To further relieve the financial pressures facing students and their families, the Swarthmore College Board of Managers made the decision this weekend to replace all loans with scholarships in financial aid awards, effective the 2008-09 academic year, for both continuing and new students.
"For many students the new policy will mean being able to choose Swarthmore and to engage fully their educational experience here free of debt," said President Al Bloom. "Moreover, an educational community marked by greater equality and opportunity empowers our students to become leaders in shaping a more just and generous world."
"Loan-free awards will give our students the freedom to explore all career choices because they won't need to worry about how they will repay their college loans," added Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jim Bock.
For Swarthmore, the new policy represents a further step in a long history of providing generous financial aid. Since the fall of 1981, the College has sought to protect its lowest-income students from the burden of debt by limiting their loans to a maximum of $1,000 a year. In the past two years, students in this group were offered loan-free financial aid awards. The current decision extends loan-free aid awards to all students, domestic and international, with demonstrated need.
Fifty percent of Swarthmore's students receive scholarship aid from the College. More than one third of Swarthmore's annual spending from its endowment, amounting to nearly $20 million, is used to support its commitment to financial aid. Implementing the new loan-free award policy will cost the College approximately $1.7 million additionally each year.