Leaves of Absence
Laurel Fellowship for Off-Campus Study
Any Mount Holyoke financial aid that you receive will not travel with you to other institutions, however students receiving financial aid whose own resources are not sufficient to cover the cost of study abroad or one of the designated US programs (American University Washington Semester Program or Semester in Environmental Science at the MBL) may apply for a Laurel Fellowship. These fellowships are funded by Mount Holyoke and are awarded on a limited and competitive basis. Mount Holyoke Leadership Awards and employment-based aid (such as Tuition Exchange) do not travel, but students who would be eligible for need-based aid if they were not receiving these awards may apply for Laurel Fellowships.
A student approved for an academic leave of absence may use any federal, state or outside aid for which she is eligible, regardless of whether she has been awarded a Laurel Fellowship/Mount Holyoke aid. Federal Direct Student Loans and Pell Grants generally travel with the student to a new institution; consult with SFS staff for details. Students who expect to use federal or other outside aid toward their programs must submit a Disbursement Form and have their host program submit a Consortium Agreement to Student Financial Services. See "Processing Funds for Study Abroad" for further instructions and required forms (procedures are the same for study in the United States as for study abroad).
Decide if you will need Mount Holyoke student health insurance. Students on leave are not billed for student health insurance as most study away programs have medical insurance coverage as part of the program fee. Students will be billed for health insurance upon their return to campus. Students who need MHC's student health insurance while away should contact SFS to make sure they are billed. Domestic students will be responsible for covering the health insurance fee.
You may need to do the following if you are going on academic leave:
- Submit a consortium agreement for program costs for each program attended.
- Complete loan applications (if applicable), and notify outside award organizations to send funds to MHC.
- Submit a Disbursement Form to SFS. No funds can be disbursed without the completed form.
- Meet with a member of the SFS staff to make sure everything is in place for your leave.
While on non-academic leave, you will not be reported as enrolled at MHC. If you receive federal loans, you have a grace period before you are expected to begin repayment. This means that, as dictated by federal regulation, Federal Direct Student Loans will enter re-payment status after 180 days (generally after one un-enrolled semester; not after a normal summer or January term). The grace period for Federal Perkins loans is nine months. You may request forbearance for repayment by contacting the appropriate servicer: Department of Education for Federal Direct loans, ECSI for Federal Perkins or Mount Holyoke College loans, private lenders for alternative loans.
Once you have used your grace period, you will not have a grace period again upon graduation and will go into repayment immediately. However, you may request in-school deferrals for any of your student loans if you enroll in a graduate program. Subsidized loans will not accrue interest during in-school deferments; unsubsidized and alternative loans will accrue interest and interest will be compounded if not paid quarterly.
If you were enrolled in the Student Medical Insurance Plan for more than 31 days before you go on leave, the plan will remain in effect for the full plan year.
Students who are enrolled in the Mount Holyoke health insurance plan and who go on leave after the fall semester may waive the insurance coverage for the remainder of the academic year and receive the refund on that insurance if they request in writing that the coverage be terminated, assuming they do not receive grant funding for the insurance. The request must be made within 30 days of the end of the fall semester. Students who wish to continue their coverage may do so. Students who received grant funds for the health insurance coverage will have the grant deducted from their account for the spring amount and they will be responsible for paying for the spring insurance coverage. If your leave extends beyond the coverage period of the current plan year (if you are on leave when you would have renewed your plan), you will not be eligible for further renewal of the Student Medical Insurance Plan.
Aid for Your Return
While on leave, you should apply for financial aid for the academic year you plan to return according to published deadlines. Late applications may receive more assistance from loan sources and less grant funding than applications that are submitted on time (May 1 for all documents and online applications for the next academic year).
Students with past due balances will not be able to order transcripts, participate in room draw, or register on line. In addition, late fees will be assessed each month on past due balances. Students with significant past due balances will not be approved to return to Mount Holyoke until the balance is paid in full.
Students must pay past due balances and be in good standing on institutional or Perkins loans in order to receive approval to return from a leave of absence. Late fees will accrue monthly on any past due balances until the balance is paid in full. Past due balances will be referred to collection after six months.
In addition, a student who takes a non-academic leave and has a past due balance must pay the past due balance prior to the midpoint of the semester immediately following the semester in which she took the leave or she will be withdrawn for financial reasons. For example, if a student takes a leave in the spring semester, she must pay any past due balance in full or have an approved payment plan in place prior to November registration regardless of her intent to return the following spring. Likewise, a student who takes a leave in the fall semester must pay any past due balance in full or have an approved payment plan in place prior to April registration. (Payment plans must be approved by the Student Accounts Manager in Student Financial Services.) Students who are withdrawn for financial reasons can be reinstated by first resolving any financial issues (paying past due balances for student accounts and loans) and requesting readmittance to the College through the Dean of the College office. The $75 readmittance fee may be waived with documented extenuating circumstances.
Leaves of Absence Types and Descriptions
For information on Leaves of Absence types and descriptions, visit the Academic Deans website.