Financial Aid Eligibility and Policies for Domestic Students

Admission Applicants and Intention to Apply for Financial Aid

An applicant must indicate her intent to apply for need based financial aid from Mount Holyoke on her admission application. If she indicates she will not apply she cannot be considered for need based aid from the College until she has successfully completed two semesters of enrollment at Mount Holyoke. 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. 

Reapplying for Aid

U.S. citizens and permanent residents must reapply for financial aid each year to be considered for federal financial aid or need based aid from Mount Holyoke. Students applying for federal aid only do not need to complete the requirements for need based aid from Mount Holyoke. Current students who apply for aid should have all their requirements in to SFS by May 1.  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 will accept a request 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. 

Funding Limitations for Mount Holyoke Financial Aid

Resident students who enter as first-time, first-year students may receive a maximum of eight semesters of aid. Institutional funding for transfer students is limited based on the total number of credits accepted for transfer at any point.  (See chart below.) Off-campus Frances Perkins students may receive funding for up to 128 attempted credits including any credits transferred to Mount Holyoke. Credits transferred in or earned count toward the eight semester and attempted credit limits, including study abroad credits, whether or not a student received need-based funding for the study abroad or other earned credits.  Students may request an extension of aid past the eight 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 considering a request for an additional semester of aid.

Aid Eligibility chart for 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

Funding for off campus (commuting) Frances Perkins students is limited to a cumulative total of 128 credits. This total includes transfer credits applied toward the Mount Holyoke degree. Frances Perkins students should plan their course of study with this in mind.

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 new to the College will be asked to supply parental 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 is contingent on maintaining a satisfactory academic record, according to the standards described in the Mount Holyoke College Bulletin and Course Catalogue

In general, 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.  If academic probation is continued for a second semester, students will lose eligibility for federal aid. However, students may appeal for the reinstatement of their federal aid for one semester with documentation of special circumstances. Students will not be eligible for institutional or federal funding if they remain on academic probation for a third semester. If students lose federal or institutional funding due to not meeting satisfactory academic progress, they may appeal by writing to Student Financial Services and providing supporting documentation. Students will regain institutional and federal need-based eligibility for funding after achieving satisfactory academic progress and removal from academic probation.