Commonly Asked Questions Answered

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.
 

1.  Submission of the financial aid application:  Electronic submission of the CSS/Financial Aid Profile is required.  For supplemental documentation for international (non-U.S. citizen, F-1 visa) student applicants, Swarthmore does NOT subscribe to IDOC.  Instead international students will access their financial aid checklist via their admissions application status page on the Admissions Office portal provided by the Admissions Office.  Applicants will submit their supplemental documentation via upload on that portal.  All documents should be uploaded in PDF.  Documents will not be accepted via email.

Note:  Your financial aid check list will be available in one to two business day after you submit your admissions application to Swarthmore College.  You may not be able to access your financial aid checklist through your phone.  We suggest that you use a lap top or PC. You may also need to try a different browser in order 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 application for admission (no abbreviated names or nicknames please), your date of birth, the date of your admissions application submission, the date of your Profile application submission, and your admissions application ID number, if you have it. 

2.  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/Financial Aid Profile application and, if you are an eligible non-citizen, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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.  Also, if it is helpful, you will be able to provide an additional explanation of your situation on the Profile.
 

3.  Cost of the CSS/Financial Aid Profile:  An electronic submission of the CSS/Financial Aid Profile is required of all applicants for financial aid, including international (non-US citizen, F-1 visa) students.  If you feel the cost of the Profile is prohibitive, you may preliminarily upload to your financial aid checklist a PDF copy of your completed Profile or a PDF copy of your completed CollegeBoard ISFAA (International Student Financial Aid Application), however, the Profile will need to be submitted electronically eventually.  The PDF of your Profile or ISFAA must be uploaded to your financial aid checklist; do not email it.  Fee waivers may be granted to some students who are offered admission, but it is not guaranteed.  Therefore, for your own ease, time savings, and assurance of better accuracy in the process, it is to your advantage to submit the CSS/Financial Aid Profile as soon as possible.
 

4.  Income Proof or Letters from your Parents' Employers:  The Financial Aid Committee will ultimately need to corroborate your 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 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 Profile.  Submit the form and documentation by uploading it to your financial aid checklist on your admissions status page portal.  

Because meeting this requirement can vary from country to country and business type to business type, acceptable documentation cannot be pre-defined.  It is in your best interest to 1) provide clear documentation in its original context alongside a third-party translation into English, if necessary, 2) to provide it for our required reporting calendar tax year (Jan 1 - Dec 31) noted on the Profile (or as close as possible).  A clear and brief explanation in writing is also allowable.  All information is to be in English and in the currency in which it was earned; please do not do any conversions on your own.

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 upon which the salary (and bonus pay, if applicable) they note is based.
 

5.  My parents own a business or are self-employed outside of the United States:  The Financial Aid Committee will require corroboration of your 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 will need to use an equivalent type of form to complete the Profile.  

Because meeting this requirement can vary from country to country and business type to business type, acceptable documentation cannot be pre-defined.  It is in your best interest to 1) provide clear documentation in its original context alongside a third-party translation into English, if necessary, 2) to provide it for our required reporting calendar tax year (Jan 1 - Dec 31) noted on the Profile (or as close as possible).  A clear and brief explanation in writing is also allowable.  All information is to be in English and in the currency in which it was earned; please do not do any conversions on your own.

6.  My parent or parents 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 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 during the required reporting year while your parent was not employed.  If your parent remains unemployed currently please explain how your family is being supported. If your parent has since returned to work, explain and provide the date of re-employment as well as their current job title and responsibilities.  

7.  Attestation of 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, you should 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/Financial Aid 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.
 

8.  Use home currency when completing the CSS/Financial Aid Profile:  When you complete the 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.  Please do NOT convert the currency on your own.
 

9.  Completing the Financial Aid Checklist found via the Admissions Portal:  Students can access their financial aid checklist via the Admissions Office application status page portal; Admissions will provide you with information on how to access your portal.  If you see items listed as required that do not seem to fit to your situation, you are welcome to 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.  Remember, the Financial Aid Committee will not be able to review your file until your checklist is complete, so you may feel free to take an active role in this part of the process in this way.  

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.

10.  The Profile and documentation will need to be submitted each year of your enrollment at Swarthmore:  If you wish to be considered for financial aid in future years, you will need to submit a Profile by March 1 for financial aid before each subsequent year of your enrollment using income from the prior base year.  Fee waivers for future year submission of the Profile will not be granted for any reason, so please plan accordingly.   
 

11.  You must complete an application for financial aid prior to being admitted:  In order to apply for financial aid in subsequent years you must have applied for financial aid prior to being admitted by the Admissions Office.  This applies even if you did not qualify for financial aid in your first year.  If you think you will need Swarthmore College support any time during your four years here, you must submit a financial aid application when you are applying for admission. An aid application after admission will not be considered.  The Admissions Office also notes this on their website as well.  

11.  Meeting the deadline for your application:  You must submit all of your application information before the appropriate deadline, beginning with the CSS/Financial Aid Profile.  It is preferable that you submit all of your information at once.  However, if you are not able to submit supplemental documentation until after the deadline, be sure that your Profile is submitted on time and that your supplemental information follows as quickly as possible and well ahead of the admission notification date from the Admissions Office.  Some grace period may be extended for late submission of the Profile, but this cannot be defined or guaranteed, so plan accordingly.  Please do not email the Financial Aid Office asking for permission for a late submission; your best opportunity is to simply apply.  If your application is deemed too late, that decision will be render naturally through the process.
 

13.  Noncustodial parent information:  Information is required of both biological parents of the student, even if they are no longer together.  If you are having an issue with acquiring information from your noncustodial parent, you are welcome to upload an explanation of your situation to your financial aid checklist.  It 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.  You should also provide a timeline of your relationship with your noncustodial parent.  The Financial Aid Committee will review the information, but your application will remain incomplete until that point.  Should the Committee wish to follow up on your information, they will contact you directly.

14.  Extenuating Circumstances:  If you have extenuating circumstances which do not seem to fit within the parameters of the application process, you are welcome to upload to your financial aid checklist a letter of extenuating circumstances.  If you are making a special request of your circumstances, the request may or may not be approved by the Financial Aid Committee, but they will review it for consideration.  Anticipating questions that the Committee may have and providing documentation (if applicable) and answers to those questions at the time of your request is the best you can do for yourself.
 

15.  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 office of International Student Services and direct your questions specifically to either Ms. Jennifer Marks-Gold or Ms. Reshma Suraj.