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Swarthmore College Scholarships

Financial Aid and Scholarships

It's important to know that some scholarships are related to your family's financial situation (need-based scholarship), while others are awarded for excellent test scores or athletic achievements (merit scholarship). Both merit and need-based scholarships are free money- money you do not need to repay.

Merit scholarships are given to students for a particular merit or talent. Are you the best swimmer in your city or state? Are you a highly involved student leader in your community? Do you consider yourself an academic superstar? Usually, colleges grant merit scholarships to students regardless of how much you can pay for a college education. Your parents may have the ability to pay the entire cost of attendance or nothing at all. Swarthmore awards a few merit scholarships to students each year, which do not require any additional application materials, such as extra essays. However, nearly all of our scholarships are need-based.

Need-based scholarships- sometimes called grants- consist of free money offered to students based on financial need. Whatever money your family needs in order for you to attend Swarthmore, you'll receive in a loan-free financial aid award and a campus work-study job of about 6-8 hours per week. We call our need-based financial aid awards "Swarthmore Scholarships". Here's how Swarthmore calculates financial need and how the financial aid process works.

Financial Aid at Swarthmore

Accessing & Affording a Swarthmore Education

As a Quaker-founded institution, our heritage informs our work. That's why we believe in access and affordability for all students, especially students coming from moderate and modest income families. We want to ensure that you're able to attend Swarthmore without any gaps in your financial aid. We make three commitments to you and your family:

How Swarthmore Calculates Financial Aid

Let's start with figuring out how much college will cost. The total cost of attending college includes a variety of expenses.

Swarthmore adds up the cost of attendance, and then we subtract what you and your family can reasonably pay.

How do we figure out what you and your family can afford? Broadly speaking, we look at your family income (how much your parents/guardians earn each year); your income (if you have a part-time job, for example); your family's assets (if your family owns their own home or has any stocks or bonds); and your personal assets (such as a savings account, if you have one).

So whats left over? After you add up all of the costs of attendance, and then you subtract what your family can pay for each year, you're left with:

That's right. There's no catch. We do not require that you take out a loan to attend Swarthmore, and we do not include loans in our financial aid awards. Because of this policy, many of our low-income and first-generation college students actually pay less for a Swarthmore education than they would for a public, in-state college or university. The average financial aid award at Swarthmore is almost $50,000 per year, and some low-income students are attending Swarthmore for free and not taking out any loans.

For more information about our financial aid policies, please visit our aid and access website.

Want to know more specific information for your family's estimated costs for a Swarthmore education?

Complete our Net Price Calculator. You'll want to sit down with a parent or guardian to complete the Net Price Calculator. It will take some time, but it can be a fairly accurate estimate of your family's costs for a Swarthmore education.

Please note that the Net Price Calculator isn't the best tool to use if your family owns a business, has a family farm, or if your parents are divorced or separated.

Undocumented Students

At Swarthmore College, we value different viewpoints, identities, and histories among our students, faculty, and staff. We believe this diversity fosters inclusion and contributes to our community's strong sense of open dialogue and engagement with ideas and issues. We encourage all students, regardless of your citizenship status or national origin, to apply to the College. This includes undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students graduating from U.S. high schools or earning a high school equivalency diploma in the U.S. Swarthmore College admits and funds undocumented and DACA-eligible first-year and transfer students the same way we do any domestic student.

We support our undocumented students in many ways. A staff member in the Dean's Office serves as a student advisor for undocumented students. We also have a student-run organization for undocumented students, students with undocumented family members, and students committed to equitable practices for undocumented people.

Does your parent or guardian speak Spanish? Learn more about our undocumented student policies in Spanish