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Common Financial Aid Topics for International Students

This information is intended for students who are considered international students, or students who are not U.S. citizens and will be attending college in the United States on a valid F-1 student visa.  The information is geared toward students applying for admission to the College as first time, first-year students. However, some information is pertinent for returning, current students as well.  Please note that all students need to apply for financial aid each year of their enrollment if they wish to be considered for financial aid.
 

Submission of the financial aid application

After you have been admitted, you can proceed to the financial aid application. You must submit the CSS Profile. Prospective international students will upload their supplemental documentation to their financial aid checklist via their admissions application status page on the Admissions Office portal provided by the Admissions Office. All documents should be uploaded in PDF. Documents and financial aid application material and information will not be accepted via email.

All international student applicants applying for financial aid for the first time must submit the International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA).

Note:  Your financial aid checklist will be available in your applicant portal if you are admitted to Swarthmore College.

You may not be able to access your financial aid checklist through a mobile device. We suggest that you use a laptop or desktop computer. You may need to try more than one web browser to access your financial aid checklist. If after this, you are having trouble, please email the Financial Aid Office and describe your issue. Include your full name as it appears on your admission application (no abbreviated names or nicknames), your date of birth, the date you submitted your admission application, the date you submitted the CSS Profile, and your admission application ID number, if you have it.

Variations in citizenship, residency, and country of earned income

If you have citizenship or reside in a country different from where your parents work and earn, your application for admission and financial aid will be reviewed to accommodate your unique circumstances.  The application pool in which you apply for admission will be determined by the Admissions Office; you should contact your regional director in Admissions for more information.  In terms of financial aid, complete the CSS Profile application (and if you are an eligible non-citizen, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA), answering each questions as it applies to your situation.  Remember that your parents' earnings and supplemental documentation should be reported in the currency in which it was earned; it should not be converted to U.S. dollars.  Also, if it is helpful, you may provide an additional explanation of your situation on the CSS Profile.

CSS Profile Fee Waiver

CSS Profile fee waivers will be automatically provided to international students who are admitted to Swarthmore College. Your CSS Profile fee waiver will be available in your financial aid checklist after admission.

CSS Profile fee waivers are not available to current or returning Swarthmore students.

Income proof or letters from your parents' employers

The Financial Aid Office needs to corroborate your CSS Profile data with documentation that is official, attested, and cannot be easily reproduced.  If your parents work for an employer, that employer should provide them annually with some official documentation of their annual earnings.  (A tax form used for this in the United States is known as a W-2 form.) You will need to use an equivalent type of form to complete the CSS Profile.  Submit the form and documentation by uploading it to your financial aid checklist on your admissions status page portal.  

Meeting this requirement can vary from country to country and business type to business type; therefore, acceptable documentation cannot be pre-defined.  It is in your best interest to provide clear documentation in its original context alongside a third-party translation into English, if necessary, and to provide it for our required reporting calendar tax year (Jan 1 - Dec 31) noted on the CSS Profile (or as close as possible to those dates).  A clear and brief explanation in writing is also allowable.  All information must be in English and in the currency in which it was earned; please do not do any currency conversions.

The letter should be on company letterhead and should include your parent's name, their salary in the company's currency, job title/position, primary job responsibilities, number of years with the company, and the calendar year in which the salary (and bonus pay, if applicable) is based.

Parent(s) who own a business or are self-employed outside of the United States

The Financial Aid Office requires corroboration of your CSS Profile data with documentation that is in English, official, attested, and cannot be easily reproduced.  If your parent’s business income and asset holdings are reported as part of annual/semi-annual, government business income tax returns/forms, then please upload those to your financial aid checklist on your admissions status page portal.

To comply with this requirement for their own business, your parents should upload the available documentation to your financial aid checklist via your admissions status page portal.  (A form used for this in the United States is known as a 1099 form.)  You must use an equivalent type of form to complete the CSS Profile.  

Meeting this requirement can vary from country to country and business type to business type; therefore, acceptable documentation cannot be pre-defined.  It is in your best interest to provide clear documentation in its original context alongside a third-party translation into English, if necessary, and to provide it for our required reporting calendar tax year (Jan 1 - Dec 31) noted on the CSS Profile (or as close as possible to those dates).  A clear and brief explanation in writing is also allowable.  All information must be in English and in the currency in which it was earned; please do not do any currency conversions.

Parent(s) were not employed during the required reporting year

Please upload to your financial aid checklist via your admission status page portal a letter signed by you and your parent(s) explaining their unemployment during the required reporting year.  The letter should explain if they are retired, disabled, or were released from their job (and the date of that occurrence).  If applicable, include information and documentation about benefits, public assistance, stipends, or severance pay they received during the required reporting year.  Please also include how your family was supported financially during the required reporting year while your parent(s) were not employed.  If your parent(s) are unemployed currently, please explain how your family is being supported financially. If your parent(s) have since returned to work, explain and provide the date of re-employment as well as their current job title and responsibilities. 

