Some students worry that they cannot afford to be a resident assistant, that there are financial disadvantages for RAs who receive College aid. In fact, there are financial advantages for many students, (described below). No student should become an RA just for the money but no student should choose not to become a RA because of perceived financial disadvantages.
How will you be compensated for your work as an RA during the 2014-15 academic year?
For all RAs, aided or not, RA compensation for the 2014-15 academic year totals $6,950. Of this amount, $4,420 will appear as a credit on your College bill ($2,210 each semester); the remaining $2,530 will be paid to you directly through the student payroll ($1,265 each semester). As a rule, RA compensation replaces other self-help--the earning elements of our aid decision--but does not affect the amount of our scholarship. If, however, standard self-help elements are not a part of your award, your being an RA may affect our scholarship support.
Is the RA compensation taxable?
Yes, the compensation you receive for your work as an RA is considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service and must be reported on your federal income tax return, if you file. The $2,530 paid to you directly through student payroll will be reported on your Swarthmore College W2 wage statement form. The $4,420 credited directly to your College bill is not reported on your W2, and must be accounted for separately on your federal income tax return. See Swarthmore's Tax Guide (available each February) to see how this is done.
How is your financial aid award affected if you become an RA?
In the case of a "typical" financial aid award including a Swarthmore College Scholarship and self-help components (work), the self-help portion of your aid will be adjusted in order to make room for the RA compensation. Your being an RA does not affect our scholarship support to you.
Some aided students, however, do not have standard self-help components (work) in their financial aid awards. If this is your situation, your scholarship amount may be affected if you become an RA. Keep in mind, though, that your total financial aid will remain the same.