Programs and Resources

A Rubin Scholar and mentor share ideas

A reception for the Richard Rubin Scholars allows an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to connect and share ideas in a social setting.

Swarthmore College is committed to working with first-generation and low-income students. 

The work of the First in Family Initiatives are highly collaborative in nature and we welcome our campus partners to lend their expertise in support of first-generation students.

Before You Arrive 

Swarthmore realizes that making a decision on where to spend your college/university career is going to be one the hardest and most important decisions of your life. Therefore, Swarthmore is committed to making sure you know how you'll be supported as a Swarthmore student. 

Discover Swarthmore

Each fall, we host a few hundred students on campus to explore life at Swarthmore. The weekend is an all-expenses-paid trip to the College, with preference given to students from traditionally underrepresented groups, students who are the first in their family to attend college, and students from low-income backgrounds. Learn more about Discover Swarthmore.

Swatlight

Each spring, we host an all-expenses-paid trip to Swarthmore for admitted students from low-income backgrounds, student who are first in their family to attend college, and students working with community-based organizations.  

Fees

Application fee waivers are available to students for whom the fee would pose a financial hardship and we automatically waive enrollment deposits for qualified students. In addition, undocumented and DACA-eligible first-year and transfer students are evaluated in a need-blind admissions process and, if offered admissions, their financial need is met with loan-free financial aid awards, as with all students.

Academic Support

Everyone at Swarthmore is on an intellectual journey. Therefore, the First in Family (FIF) Team partners with the academic deans to bring together several programs that help to define what academic success at Swarthmore looks like.

Academic Workshops

We work individually and with groups of students on achieving their personal academic goals. Topics often include time management, reading strategies, how to participate effectively in class, study skills, test-taking strategies, finding an academic major, or taking time off from school. Sessions are tailored to your needs and help you discover strategies that work best for your particular learning style and goals. Learn more from the Office of Learning Resources

Student Academic Mentor Workshops

Student Academic Mentors (SAMs) are upper-class students specially selected and trained to help students develop and sustain effective learning skills. Each SAM is assigned to a residential hall and mentors a small number of students individually. SAMs also offer workshops throughout the year on academic skills and provide specific information on time management, reading, note-taking, test-taking, course selection, and accessing resources as well as encouragement and general advice. More about SAMs

Off-Campus Study

Domestic and international programs cost the same to students, so low-income students do not necessarily need to choose from low-cost programs. We also provide additional funding for plane tickets, meals, and local transportation abroad. 

Textbook Lending Library

To help students save money, the Library has created a collection of course books donated by Swarthmore students for Swarthmore students.  Books from this collection have a guaranteed loan period of one semester rather than the usual two-hour loan period.  See Donna Fournier in Underhill Library, Lang Music Building for more information. 

Mentoring/Professional Development

Financial Aid Workshop

The Financial Aid Office shares information on how to fill out the FAFSA and navigate the complicated process. 

Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program

Now in its 12th year, the Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program's fundamental objective is to advance the academic, inter-personal, social, and professional success of Swarthmore College students who are from low-income, disadvantaged backgrounds, and/or first-generation students attending college. More about the Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program

Career Services Open House

Career Services hosts an open house just for first-generation/low income students every semester. 

Internship Funding

Instead of having to choose a paid internship over non-profit or community work, students can apply for internship funding from the College, enabling all students to choose internships that interest them.

Community & Identity Development

Cash-Free Campus

Movie nights, laundry, printing, and athletic events are free to all students.

First in Family Community Gathering

Held in the fall semester, this is our opening lunch where students network with faculty and staff who also identify as first-generation.

First in Family Panel

Held in the spring semester, several first-generation staff and faculty connect with students to share stories and strategies through roundtable and panel discussions.