Using and submitting the correct income documentation

Documentation of income and assets must be attested, official, and legitimate.  If your parents' country of work and earnings has an official, annual form for reporting income and assets, akin to the United States annual federal income tax return, provide that information along with a translation into English, if necessary.  If your parents' country of work and earnings does not have an official form, then you should provide clear, attested documentation otherwise that corroborates to the information you submitted on your CSS Profile.  If you additionally find it necessary, and available, an external agency (perhaps similar to a notary public in the United States) may be able to attest your parents' documentation.

If your parents' country of income reporting does not use a calendar year reporting (January to December), they should use and upload documentation that has the majority of months in the calendar year of inquiry.  For example, for applications for the 2022-2023 academic year, calendar year 2020 income is required.  If a country has an income system that reports April to the following March, then April 2019 to March 2020 documentation should be used and uploaded. 

If your parents' country has an income system that reports July to the following June, with equal months in each calendar year, then it is preferred to use and upload documentation that ends with the desired calendar year, i.e., use July 2019 to June 2020 income documentation for the 2022-2023 academic year applications which requires calendar year 2020 information.

Use home currency when completing the CSS Profile

When you complete the CSS Profile, or any financial aid application information, you must complete it using the currency from which the income (or the majority of the income) was earned.  Do not convert your country's currency into US Dollars when completing the CSS Profile.

Completing the financial aid checklist in the admissions portal

Students can access their financial aid checklist after admissions decisions have been released. Remember, the Financial Aid Committee cannot review your file until your checklist is complete.

If you see items listed as required that do not seem to fit your situation, upload the best equivalent piece of information to satisfy that requirement in its place. You may also upload a signed PDF note of explanation along with, or in place of, the submission if necessary. For example: If one of your parents does not work, you may wish to upload a brief statement indicating that your parent does not work in lieu of that requirement. We may also request separate earnings documentation from each parent along with requiring a document of their combined earnings. If your particular situation can only provide one of those documentation options, then provide an explanation in lieu of the other document.

Your financial aid application checklist must be completed within seven (7) days of receiving admission to Swarthmore College.

Submitting the CSS Profile and documentation each year

If you applied for admission to the College and formally indicated your intent to apply for financial aid, and you wish to be considered for financial aid during subsequent years at Swarthmore, you must submit a complete financial aid application (including the CSS Profile) by March 1  before each subsequent year of your enrollment using income from the prior base year.  Fee waivers for future year submission of the CSS Profile will not be granted for any reason, so please plan accordingly.   

Completing an application for financial aid prior to being admitted

If you want to be considered for financial aid, you need to indicate your intent to apply on your admission application. Your financial aid application materials will not be reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee until admission decisions are released.

If you think you will need financial aid from Swarthmore at any point during your four years of college, you must indicate your intent to apply for financial aid when you submit your application for admission to Swarthmore.

Meeting financial aid application deadlines

The deadline for the financial aid application is seven (7) days after receiving your admission decision.

You must submit all of your application information before the appropriate deadline, beginning with the CSS Profile. It is preferable that you submit all of your information at once. Please do not email the Financial Aid Office asking for permission for a late submission; your best opportunity is to submit your application as soon as possible.

Noncustodial parent information

Your financial aid application requires information from both biological parents of the student, even if they are no longer together.  The CSS Profile process has changed slightly in recent years.  Both parents, living in separate households, may submit CSS Profile applications for their student; the applications will be matched up, or linked, using information about the student, and that information must be identical in order for both parents' financial aid applications to be matched.

If you are having an issue acquiring information from your noncustodial parent, you may upload an explanation of your situation to your financial aid checklist in addition to uploading a completed noncustodial parent waiver request form.  Both forms must be signed by both you and your custodial biological/adoptive parent.  You should provide as much information about your noncustodial parent as possible in your explanation, including a timeline of your relationship with your noncustodial parent.  The Financial Aid Office will review the information, but your application will remain incomplete until that point.  Should the Financial Aid Office need more information,  we will contact you directly.

Extenuating circumstances

If you have extenuating circumstances which do not seem to fit within the parameters of the financial aid application process,  upload a letter of extenuating circumstances to your financial aid checklist.  The request may or may not be approved by the Financial Aid Office, but they will review it for consideration.  Provide documentation (if applicable) and information you believe will be helpful to the Financial Aid Office along with your letter of extenuating circumstances. 

Proof of citizenship and certification of finances

If you have questions regarding your proof of citizenship, or other questions related to your eventual matriculation to Swarthmore such as your I-20 or Certification of Finances processes, you should contact our International Student Center and direct your questions specifically to either Jennifer Marks-Gold or Kathryn Melvin.