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Access and Aid

Increasing access and aid to low-income college students and determining the value of a college degree are two of the most significant issues facing higher education. Swarthmore’s commitment to access and aid is longstanding and profound, but the College is now redoubling its efforts to expand access and affordability. The College’s efforts also include several new initiatives and enhanced partnerships aimed at recruiting low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students.

Financial Aid Commitment

The College has offered admission without regard to a family’s financial need since at least the mid-1950s, as well as loan-free financial aid awards since 2008. Still, Swarthmore is redoubling its efforts to expand access and affordability, creating new resources, and reaffirming its commitment. 

A few numbers offer one illustration of the College’s commitment to access and aid:

  • 58 percent of current first-year students receive aid from the College; their average aid award is $47,564.
  • About a third of Swarthmore students from the Class of 2019 receiving financial aid have a family income of $60,000 or less. Last year, it was one in four.
  • The average aid award for all classes in the 2015-2016 academic year is $45,974; in 2014-2015, it was $41,197.

Swarthmore's strong financial aid program demonstrates our commitment to the principle that all capable students have access to the College. Learn more about Swarthmore's commitment to financial aid.

Summer Scholars Program

Swarthmore is committed to expanding access to learning, no matter what type of educational background students have. The Summer Scholars Program affirms our dedication to providing resources and support for all students. If you are the first in your family to attend college, come from a low-income background, or belong to a traditionally underrepresented group, our Summer Scholars Program could be a great match for you. All costs are covered for participants, including tuition, room and board, transportation, and books. Many students are intellectually ready, but may be academically underprepared, for the rigors of education in the STEM (Science, Technology, Education, Math) fields. The goal of the Summer Scholars Program is to support you as you begin your studies at Swarthmore. Learn more about the Summer Scholars Program.

Commitment to Undocumented and DACA Students

At Swarthmore College, we value different viewpoints, identities, and histories among our students, faculty, and staff. We believe this diversity contributes to the community’s strong sense of open dialogue and engagement with ideas and issues, as well as fostering inclusion in our community of scholars. We encourage all students, regardless of citizenship status or national origin, to apply to the College. This includes undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students graduating from U.S. high schools. Undocumented and DACA students apply to Swarthmore in the same manner as all U.S. citizens and permanent residents. We evaluate context and background, so students are encouraged to share their narrative with us through the application process. For undocumented and DACA students, Swarthmore’s admissions process is need blind. We do not take financial need or application for financial aid into account when making an admissions decision. Learn more about Swarthmore's commitment to undocumented and DACA students.

Richard Rubins Scholar Mentoring Program

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. The program is open to currently enrolled freshmen and sophomores. Students selected for the program will have a campus mentor - faculty or staff - to guide them during their time at the College. After working with their campus mentor for one year (sophomore year), they will be eligible to apply for funding for an  internship. Learn more about the Richard Rubin Scholar Mentoring Program

Discover Swarthmore

Discover Swarthmore is an all-expenses-paid overnight program for high-achieving high school seniors, 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.