance for off-campus housing expenses in their financial aid budget (Cost of Attendance) of up to $4,000 per semester.  Priority will be given to students on the basis of need. Funding for any approved housing allowance will come from remaining eligibility for federal or institutional loans (not to exceed standard loan award amount) and institutional grant funds. Please use this online form to apply for additional support to assist with off-campus housing costs.