Financing Options & Loans

Student walking under yellow ginkgo tree

Financing Options

Students who wish to defer all or part of their Swarthmore costs may be interested in long-term, low-interest educational loans, a monthly payment plan, or work opportunities. All families, whether receiving other grant support from the College or meeting all College costs on their own, may use one or more of these programs. We provide more details about the types of financing options in our Financing Options Pamphlet [pdf].

Monthly Payment Plan

The Swarthmore College Payment Plan provides a flexible, interest-free monthly payment option for tuition, room, board, and fees. The program enrollment takes place each semester with three options for the duration of the plan. The first installment payment (plus a $35 application fee) is due at the time of enrollment. Students with past-due account balances may not be eligible for participation.

For the fall semester, you may enroll beginning May 1. Participants are encouraged to join prior to June 1 to achieve the lowest monthly payment. For the spring semester, you may enroll beginning Oct. 1 and are encouraged to join prior to Nov. 1.

Enrollment for the Payment Plan is available via the Student Accounts website.

Loans

Federal Loan Entrance Counseling

If you have not previously received a Direct Loan, the federal government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming.

Entrance counseling may be completed online. Login is required using the borrower’s personal identifying information as well as an FSA ID. View instructions about how to create an FSA ID.  

A guided information session about federal loans will be held during the third day of orientation.

Before your Federal Direct Loan is credited to your account, we are required by the federal government to inform you, the borrower, of the terms of your loan, repayment, and interest rate information, as well as provide you with resources to keep track of your loan amounts.

This orientation session encourages students to ask questions before problems arise and to practice financial planning while at Swarthmore, and introduces them to financial aid office personnel.

Students are welcome to schedule individual appointments in regard to specific questions. However, financial literacy events are held a few times each semester covering a variety of general money topics including loan repayment and budgeting.

Contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions.

Federal Direct Loan (for students)

View instructions for how to apply for a Federal Direct Loan. Using your FSA ID, complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on the studentloans.gov website. Tell us the amount you wish to borrow using this online form.

Direct Student Loans borrowed for the 2016–17 academic year will have a fixed rate of 3.76 percent for the life of the loan, regardless of whether they are subsidized or unsubsidized.

The maximum annual loan amounts are: $5,500 for first-years, $6,500 for sophomores, and $7,500 for juniors and seniors.

Subsidized loan eligibility is need-based and determined by the information on your FAFSA. The U.S. Treasury subsidizes the interest while you are enrolled or in deferment.

Unsubsidized loan eligibility is not need-based. Interest will accrue during your enrollment and will continue until the loan is paid in full. If you allow interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized and added to the loan principal for repayment once you leave school. You may choose to pay the interest on your unsubsidized loan during your enrollment instead.

Repayment obligation begins six months after you are no longer enrolled and may take up to 10 years (or up to 20 years if you consolidate your loans and repay on an income-contingent basis).

You may choose income-contingent or income-based repayment plans, which ensures that your repayment amount will always be affordable, based on what your income will allow. Students who consolidate their loans and choose an income-contingent repayment plan may be able to repay over a period of 20 years.

Interest payments may be tax-deductible.

A student who enters into public service employment can have any remaining balance on Federal Direct Loans forgiven after 10 years of repayment while in public service work.

Federal regulations require two equal loan disbursements. Your loan funds arrive at the College by electronic funds transfer and are credited to your student account, half for the fall semester and half for the spring semester. Federal funds cannot be disbursed until the first day of class each semester.

The U.S. Department of Education will deduct a 1.069 percent administrative fee from each disbursement in 2016–17. Please note, this fee is determined after legislative action by Congress annually, and rates are set each year in October.

Federal Loan Exit Counseling

Exit counseling may be completed online. Login is required using the borrower’s personal identifying information as well as an FSA ID. View instructions on how to create an FSA ID.

Before any student who has borrowed leaves the College, we are required to offer an informational session providing resources for specific loan questions.

We are prepared to offer specific and detailed guidance in regard to your specific situation and questions.

An online session through the federal website allows you to view the current loan amount, interest rate, and accrued amount, as well as create different budgeting scenarios for planning and decision making. We also encourage our seniors to meet individually with the Financial Aid Office to address any unique concerns. Appointments can be scheduled throughout the year and even as an alum.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan (for parents)

View instructions for how to apply for a federal Direct PLUS loan.

PLUS loans borrowed for the 2016–17 academic year have a fixed interest rate of 6.31 percent for the life of the loan.

A parent may borrow up to the full cost of education each year, less any financial aid offered to their student.

Repayment obligation begins as soon as the loan is disbursed, while the student is still enrolled.

Interest may be tax-deductible.

There is no penalty for early repayment or payoff.

Federal regulations require two equal loan disbursements. Your loan funds arrive at the College by electronic funds transfer. Half the funds are credited to your student’s account for the fall semester and half for the spring semester. Federal funds cannot be disbursed until the first day of class each semester.

The U.S. Department of Education will deduct a 4.276 percent administrative fee from each disbursement for 2016–17. Please note, this fee is determined after legislative action by Congress annually, and rates are set each year in October.

If the parent applies for and is denied a PLUS loan because of an adverse credit history, the student may borrow an additional Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan (up to $4,000 for first-years and sophomores, and up to $5,000 for juniors and seniors).

Calculators, repayment information, and budgeting tools

Student Loans is a federal government site. Login is required using the borrower’s personal identifying information as well as an FSA ID. View instructions about how to create an FSA ID.

You Can Deal With It is a free site provided by American Education Services that houses helpful repayment and budgeting information.