Recommendation 5. Swarthmore should create and support a varied and dynamic student body through its admissions and financial aid policies.

Swarthmore exists to educate students. For this reason, it is imperative to attract and select students who will thrive and contribute to our strong community. We value access not only as an individual opportunity to learn and flourish, but also as an institutional responsibility to educate a student body that represents the nation and the world. To continue to provide an unparalleled educational experience, we must enroll higher numbers of exceptional students from around the world, adjusting our practices in order to seize the opportunities of changing demographics, respond to new economic constraints, and push back against increased skepticism about the value of a liberal arts education.

This recommendation has six parts:

Promote liberal arts education locally, nationally, and internationally with renewed vigor, affirming that Swarthmore’s commitment to access for all qualified students is essential for the best liberal arts experience. The College should make the case for the increasing need and value of a liberal arts education in an ever-changing, demographically diverse, and globally interdependent world; and ensure continuing access for all qualified students, regardless of financial circumstances or backgrounds. To reach a broader audience and recruit students who will thrive at Swarthmore, the College should devote additional resources to recruitment and provide the financial support our students require to attend.

Raise funds specifically for financial aid in the next campaign to increase restricted endowment support for the existing program, secure funds for future growth in aid, and expand aid for international students. Providing access to education is among Swarthmore’s most cherished values because it allows us to build a diverse learning community in which many backgrounds and points of view are represented. Strong philanthropic support for financial aid allows us to maintain and even expand our needblind/ full-need–met admissions and financial aid policies, ensuring that we continue to admit the most highly qualified students—students who will flourish here and make important contributions to our community—without regard for their financial circumstances.

Sustain slow growth in the student population over time to meet needs of the academic program and support a robust community. Swarthmore’s transformative experience relies on our small size. We affirm the strength of being one of the smallest liberal arts institutions among our peers and recognize that growing slowly affords the opportunity to add faculty to expand academic offerings, allocate new resources to facilities and other needs strategically, and continually enhance the student body.

Expand the number of international students and the number who have access to aid. The College should increase the representation of international students, particularly if the student body grows over time. The College should also increase the number and percentage of international students who receive financial aid when we have the resources to do so.

Establish a Board of Managers Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid to help the College seek students who exhibit academic excellence broadly imagined. The committee would review and monitor admissions practices, policies, and guidelines; and work with existing committees to establish and review admissions and financial aid priorities as they continue to evolve. This includes establishing guidelines to evaluate the growth in scholarship expenditures relative to overall resource allocation; examining current needs comprehensively; reviewing the financial implications and effectiveness of policies on a regular basis, perhaps every three to five years; and monitoring Swarthmore’s policies compared with peers.