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Financial Aid

Department Overview

Important information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

We understand you may have questions about the delayed release of the FAFSA for the 2024-2025 academic year. The U.S. Department of Education has indicated a likely release date in the month of December 2023.  ​​​​Swarthmore College’s Fall Early Decision deadline for admissions and financial aid is November 15, 2023, which is before the anticipated FAFSA release. Fall Early Decision applicants must have their CSS Profile completed by the November 15 deadline. As a reminder, the CSS Profile will become available on October 1, 2023, as normal. 

Winter Early and Regular Decision applicants must have their CSS Profile completed by the admissions and financial aid deadline of January 4, 2024.

Currently, the deadline to submit the FAFSA for all applicants is January 15, 2024. However, this date may change based on the release date. We will be sure to notify students and families of that change via our website and email.

Visit our FAFSA FAQ page for more information.

IDOC Processing Delay 

Please note that the College Board's IDOC service is experiencing processing delay times of around 10-12 days. Rest assured that as long as your documents are uploaded by the financial aid application deadlines they will be sent to Swarthmore and received by the Financial Aid Office. This will not negatively impact your application.

At this time, we advise that you refrain from emailing or calling to check on the status of these documents as your financial aid checklist is the best indicator as to whether or not we have received your documents yet. We will update your checklist as soon as we receive your documents. 

Your financial aid checklist can be viewed in your application portal (prospective students) or in mySwarthmore (returning students). Please note that this checklist is different from the checklist curated on IDOC. 

Our Mission

Swarthmore’s commitment to financial aid and access is at the core of our educational mission. We understand that students are admitted from a variety of economic backgrounds. Fifty-one percent of our student body received need-based Swarthmore Scholarship aid in 2022-23 from an overall financial aid budget of nearly $48 million.

Three Distinctive Commitments

  1. Swarthmore practices “need-blind” admissions: The decisions about your admission to Swarthmore and your financial aid eligibility are made independently if you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or undocumented/DACA student graduating from a U.S. high school.
  2. Swarthmore meets full need: Although we believe that the primary responsibility to pay for college lies with students and their families, we fill in the gap when family resources do not meet our costs. The College strives to make it possible for all admitted students to attend Swarthmore, regardless of their ability to pay, and meets 100 percent of determined need for all eligible admitted students. 
  3. Swarthmore’s aid is loan-free: Our financial aid awards consist of grants (which do not need to be repaid) and include the expectation that students will work in a part-time campus-based job. Although Swarthmore financial aid awards are loan-free, your family might choose to borrow a loan to pay a portion of the educational expenses.

Our Process

We understand that the financial aid process can feel challenging at times. You might have questions about what information is required, how it works, and how your family’s unique situation might impact the outcome of an application for financial aid. Our staff is here to help. 

Please note that the video above explains the process for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented/DACA students graduating from a U.S. high school. International applicants can find more information on our international student aid page.

You can find more information about the financial aid process in our Financial Aid Handbook

Holistic Application Review

Our application process is thorough and requires submission of family information as well as income documentation, so that we can base the financial aid decision on a holistic picture of your family’s economic situation. Once you submit your financial aid application, our Financial Aid Committee carefully considers all of your family’s detailed information, which we use to determine your family’s ability to contribute to the costs of a Swarthmore education. We encourage you to contact our staff if you would like to discuss your individual application, or if you have general questions about how our financial aid application process works. 

Swarthmore meets 100% of determined need for all eligible admitted students.

100%determined financial need met

Swarthmore meets 100% of determined need for all eligible admitted students.

52 percent of Swarthmore’s student body received financial aid in 2023–24.

52%students received financial aid

52 percent of Swarthmore’s student body received financial aid in 2023–24.