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Prof Rachel Merz talking with a student

The College works with faculty to develop retirement plans that meet each individual's needs. There is no mandatory retirement age at the College. Individuals who wish to discuss transitional retirement arrangements (e.g., part time teaching for a period before retirement) are encouraged to speak with the Provost. The College also has a formal early retirement program, described below and in the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf].    Additional details regarding retired and emeritus faculty can be reviewed in the Memorandum Regarding Retired and Emeritus Faculty [pdf] from the Provost and Dean of the Faculty.

Financial Benefits

All regular full-time and part-time (half-time or more) employees are eligible to participate in the College Retirement Plan after completing one year of employment. The waiting period is waived, however, if a new employee currently owns an annuity contract under a 403(b) plan or a custodial account under a 403(b)(7) plan from a previous employer.

Swarthmore College provides for employees' retirement through a combination of Social Security and individual annuity or investment contracts. There are a wide variety of investment options available with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association/ College Retirement Equity Fund (TIAA/CREF) and the Vanguard Group (see descriptions of each in the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf]). All arrangements concerning retirement benefits are made through Human Resources.

Senior Research Scholars

Faculty who are about to retire, or who have already done so, and who plan to continue professional projects may request approval to identify themselves as a "Senior Research Scholar, Swarthmore College" for a three-year term. Request for this designation may be made by letter to the Provost. A term may also be renewed following a brief report of accomplishments and future plans. This title will not carry financial benefits or special services or office space beyond what is already provided for emeriti faculty. The College will continue, however, to offer assistance to those who wish to apply for external grants or need help in their administration.

Voluntary Transition Plan for Tenured Faculty

The College's voluntary transition plan provides eligible faculty members the opportunity to fully retire before the age of 70.

Eligibility: Persons eligible for this program are those tenured members of the faculty who;

  1. have been a regular, full-time faculty member at Swarthmore College for at least ten years,
  2. have either reached the rank of professor or have been at the rank of associate professor for at least twelve years, and
  3. have reached the age of 60.

Faculty members must speak to the Provost about their interest during the election period of the year before they intend the program to begin.  Additional information on the program, including compensation and benefits available to participants in the plan, can be found in the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf].