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Frequently Asked Questions for Students, Parents, and Families

We will continue to add additional information to this page as more information becomes available and as necessary.


Classes & Academic Schedule | Grading Procedures and Honors | Academic Resources and Support Services | Summer Research | Room and Board | Student Employment | Campus DiningResidence Halls and Campus Facilities | Health | Travel 


Classes & Academic Schedule

Will the academic calendar and related due dates change?

The revised academic calendar and new due dates for the spring 2020 semester will be as follows:

  • Advising | Monday, April 13 — Friday, April 24

  • Preregistration | Monday, April 27 — Wednesday, April 29

  • Course Withdrawal Deadline — Friday,  May 1

  • Classes End | Friday, May 1 (unchanged)

  • Lotteries | Thursday, April 30 — Tuesday, May 5

  • Drop/Add | Starts Wednesday, May 6

  • Finals Start | Thursday, May 7 — (unchanged)

Will the extra week of spring break affect Commencement? Will I be able to graduate on time?

This situation requires compressing course material in the remaining weeks of the semester; please see the answer to the above question for adjustments to the academic calendar. While commencement ceremonies cannot proceed as usual this year, we are committed to developing a creative virtual alternative to this year’s ceremony.

Will class schedules change with distance learning?

Classes will be held at their regularly scheduled times, but not necessarily for the same length of time or contact hours. For smaller classes, your faculty member might contact you to hold class at a different time after the first week of classes. A course will not be rescheduled to a time slot that was already reserved for another regularly scheduled class. No student should be dropping a class because another faculty member has rescheduled a class. Your faculty are working to observe previously scheduled class meeting times.

What if I cannot participate in class because of time zone constraints?

Every student cannot be expected to participate in all live presentations due to time zone or other constraints, so your faculty are encouraged to also provide you with a recorded version of every class meeting.


Grading Procedures and Honors

How will grading procedures work this spring 2020 semester?

The College has moved to a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) semester for all students, with the option of uncovering grades at the semester’s conclusion.

This is a modification of a current Swarthmore policy for Credit/No Credit work. Grades for all courses completed during the Spring 2020 semester will be recorded as CR/NC and will not count against the four credits students may optionally elect as CR/NC after the first semester of students’ first year. This includes all courses completed at other institutions and for other programs that were preapproved by the Office of Off-Campus Study. 

In this model, based on our current policy for first-semester first-year students, faculty will award letter grades that will remain unseen on the transcript. As the grades come in, students (and faculty) will be able to see them, but they will be converted to CR or NC on the official transcript unless the student opts out of the CR/NC policy and wishes to have some or all of the grades uncovered. We strongly advise students to consult with their advisers before deciding to uncover some grades but not others. 

How long will students have to decide whether to uncover their grades?

Students (except spring semester graduating seniors) will have until the end of the second week of the following semester to uncover their grades; for spring semester graduating seniors, the deadline to uncover the underlying shadow letter grade is the Tuesday prior to commencement. We strongly advise students to consult with their advisers before deciding to uncover some grades but not others.

How will D grades and NC grades be handled? 

For this Spring 2020 semester all grades of D- and above will remain covered unless a student chooses to uncover them. A course earning NC (No Credit) will receive NC on the transcript and not receive degree credit.

How will exams and final projects be evaluated?

Faculty will define their form of evaluation individually for midterms, final exams, and/or final projects. Needless to say, we trust that you will uphold our expectations for Academic Honesty and Integrity as they are laid out in our Student Handbook. Faculty will be very clear about the expectations they have for your assignments/exams/etc., and they might ask you to close each paper, assignment, or exam with their promise to have observed academic honesty in the completion of the project.

Will distance learning impact the honors program?

The College is fully committed to giving students the opportunity to complete their senior Honors work and their Swarthmore education. The director of the Honors Program, Grace Ledbetter, will continue to be in touch with seniors in the Honors Program to assure that they are able to complete their Honors work and to assist with getting students any materials they need. The written and oral exams will be conducted remotely during the scheduled written and oral exam periods. Details will follow. Examiners will be informed of the disruptions that have occurred. Please feel free to contact Grace Ledbetter at


Academic Resources and Support Services

Can I reach out to faculty members with additional questions?

Departments and programs will reach out to you directly, but do not hesitate to contact department chairs, program coordinators, and department and program administrative assistants should you need any other information. They look forward to assisting you in returning to our virtual campus for the rest of the semester. Many have shared messages that you will find here.

I need assistance with preregistration, transcripts, honors, CR/NC grades, or course withdrawal. Who should I contact?

The Registrar’s Office can help with preregistration, honors, transcripts, the CR/ NC policy, and Course Withdrawal. Email and/or look for answers to many questions at

How can I find out who my student dean is?

Every student has an assigned student dean. (See degree audit in mySwarthmore for information.) Student deans remain available by email or video conference for consultation and academic support.

I don’t have a reliable internet connection or computer at home, or I need some other assistance with my remote learning setup. Who should I contact?

Information Technology Services has been at work since the beginning of this crisis to ensure a seamless transition to remote learning. ITS has a page of resources dedicated exclusively to students. You can be in touch with ITS for advice/consultation at or 610-328-8513.

I need assistance with disability accommodations. Who can I contact?

For questions about disability accommodations, please contact Director of Student Disability Services Monica Vance at

How can I arrange for a tutor?

For information on tutoring and tutor requests, please visit the tutoring page.

How will the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility operate this semester?

The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and the Center for Innovation and Leadership have provided information on how they plan to operate through the spring semester. 

How can I access course materials and other digital academic resources?

The Libraries remain dedicated as partners in achieving your academic goals. The librarians are here to help you find materials including textbooks and reserves, generate ideas for a project, and discover and access research sources.  Additional detailed information is linked from the Libraries homepage in the Library Services for Online Distance Learning.

Library Resources:

  • Search Research Guides for DIY help in finding resources.

  • To request a digital version of a physical item, use the form linked in the Tripod record.

  • The library will attempt to acquire an ebook or streamed-video version for you. 

  • Unsure how to access these resources from off campus? This document will guide you.

  • Many Film & Video Collection materials are available for streaming.

The Swarthmore Campus & Community Store has also provided an exceptional program to ensure that students have access to the materials they need to succeed in their courses.


Summer Research

How will the current situation impact my summer research plans?

Given the complexity of both the current situation and the endless nuances of summer experiences, a committee has been formed to evaluate and make recommendations on how to move forward with a variety of summer research and summer programs. This group will also evaluate how we will manage options for students seeking on-campus housing during the summer.  To this end, we will be reevaluating over the next month and we hope to have more information about if and how we move forward with summer programming by May 1.  


Room and Board

Will I get a credit for room and board fees?

Students who departed campus prior to the end of the extended Spring Break on March 20th will receive a credit on their student account for the prorated portion of their family's contribution to room and board charges. Students who have been approved to remain on campus for the semester will continue to have room and board services from the College for as long as they remain on campus and therefore will not receive a credit while staying on campus.

How much will this credit be?

In accordance with the timing of the move to remote learning, we will provide a room and board credit based on 50% of the semester's room and board fees. Depending on the amount a family has contributed to the room and board charges, this credit can be up to $4,022. Regardless of the amount a family has contributed towards the cost of attending Swarthmore this semester, the amount of this credit will be no lower than $1,959. This means that a fully aided student who paid no fees to the College and who departed campus prior to March 20 will still receive $1,959 to offset food, housing, and other costs incurred as a result of the move to remote learning.

How has my credit been calculated?

Credits for room and board have been calculated based on the level of Swarthmore Scholarship received by a student this semester. If a student is not aided, the student will receive a 50% credit back on room and board charges. If a student received a Swarthmore Scholarship in Spring 2020 of up to $27,128, the student receives a 25% credit on room and a 50% credit on board charges. For students with Swarthmore Scholarship greater than $27,128 the student is eligible for a 50% board credit, but not for a room credit. 


Room Credit

Board Credit

Total Credit

Non-Aided $2,063 $1,959 $4,022
Swarthmore Scholarship up to $27,128 $1,031 $1,959 $2,990
Swarthmore Scholarship greater than $27,128 $0 $1,959 $1,959
When, and how, will I receive this credit?

Credits were posted to your student account on Monday, March 30.

Once the credit has been posted to your account, we will follow up with you to ask you to  choose one of the following options. 

  • Leave all or a portion of the credit balance on your account toward payment for the 2020-21 academic year,
  • Receive a check or electronic payment for all or a portion of your  credit balance, or
  • Make a tax-deductible contribution for all or a portion of the credit balance to support Swarthmore College.

Please note that if you have an outstanding balance on your account, this credit will first be applied against that balance.

What if I want a refund but don’t have a bank account on file?

