Updates for Current Students

Campus sunset over the mountain

Hampshire Board Decision on Admitting a Fall 2019 Class

Our Commitment to Student Life and Academics

Information for enrolled students and their families

updated February 8, 2019

Academics and Student Life

What will Hampshire look like year to year?

We plan to support you on your academic path until you graduate, even though we may have less funding and fewer resources. Since a Hampshire education is so highly individualized, we’re focused on your interests and how we can support you. We’re dedicated to providing the advising, learning activities, and resources you need in your field of study and across disciplines. Every student and every student group across academics and student life needs certain resources—and we’ll be evaluating ways to provide those or identify resources. Your ability to take courses and to work with mentors throughout the Five Colleges will continue as well.

If our concentration already has limited resources, will those resources disappear?

No. If you’re here, we’ll support you, regardless of what you’re studying. We’ve always had a history of programs where we didn’t have the depth of faculty on campus, and we often find those resources within the Five Colleges.

Will there continue to be student jobs on campus?

Yes. Work-study funds are federal funds. If we have to, we can move students from working in one office and have them work in another.

Can the College make a commitment that students will have faculty on their committees?

Yes. Our preference is for students to continue to work with their advisers and to try to maintain those relationships wherever possible. Every semester we have faculty who go on sabbatical or take leave. The academic/school deans meet to review faculty committee assignments every year. We’re used to having to adapt to changes to available faculty in matching students with advisers. We also have visiting faculty.

Some faculty were already overwhelmed as advisers. Will this worsen the problem?

This is something the academic/school deans and faculty will have to work hard on, to address those kinds of questions so we can ensure students can work with their preferred faculty advisers. One of the most important pieces of seeking a long-term partner is, we feel that our faculty and staff haven’t had the resources they need. They are underpaid and receive sparse professional development funds. As we look at the long view, we want to make sure they have sufficient resources and are appropriately compensated. We believe a partnership will help with that. These are things we’re trying to address in looking for strategic partner.

What's the status of financial aid next year?

Students can expect their financial aid package notification for school year 2019 - 2020 by the June 15 deadline if the financial aid application and supporting documents are in order. Our standards for deciding on the actual amount of the award will not change and will be based on the student’s CSS Profile (if required) and FAFSA. Therefore, if a student’s financial picture has not changed significantly, they can expect a similar financial aid package for the coming school year.

What happens to James Baldwin (JB) Scholars who are technically not matriculated until the fall?

JB Scholars who are currently here can matriculate if they have fulfilled the requirements. The JB committee will make that determination. The College will work to make sure we provide adequate supports.

Will we still have access to the Design Shop, Arts Barn, Media Studios, Farm Center, Knowledge Commons, etc.?

Those spaces are important for supporting current students and they are part of what makes Hampshire attractive and special to students. We hope to continue to support all those spaces. However, we don’t have an answer to exactly how this will play out. Spaces that are actively in use are likely to continue to be staffed and supported. Hampshire is going to change and has to change to survive, and that will impact infrastructure, staffing, services, and resources to a certain extent. No final decisions have been made yet in changes or reductions to student life or academic services. Our goal is to continue to provide staffing for students related to their student life and residence experience and their academic studies.

Will we still have student grants?

Yes. Student grants come from endowed funds that generate interest, which we use for the grant funding. Those grants will remain.

Over the next year, will students still be able to take courses and join student groups within the Five Colleges?


How will this affect PVTA bus service?

PVTA bus services will continue to be provided among the Five Colleges.

Will students still have access to meal plans?

Hampshire will continue to provide meal plans, though dining options may change.

Will students still have access to Health and Counseling Services?

Hampshire will continue to provide critical services on campus including health and counseling services, to ensure the welfare of our students. See our list of Campus Resources below.

Will residence halls close if there is no fall 2019 class? If so, which ones?

As the size of the student body declines, the College will likely consolidate students in certain residences, based on quality of living spaces and cost efficiencies.

What if I am on medical leave?

Each student's situation, as is the College's standard process, will be reviewed individually in April. Given the current uncertainty at the College, we will also need to consider a student's capacity to earn a Hampshire diploma by May 2022, along with input from the student about specific needs and expectations of campus-based resources. For more information please contact John Slepian Dean for Academic Support jsIA@hampshire.edu.

