Financial Aid Eligibility & Policies: U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, Undocumented & DACA Students

Intention to Apply for Financial Aid

An applicant must indicate the intent to apply for need-based financial aid from Mount Holyoke on the admission application. An applicant who does not indicate the intent to apply for aid cannot be considered for need-based aid from the College until two semesters of enrollment at Mount Holyoke have been succesfully completed. Note: This policy does not apply to federal financial aid.  Federal aid may be applied for at any time during the application cycle or the academic year.

The Family Contribution from Year to Year

The calculated family contribution will be consistent from year to year unless changes occur for example, a significant change in family income or assets, a change in the number of dependents supported or a change in the number of dependent children attending undergraduate institutions. Student should expect to have modest increases in the student contribution each year.

Reapplying for Aid

U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents and undocumented and DACA students must reapply for financial aid each year to be considered for need based aid from Mount Holyoke; U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents applying for federal aid only do not need to complete the requirements for need based aid from Mount Holyoke but they will need to complete the FAFSA each year to apply for federal financial aid. Current students who apply for aid should have all their requirements in to SFS by April 15.  Admission applicant deadlines vary based on the application plan.

Students who did not qualify for need-based financial aid from Mount Holyoke at the time of their admission but whose family circumstances have changed significantly are encouraged to apply for aid in subsequent years. 

Requests for Additional Aid

Student Financial Services accepts requests for reconsideration of the family contribution under certain circumstances. These circumstances include financial support of an elderly parent, unreimbursed medical expenses, or long-term loss of employment. (We will consider loss of employment that occurs during the year that the student is applying for aid during the second semester of the academic year. Any additional aid granted as a result of the request for reconsideration will apply only to the second semester.) We cannot consider requests for reconsideration of the family contribution due to circumstances such as cash flow problems or consumer debt. Requests for reconsideration must be accompanied by documentation. While an increase in aid is not always possible, we assess each request as thoroughly and equitably as we can. (Students are expected to maximize all federal and institutional loan eligibility before any additional grant aid can be considered.)

Funding Maximums

Resident students who enter as first-time, first-year students receive a maximum of eight semesters of financial aid from Mount Holyoke. College funding for transfer students is limited based on the total number of credits accepted for transfer at any point. (See chart below.) Off-campus (commuting) Frances Perkins students receive funding for up to 128 attempted credits including any credits transferred to Mount Holyoke. Credits transferred to the College due to a semester or year of study abroad or academic leave count toward the semester limit, whether or not financial aid from the College was provided for these credits. (Federal aid may be available.)  Students should plan their course of study with these maximums in mind.

Students may request an extension of aid past the semester or 128 credit limit by providing supporting documentation regarding the need for an additional semester to Student Financial Services.  If an additional semester is needed because of an earlier medical leave, students should ask Health Services to contact Student Financial Services with verification of the medical leave.  The support of the academic dean and the student’s advisor is required for requests for additional aid not due to medical reasons.  Students should consult with Student Financial Services and their academic dean if requesting an additional semester of aid.

Funding Maximums:
Transfer and on-campus Frances Perkins students 

Credits Transferred Semesters of Aid Eligibility Remaining
12 - 27 7 semesters of institutional aid
28 - 43 6 semesters of institutional aid
44 - 59 5 semesters of institutional aid
60 - 64 4 semesters of institutional aid

Independent Status

In determining eligibility for need based financial aid from Mount Holyoke, the College follows the federal definition of an independent student (as listed below), with the following important exception: If a student enrolls as a dependent student at Mount Holyoke, she will always be considered a dependent student, regardless of changes in her family situation, her marital status, time away from the College due to nonacademic leave, or withdrawal status. To be considered an independent student according to the federal definition, a student must be one of the following:

  • At least twenty-four years old by December 31 of the award year
  • Married
  • A person with legal dependents other than a spouse 
  • An orphan or a ward of the court after age 13
  • The ward of a court-appointed legal guardian after age 13
  • An unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of being homeless after age 13
  • A veteran of U.S. military service or currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training 

In some cases a student will be asked to supply parental or guardian information even if she meets the above federal requirements. Please contact Student Financial Services if you have any questions regarding independent student status.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Eligibility for financial aid for undergraduate students is contingent on maintaining a satisfactory academic record, according to the standards described in the Mount Holyoke College Bulletin and Course Catalogue

Students are expected to achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and make consistent progress toward the degree by earning an adequate number of credits each semester. Students placed on academic probation are eligible for federal and institutional aid the first semester of academic probation. If academic probation continues for a second semester, students will lose eligibility for federal aid. Students will not be eligible for institutional or federal funding if they remain on academic probation for a third semester. Students will regain institutional and federal need-based eligibility for funding after achieving satisfactory academic progress and removal from academic probation.  

Appeal process: Students who lose federal or institutional funding due to not making satisfactory academic progress may appeal to have the aid reinstated.
The appeal must include:
1. An explanation for not achieving the required GPA or earning the attempted credits.
2. A detailed plan listing how the required GPA and the attempted credits will be reached.
3. Support for the student's plan provided by an academic dean or the student's advisor. 

Please email the appeal and supporting documentation to SFS@mtholyoke.edu.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

While Mount Holyoke welcomes students interested in earning a second bachelor’s degree, candidates are not eligible for financial aid from the College. Federal financial aid may be available.