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From the Dean

Fall 2020

Jim Bock, Swarthmore Class of 1990Dear Colleague:
I send you greetings from Swarthmore College. We are looking forward to connecting with many of you at virtual school visits and professional conferences, or — when circumstances allow — 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 realize many schools around the world continue to experience disruptions as a result of the public health crisis. Our regional deans are here to help. We want you to know that we will work with prospective students and applicants to ensure that they are able to apply to Swarthmore, regardless of circumstances.

We are committed to increasing access and removing barriers for underserved students. For students applying to Swarthmore in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 admissions cycles, we have suspended our requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores. Students will have the option to submit scores to us, and they will have the option for us to not consider scores already submitted. Test scores for the next two years are optional, and students who either did not take a test or choose not to share results with us will not be penalized in the admissions process.

We have added two additional options to our supplemental essay with an eye towards access.  In the absence of a personal visit, we encourage your students to take advantage of our robust virtual options to learn more about Swarthmore.

The average financial aid award for the Class of 2023 for the 2019-2020 academic year was $56,326 toward last year’s asking price of $70,744. We still offer loan-free need-based awards for all students receiving grant aid at Swarthmore. 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. Starting this year, all students now receive a $700 allowance for required course materials as part of tuition charges. We also revised our financial aid decision letter to make it more clear and easy to understand. Swarthmore College enters our 15th year as a QuestBridge partner for the 2020-2021 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. If your travels bring you to our suburban Philadelphia campus, we would be delighted to meet with you. Our regional deans look forward to working with you and your students.


James L. Bock ‘90
Vice President and Dean of Admissions