Living the Cash-Free Life at Swarthmore

Swarthmore is a cash-free campus meaning that after you pay your semester bill, nearly everything else in the student experience is at no additional cost to you. In other words, Swarthmore does not charge students “additional fees”. Here’s how I benefit from Swarthmore’s cash-free initiative:


Laundry is free on campus. You can do laundry monthly, biweekly, weekly, or even daily (although you probably shouldn’t…). ALL FOR FREE. Every on campus dorm has a laundry room with washers and dryers, which students are allowed to use for free. Students do not have to worry about saving up for laundry. Everyone gets to wear clean clothes all year!


Swarthmore runs on a Textbook Affordability Initiative that allots $750 per year to every single student. Students are able to purchase textbooks and course materials that are required for their classes they are enrolled in without having to worry about paying out of pocket. The best part about it is the fact that you own your textbooks and are allowed to keep them even after the semester ends. I have piles and piles of college textbooks that I’ve accumulated over the past two years.


All events on campus are free for students. That includes concerts, orchestras, dance performances, student-led plays, art exhibitions and galleries, movie nights, guest lectures, sporting events, crafts nights, and so much more. It’s just a brilliant way to get free exposure to the arts, support your friends, and experience college life to the fullest without cost being a barrier.


Swarthmore has SO MUCH FREE FOOD on campus. From gelato or taco trucks to Korean buffets in the Science Center to boba giveaways, there’s so much free food running around campus. Since you don’t have to pay anything additional to join clubs or attend club events, oftentimes you’ll find yourself torn between the many different free food options around campus.


Right outside the train tracks on campus is the small town of Swarthmore. Swarthmore downtown consists of two streets with seven restaurants and one grocery store, and many of these local vendors have a partnership with our college. Hence, students are able to use points from their meal plan in the town, meaning you DO NOT have to pay your own money or actual cash to dine out with friends. If for some reason the day’s dining menu is not your favorite, you have the option to grab a bite in one of these restaurants without having to worry about the cost. There are great brunch options in the town. It’s a great way to start off your weekend with your friends. 🙂