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].

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), the Vanguard Group, and The Calvert 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.

Early Retirement Program

The College's early retirement program 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 regular, full-time members 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 in early retirement by 30 September of the year before they intend the program to begin.

Contractual agreements: Eligible faculty members wishing to retire fully before the age of 70 may apply for early retirement for a total of five years if they begin the program at the end of the academic year in which they reach the age of 63. For the purposes of the early retirement program, the "academic year" will include the months of June, July and August, retirement taking effect September 1 of the following academic year. If a faculty member applies for the program beyond the academic year in which he/she reaches the age 63, he/she will be eligible for a total not to exceed the number of years that would bring him/her up to the age of 70 or four years, whichever is less.

With early retirement, the formal tenured employer/employee relationship with the College ends and the faculty member has emeritus status, with a yearly payment of the difference between the college-wide average salary of a full professor and the college-wide average salary of an assistant professor for each year that payments are made. In calculating this amount, average salaries for the year prior to the year of payment are used.

Additional compensation and benefits: In addition to the contractual arrangements listed above, all faculty members on early retirement will receive a seniority bonus, college benefit bank contributions, a pension lump sum (in lieu of future retirement plan contributions), tuition grants, and research and travel support. Participation in the College's life insurance and long-term disability plans ends with early retirements. Additional information on these benefits can be found in the Handbook for Instructional Staff [pdf].

Early retirement privileges: The College will provide all early retirees a mail address, library privileges, the mailings and publications sent to regular faculty members, incidental secretarial help, telephone privileges for academic or scholarly purposes, the administration of grants, faculty dining privileges, and participation in convocations and academic processions. When available, the College will provide retired faculty members with an office and laboratory facilities.

Part-time teaching: Participants in the Early Retirement Program may enter into contractual arrangements with the College to teach a stipulated course or courses at the regular, part-time rate per course.