Decision to Admit a Small 2019 Class

Is this announcement a smokescreen for the College to downsize?

No. If we continue to operate as we’ve been operating the past five to ten years, everybody will lose their job. We’re taking this approach because we want to preserve Hampshire. We’re affected by the same pressures affecting many underresourced small colleges (and leading to the closing of some) that are dependent on tuition and don’t have large endowments—pressures such as declining enrollments and increased competition among colleges. We’re searching for a partner who will share our values. We want take care of our students, faculty, and staff. We know it’s unsettling and we’re trying to move forward in as caring a way as possible in considering the needs of our community.

How does admitting a smaller class reduce the financial stresses on the College when it means significantly less tuition revenue?

The Trustees considered a range of issues in making its decision to admit a small class, including: 1) Our obligation to the students whom we had already accepted. 2) The College’s accreditation with the New England Commission on Higher Education, NECHE, whose standards require that in enrolling new students into a four-year program, a college makes a promise to each student to teach them in the way that it advertised in its admissions materials. We must be confident we’re able to teach them through for four years.

How can we be confident about the College's future?

It’s difficult to know what Hampshire will look like in the future, but we’ve been proceeding following some core principles, including preserving our reputation and what is best about Hampshire, advancing our educational model, and looking out for the interests of students, staff, and faculty. The most likely path forward for Hampshire is though a long-term strategic partnership. We believe potential partners will be interested in Hampshire’s reputation and educational model. We all know Hampshire is among the most innovative colleges in the country, requiring students to pursue their passions by designing their own programs of study and recruiting a faculty committee to guide them. Our students become producers and creators of knowledge and are encouraged to make connections between their academic work and participation in the wider world. Supported by narrative evaluations from faculty, rather than grades, our model has been described as “graduate school for undergraduates,” with critical thinking the hallmark of our pedagogy. Since we opened in 1970, our success can be measured in the mainstreaming of many of our experimental ideas in education, and in our roster of alumni achievement. We hope to identify a strategic partner by the end of this semester and work with them over the next year, engaging our Hampshire community in that transition. We have a 50th anniversary in June 2020 and the hope is we’d move to a new model and maybe a new entity in summer or fall 2020.

When will we admit our next full class?

We’re hopeful we’ll be in a position to admit a full class a year from now, and that in five years and 50 years and beyond, Hampshire will still be operating as a place to get a degree.

Search for a Long-Term Strategic Partner

Can you announce who are the potential partners?

Most potential partners want to talk confidentially, at first. There are all kinds of partnership models and possibilities. We know we are attractive to partners who value our different educational model, as so much of education has become homogenized and inflexible. It’s our education model and our people that make Hampshire attractive.

Instead of a partnership, what would it take for Hampshire to remain independent?

Our goal is to find a path forward that is sustainable for Hampshire. We’ve aggressively studied how we can remain independent. Financially, the College has always been under-resourced. While our endowment is over $52million, many of our competitors have endowments close to or exceeding a billion dollars. Those colleges utilize interest from their endowment to support their annual operating budgets. We have not identified donors willing to donate tens of millions or hundreds of millions in unrestricted gifts to Hampshire that would allow us to operate sustainably.

Who will want to come to this school or partner with this school after this announcement?

The College has been trying to navigate the short-term challenges and long-term outlook, and it’s not easy to do both at the same time. Over its history, Hampshire has had years with enrollment of less than 1,000 students. What’s distinct is our model, and our strong reputation will, we believe, bring us through this transition. There’s a core element of a Hampshire education that we believe will always be valuable to students such as: our focus on interdisciplinary studies; our singular, student-driven program; and our divisional system culminating with a Division III year. These are just some of the core elements that we absolutely want to continue under a new partnership.

Did President Nelson know about the College's dire financial projections when she accepted the position last April?

President Nelson was acutely aware of the headwinds facing higher education and the challenges facing small colleges that are dependent on tuition for revenues but have small endowments. But a few weeks after accepting the position, Hampshire reported new enrollment and yield numbers revealing the College would significantly miss its projections for how many students would enroll in fall 2018. Still, she said she did not once rethink her decision to join and lead Hampshire. President Nelson spent her first months getting to know the campus community and alums across the country. She began the fall semester working closely with the Board and others to explore the strategic options that would achieve long-term impact for the College and its people. It became clear at the Board of Trustees meeting in October that the Board and the senior leadership team needed to quickly develop strategic options toward achieve a sustainable future.

