Vista • Mount Holyoke College • Fall/Winter 2011 • Vol. 16 No. 2
Facts and Tips from Student Financial Services
We know that choosing a college is, first and foremost, about finding the right fit. When a student finds the college that fits her intellect and personality, she’s positioned to thrive, both academically and personally. And that, of course, is what every parent wants for his or her child. It’s very possible that Mount Holyoke College, with its first-rate academics and inspiring community, will turn out to be the right fit for your daughter. Should that be the case, we want you to know that we have a great deal of experi- ence working with parents whose daughters have fallen in love with this remarkable institution. We want to help make Mount Holyoke affordable for you. Our office is called Student Financial Services (SFS). We’re the ones who handle all aspects of financing an MHC education, from reviewing financial aid applications to counseling students and parents about financing plans. SFS is a resource for all students, whether or not they’ve applied for financial aid. We appreciate that each student’s financial situation is different, and our efforts are directed toward helping families find the financing plan that’s right for them.
As an introduction to SFS, we’ve put together a short—but important—list of facts and tips for parents whose children are embarking on the college admission process.
1. A Mount Holyoke education is affordable. Through a combination of need-based aid, merit awards, and judicious disbursement of federal and state loans, we have made Mount Holyoke an investment families can afford. Currently, around 70 percent of Mount Holyoke students receive need-based financial aid.
2. Begin by utilizing the Net Price Calculator (NPC). By using Mount Holyoke’s NPC, you will get an estimate of the family contribution and what financial aid could be available for your daughter based on the income and assets of your family. While no Net Price Calculator can guarantee financial aid results, we do incorporate both need- based and merit-based estimates for students from all economic backgrounds to best approximate results.
3. Apply for need-based aid. To apply for need-based aid, submit the College Board PROFILE by the application deadline. We also require the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for domestic students, but we use the PROFILE to determine institutional eligibility. You don’t need to apply for merit-based aid—Admission reviews everyone for eligibility—but if there’s a chance you’ll have eligibility for need-based aid, please apply.
4. Ask questions.Many questions are answered on our website and in our videos (www.mtholyoke.edu/sfs), but we encourage you to ask us whatever is on your mind. Whether you need further explanation about how we determine family contribution or have questions specific to your situation, we’re here to provide information.
5. Make us part of your campus visit. SFS is located on the lower level of Skinner Hall, Room 16. Our office hours are 8:30 AM–5:00 PM, Monday–Friday. Call us at 413-538-2291, 9:00 AM–4:00 PM weekdays.
6. Let us know about special circumstances. If there have been significant changes in income since you com- pleted the PROFILE, or if you have special circumstances that impact the availability of household income, such as longer term loss of income, significant unreimbursed medical expenses, or support for elderly relatives outside the household, we will review those circumstances to see if there is an impact on the calculated family contribution.
Financial Aid terms explained
Assets: Your family’s financial worth, including real estate, businesses, stocks, bonds, and cash savings.
Income: Income used to calculate financial need includes all taxed and untaxed income.
College Board PROFILE: The financial aid application used to determine institutional eligibility for need-based aid.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount calculated by a federally mandated formula using informa- tion provided on the FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal aid.
Total Family Contribution (TFC): The amount calculated by an institutional formula using information provided on the PROFILE to determine eligibility for institutional aid.
Calculated Financial Need: The difference between college costs and your Total Family Contribution (TFC).
Financial Aid Online: A tool students can use to learn about their financial aid application, including the status of documents or their financial aid package. It also includes links to applications and forms. Financial Aid Online is separate from Mount Holyoke’s Student Information System (ISIS); we encourage students to share the log-in to Financial Aid Online with parents or guardians who are helping with the aid application process.
Grant: Financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Eligibility is usually based on calculated financial need.
Financial Aid Package/Financial Aid Award: The total financial aid offer that a college makes to a student. It consists of one or more types of aid such as grants, loans, and work-study.
Scholarship and Merit Awards: An award given on the basis of grades or other academic achievement rather than financial need. It does not have to be repaid.
Student Loans: Loans in the student’s name, generally deferred until the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. Subsidized student loans are interest free while the student is enrolled at least half time. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest while the student is enrolled.
Work-study: Part-time jobs, either on or off campus, that allow students to earn money for college expenses.