Understanding Your Financial Aid Package

Musicians inside Lang Concert Hall

Swarthmore’s Financial Aid Office reviews your family’s total financial situation and then calculates a fair and reasonable contribution from you and your parents. The general need-analysis policies and procedures of the College Scholarship Service (CSS) give us some guidance in our decisions concerning Swarthmore support.

There are several potential financial contribution sources that we consider as part of calculating your financial aid package: the parents’ contribution, the student’s contribution, contributions from savings or other assets, and contributions from other sources. This summary helps describe how Swarthmore calculates your financial aid package.

Parents’ Contribution

We measure your parents’ ability to contribute toward the cost of your Swarthmore education by reviewing statements of their income (from all sources) and their asset strength. Normal demands on family resources, such as costs for maintaining a family your size (housing, food, clothes, transportation, medical, etc.) and taxes, are considered. We also consider the number of your siblings who are undergraduates, the actual costs of their educations, the cost of living in your area, your parents’ ages, and how many years they can work before retirement. If parents are not together (whether they are separated, divorced, or were never married), we measure each parent’s ability separately. Unusual circumstances, such as the loss of a job or illness, etc., may influence our decision and therefore should be reported and explained to us.

Student’s Contribution

We expect that you will work during each summer and save at least $2,000 for your first year, then $2,500 for subsequent years to help with your Swarthmore expenses. In addition, 25 percent of your savings or other assets will be expected as a contribution each year. Students who receive veterans’ benefits will be expected to contribute those funds toward Swarthmore costs.

While the College cannot increase its scholarship funds if your summer earnings fall short of our expectations for any reason (whether because you cannot find a job, you cannot save enough, you choose not to work, or you are unable to work), you may be able to fill in the gap by borrowing through the federal Direct Stafford Loan Program or by working more during the academic year.

Please note that we assume that your parents are providing for your room and board for the four months of the year you are not on campus. If you do not live with them, our assessment of their fair contribution to your Swarthmore expenses is thus less than it might have been.

From Savings or Other Assets

All assets you hold (whether or not they are liquid) are expected to be available for college costs. The amount we expect you to contribute for the coming year is 25 percent of your asset strength as reported in your family financial statements. Please note that parents’ assets held in your siblings’ or your name should, for Swarthmore purposes, be reported as belonging to your parents.

Other Sources

Other sources may include federal Social Security educational benefits, veterans’ benefits, or tuition grants from parents’ employers.