Financial Aid

Can I expect to continue receiving financial aid?

There are no plans to change the current financial aid resources for returning students.

  • Students can already apply for aid for 2019-2020 using the FAFSA and CSS Profile. They should check TheHub for a list of documents specific to their situation.
  • The due date is May 1, 2019, but completing the application process earlier is always best. Some students may see a change to aid based on changes to their family's income, assets, or number of family members in college as reported on the FAFSA and CSS Profile. This works both ways: if a student becomes more eligible, they will see their aid increase. If they become less eligible, they will see a reduction to their aid.
  • Financial aid staff are available to answer your questions. Please call our main number 413.559.5484.
  • Work study jobs will remain available to students.

Continuity of Education

Will I get advising and faculty support to complete my studies, including my Div III?

Students will have the support, guidance, and resources they need to follow their academic path, including advisement and completion for their Div III projects, even if there are reductions in faculty for the academic year 2019-2020.

  • Students will have the advisors they need in their field of study.
  • There will be sufficient classes for current students.
  • Academic deans, including the dean of advising and deans from the five schools, are working to make sure that each student’s education will continue uninterrupted by potential faculty and staff changes.
  • The model for a Hampshire education will be the same for all enrolled students through graduation: small, interdisciplinary classes with personalized attention and mentoring from faculty.

Career Counseling

Can I still get help securing a job or internship?

The Career Options Resource Center will continue to support Hampshire students in finding jobs and internships. We will work closely with our alum network to connect students to professional mentors and opportunities.

Study Abroad and Exchanges

Will there continue to be off-campus or study-abroad opportunities?

Hampshire remains committed to global educational opportunities for our students. The Global Education Office (GEO) continues to support all students studying abroad for spring 2019, either through Exchange or Field Study, and is committed to running the GEO short-term field courses for summer 2019. Students considering off-campus study for fall 2019 and beyond should consult the Global Education Office and their academic committee for possible options.

Dining Services

Hampshire will continue to provide its normal farm-to-table meals at the dining commons.

Campus Resources for Students

Questions on residence and student life, contact the Office of the Dean of Students: deanofstudents@hampshire.edu

P.E.E.R.S. (People who are Empowering Empathetic Reliable Supporters)

  • Wellness Center PEERS office (2nd Floor Wellness Center, Enfield House), Sunday-Thursday, 6-8pm
  • Dakin PEERS office (Dakin House, J Basement), Sunday-Thursday, 4-6pm
  • Questions or appointments:  peerchaplains@hampshire.edu

Current students with questions about academics, contact

Health and Counseling Services and on call counseling provide students with 24/7 access to emotional and mental health support with licensed therapists: 413.559.5458; healthservices@hampshire.edu

Mental Health Concerns on Weekends and Evenings: Call Health and Counseling Services at 413.559.5458, option 1.


Should I transfer? What do I need to know?

This is a personal decision for every student and their families. While Hampshire is committed to supporting your educational goals, we understand some students may consider transferring. As you make this decision, please communicate with an advisor and a dean in CASA, who can guide you in accessing the resources to inform your decision. We are recommending that colleges consider Hampshire classes successfully completed and evaluated at four credits.

Transferring classes to other institutions is generally seamless. The Central Records Office is here to help if other institutions have questions about your transcript. Students and parents should first refer to this webpage to find information on Hampshire transcripts, in particular the "transcript explanation and key" that accompanies all the transcripts we send out. This key includes a summary of our academic program and our credit recommendation.

* Current students with questions about academics: please email dof@hampshire.edu

Email List for Parents and Families

Parents and families, if we don't have your current email address or you previously unsubscribed from Hampshire emails, please contact family@hampshire.edu and we'll add you to the list. We will update our database as quickly as possible.

Webinar for Parents and Families

On January 19, 2019, President Nelson and senior staff held a webinar with parents and families:


Strategic Partnership FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
In reference to Hampshire announcing January 15, 2019 its intent to find a long-term partner to achieve a thriving and sustainable future.
Read FAQ
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Office of the President
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002