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From the Dean

Fall 2023

Jim Bock, Swarthmore Class of 1990Dear Colleague,

Greetings from Swarthmore College. We are looking forward to connecting with you as we embark on another academic year. Whether that’s while on the road at school visits and attending professional conferences, or on Swarthmore’s beautiful 425-acre arboretum campus just 11 miles outside of Philadelphia. Please feel free to call, write, or email me if you have questions or comments.

We are aware that the landscape of college admissions has changed due to the Supreme Court ruling on race-conscious admissions. Swarthmore will continue our holistic application review process that takes a student’s full lived experience into account, however, we will do so without regard to race. I echo President Valerie Smith’s recent address to the Swarthmore community that we will continue to lean into our mission and, “will persist in fostering a diverse, inclusive community.” We also remain committed to increasing access and navigating barriers for students.

Swarthmore will remain test optional for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 application cycles while we continue our longitudinal study of the practice. Students will have the option to submit scores to us, and they will have the option for us to not consider scores already submitted. Students who either did not take a test or choose not to share results with us will not be penalized in the admissions process.

The average financial aid award for the 2022-23 academic year is $62,570 toward the billed cost of $77,354 and 51% of students receive financial aid. Students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, should not remove high-priced schools from their lists before taking a closer look at financial aid policies. Swarthmore’s financial aid is need-based. We provide loan-free grant aid that meet 100% of a student’s determined need — including undocumented and DACA students.

In addition to financial aid, students will continue to find support through their time on campus, whether through our cash-free campus policy which means no additional fees for things like laundry, printing, lab classes, or attending campus events or through our Textbook Affordability Program where all students will receive a $790 allowance for required course materials as part of tuition charges. New this year, all students will receive a free SEPTA Key — a pass to take public transportation in and around the region and the City of Philadelphia.

Swarthmore College enters our 18th year as a QuestBridge partner for the 2023-24 academic year, and we also continue to read applications from all undocumented and DACA students on a need-blind basis for both first-year and transfer admission. We hope you will remind your students that we have a long-standing commitment to provide financial aid to all students whose potential family resources fall short of our charges.

Please let us know how we might participate in any special programs or workshops at your school or organization, and how we can continue to strengthen our relationships with you and your students. Our regional deans look forward to working with you and your students.


James L. Bock ’90

Vice President and Dean of Admissions