We will issue a refund check to you and mail it to your permanent address. This option will take longer than the direct payment to your bank account.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions about your credit balance, please contact the Office of Student Accounts at, as the office staff are working remotely to continue to support our students’ needs.

How can I request an appointment to collect items and move out from my Spring 2020 room?

At this time, we are not able to process additional reservations for move-out. We anticipate that students will be able to reserve move-out dates as soon as the stay-at-home order is lifted and the College can safely support move-out operations. This will be no earlier than May 1, 2020, and the order may be extended past this time. Please do not make any travel plans until you receive an official confirmation from the College that you have been approved to return for move-out. We will begin accepting move-out reservations as soon as possible. 

Can I leave my things in my dorm room during the summer?

The College is considering a number of options to help students safely collect their items and/or store them for the summer. We are exploring a wide range of possible approaches and will keep you updated with more definite plans once we know more about when the stay-at-home order will be lifted.

I am not sure if I can travel during the summer to move-out.

If you are a returning student, the College will assist you in identifying the best option for you to collect your items. This might include returning to pack up your items, having a friend pack up your room, utilizing a third-party vendor to pack and ship your items, or having your items stored on campus.  

If you are a graduating senior, we will work with you individually to find an appropriate day or time to collect your items, or will work with you to identify packing and shipping options. More information will be available after the stay-at-home order is lifted. 

How can I apply for summer housing?

The College is not currently accepting applications for Summer 2020 housing. The Office of Student Engagement is working closely with campus partners, including the Provost’s Office, the Lang Center, Career Services, and Auxiliary Services to discuss options for students participating in summer projects or research. More information about summer housing availability will be shared no later than May 1, 2020. 

Is the Fall Housing Lottery taking place? How do I select a room for the Fall 2020 semester?

The Fall Housing Lottery will be postponed until after spring move-out. All room selections will take place remotely and students should expect to receive additional information about Fall housing options after May 25th, 2020. At this time, returning students do not need to do anything related to room selection.

Can I live in my current room during the Fall 2020 semester?

The College has received requests from students interested in living in their current rooms in the Fall. We are looking into this option and will share additional information about this process closer to the Fall Housing Lottery. 


Student Employment

Will work-aided students be compensated for lost wages from this semester?

Yes. All work-aided students will receive a base pay regardless of whether they can continue to work remotely for the remainder of the semester (for more information on working remotely, read the Q&As below.) To arrive at the calculation of the payment, we used the median hours that each work-aided student worked in hourly positions so far during the 2019-20 academic year. The calculated payment represents an amount equivalent to what would have been earned during the four remaining pay periods for the year.

I work in a residential position and received a stipend payment. Will I receive an additional payment?

No. Stipend payments for residential positions are not included in this calculation as those payments were made in full earlier in the semester.

How were the potential lost earnings of campus-based employment calculated?

For work aided students, the College calculated the median earnings (per pay period) for each student beginning the first pay period of the academic year of September 6, 2019 (work period beginning 8/11).  Four pay periods remain in the spring 2020 semester, post the extended two-week Spring Break. Because many work-aided students will not be able to work on campus during these four pay periods, each student’s determined median pay period earnings prior to Spring Break were multiplied by four to arrive at an equitable calculation.  Earnings during Spring Break were not included in the median calculation.​​​​​

Why didn’t the College use average earnings instead of median earnings to calculate potential lost earnings?  

The College calculated pay periods by average earnings and median earnings and found that using median earnings advantaged a greater number of students.  Using median pay better corrects for a few very high or very low pay periods.

I was away during the first semester. How was my payment calculated?

The calculation was somewhat different for work-aided students who were not on campus during the first semester. For you, the calculation used the hours worked this semester so far. 

What if I didn’t hand in my timesheets from earlier on in the year because I was counting on a huge year-end payment as I have enjoyed in the past?  Those payments would not be included in the median calculation. What do I do? 

We will consider adjustments for timesheets not turned in by the required due dates only after we receive the approval of the President Staff member for the area where the hours were worked. Your supervisor will need to secure this approval, along with an explanation as to why the hours were not submitted on time.

I was approved to remain in campus housing for the remainder of the semester. Can I work on campus? 

No, students are not permitted to work on campus during this period of modified operations. On-campus students are eligible to work in remote jobs with proper approvals as described below.

I have a job that can be performed remotely. Can I continue to work? 

