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From the Dean

Fall 2022

Jim Bock, Swarthmore Class of 1990Dear Colleague,

I send you greetings from Swarthmore College. We are looking forward to connecting with colleagues in person again. 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, we can’t wait to see folks again. Please feel free to call, write, or email me ( if you have questions or comments.

We remain committed to increasing access and removing barriers for underserved students. When we first announced our test-optional policy, we committed to analyzing the data to determine the future of standardized testing in the Swarthmore admissions process. While our first class to be admitted under a test-optional policy is now on campus, we cannot make a data-informed decision without conducting a longitudinal study.  Our credit/no credit first semester system means that we need more time to study the relationship between standardized testing and long-term student success. Swarthmore will remain test optional for the 2022-2023, 2023-2024, and 2024-2025 application cycles. 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 2022-2023 academic year is $57,720 toward the asking price of $77,354 and 52% 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. Our policy is to offer loan-free need-based awards for all students receiving grant aid at Swarthmore. 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, or attending campus events or through our Textbook Affordability Program where all students will receive a $750 annual allowance for required course materials as part of tuition charges. Swarthmore College enters our 17th year as a QuestBridge partner for the 2022-2023 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