Please check with your supervisor. As noted below, if your job is considered to be essential to fulfilling the College’s academic mission and can be performed remotely, your supervisor may grant you permission to continue in your job. This applies to both work-aided and non-aided students. If you are a work-aided student who is approved to work remotely, your pay will be in addition to the base payment mentioned above.

I do not currently have a job that can be done remotely, but I am interested in doing so . How do I find out about such job openings?

Certain positions that can be performed remotely and are essential to fulfilling the College's academic mission may be posted and filled upon recommendation of supervisors with the approval of the relevant member of the President’s Staff. Such positions will be available to work-aided and non-work-aided students. Any hours worked in these approved positions will be paid as timesheets are submitted and approved in accordance with the College’s student bi-weekly payroll schedule. These payments will be made in addition to the one-time payment described above. Student employment will provide additional guidance on this process in the coming days.

How do I get more information about student employment?

Please contact the Student Employment Office for more information at

Campus Dining

What will the dining options be between now and the end of the semester?

The College will provide students who must remain on campus access to meals at Sharples on a limited basis. All meals in Sharples will be served directly to guests. For now, all meals will be take out as mandated by the Governor's orders. Sharples will be closed between each meal period to clean and sanitize the facility.

Sharples dining hours from Monday, April 6 through the remainder of the spring semester (please note these hours are subject to change) 

Monday through Friday 
Breakfast: at Essie Mae’s from 8–10 a.m. Pre-set options, meal swipe. 
Lunch: 11:30  a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 5–7 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday
Brunch: 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Dinner: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Essie Mae’s: Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–1 p.m. All items will be take out only.
Kohlberg: Closed through May 31
Science Center Cafe: Closed through May 31

Will I still be able to use my meal plan during this period of modified operations? 

Please see the response to “As a student, can I stay on campus through the remainder of the semester?” below. 


Residence Halls and Campus Facilities

I wasn’t planning to be gone for an extended period of time, and I need some of my belongings from my residence hall. Can you send them to me?

We will work to find solutions to get personal effects returned to students. Please bear with us as we focus our energies now on ensuring that all students are in a safe place for the remainder of the semester. That must be our top priority.

As a student, can I stay on campus through the remainder of the semester?

Students should either remain home or return home now if at all possible. We remain committed to ensuring that students who need to stay on campus can stay here; at the same time, we will do everything within our power to help students who wish to move elsewhere get there. Please note: OneCard access has been shut off to any student who is not currently on campus.

If I receive permission to stay on campus, can I have guests? 

No. During the extended spring break and remote-learning weeks, the residence halls will have a no-guest policy. This means that individuals who are not students at the College will not be allowed inside the residence halls, without explicit permission to be on campus. 

Will the Matchbox remain open? 

Due to guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health that facilities in Delaware County, including gyms, should close in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Matchbox will be closed until further notice. 

Will The Inn at Swarthmore and Broad Table Tavern maintain normal operations?

The Inn at Swarthmore will remain open for guest stays and bookings, but will be closed to public access.  On March, 16, Governor Tom Wolf  ordered all restaurants and bars in Delaware County to close their dine-in facilities for 14 days effective Monday, March 16 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As such, the Broad Table Tavern will be limited to carry-out service only, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please reach out directly to the with any questions.

Will the Swarthmore Campus and Community Store remain open?

In keeping with the College’s commitment to social distancing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, the Swarthmore Campus & Community Store will be closed to the public until further notice. College departments needing items that are essential to support current modified operation should email



I am immunocompromised and worried about remaining on campus. What support can the College provide?

If you have reason to believe you may be especially susceptible to the coronavirus, please contact the Worth Health and Wellness Center at 610-328-8058 during regular business hours or the on-call nurse at 610-328-8548 after hours. We will work closely with students to discuss how they can best protect against the spread of disease.



I need to make changes to my travel plans. Who from the College can assist me?

Please contact your assigned dean or the Office of Student Engagement for assistance.

I had to change my travel plans, which resulted in additional fees. Will the College help pay those? 

Several airlines are waiving fees for changes related to COVID-19. If you are unsuccessful in recovering those costs by working with your respective airlines, the College will work to reimburse those fees. If your financial circumstances prevent you from returning home, please contact the Dean of Students Division at 610-328-8365 to discuss how the College can best support you.

I just returned to campus, and now I have to travel home again. Can the College provide any financial assistance? 

If you’ve already returned to campus from spring break-related activities and now need to return home, in certain circumstances the College may provide financial assistance to help with those travel arrangements. please contact the Dean of Students Division at 610-328-8365 to discuss how the College can best support you.