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TAP Information for Students

The Textbook Affordability Program (TAP) supplies funds to support registered Swarthmore students’ purchase of required course materials in the Swarthmore Campus & Community Store (Store).

TAP - Credit/Amount Information

  • Each participant will receive Swarthmore Campus & Community Store credit of $700 in a designated TAP account. Credit for the full academic year is dispersed at the beginning of the fall semester.
  • Unspent credit will carry over from the fall semester to January term to spring semester of the same academic year, but will not carry over to the next academic year. Any unused credit at the end of the academic year will not be available to the student.
  • To access your TAP funds when placing an online order at, log in with your Swarthmore College Log-In, which requires Duo Authentication. When asked for your account number, use your student ID number.

TAP - Textbook Purchase & Rental Information

  • The student may use the $700 TAP credit in the Store to purchase required course materials (textbooks) for the student’s registered classes. To count as a required course material, the item must have been specified by the faculty member teaching the course as required for the successful completion of the course, must be listed in the syllabus, and the faculty member must have notified the Store accordingly by the course materials deadline. Students may purchase no more than one copy of each course material.
  • The TAP credit may be used towards the purchase of new or used print textbooks, and for textbook rentals.
  • The TAP fund also can be used to purchase digital books, ebooks and access codes through the Store. Unfortunately the fund can not be used for certain digital titles purchased through Moodle; however, when possible the Store will carry print copies of those titles.
  • Students may use the TAP credit to rent a print textbook either online or in the Store. It is the student’s responsibility to return the rental book to the Store by the return deadline, which coincides with the last day of exams. If the student has the book off-campus, the student is responsible for shipping the rental book back to the bookstore and paying for the postage. Note that for Fall 2020, students will leave campus before final exams. Students may take their rented books off campus with them to aid in writing papers and studying for finals, but are responsible for shipping the rented book back to the Store by the last day of exams.
  • If the student chooses not to return the rented book by the deadline, the Store will charge the student for the original purchase price of the book minus the rental fee already paid, and the student will then own the book. The Store will notify the student of the charge, which will be applied against the student’s TAP funds. If the student’s TAP funds are not sufficient to cover the non-returned rental charge, the student may pay the charge directly in the Store, otherwise that charge will be applied to the student’s Bursar account. Note that the total cost to the student of a non-returned rental is the same as if the student had purchased the book outright at the beginning of the semester, with no additional late fees or penalties.
  • In addition to print and digital textbooks, required course materials can include workbooks, access codes, CS clickers, and certain course-specific supplies, as designated by the faculty. There will be a list of TAP-covered required items for specific courses on the Store’s website and in the textbook area of the Store. However, general school supplies such as binders, spiral notebooks, paper, pens and other general school supplies may not be purchased with the TAP credit.
  • Textbooks may be purchased in person at the Swarthmore Campus & Community Store or online at For a customized list of course materials required for the student’s registered courses, go to, log in, and click on “Search course materials for your enrolled classes via My Swarthmore.”
  • Students are not required to purchase their required course materials in the Store. However, the $700 credit that is provided by the TAP fund can only be used in the Store.
  • Course material expenses are the sole responsibility of the student. This $700 Store credit is expected to help with the purchase of course materials, but is not intended to cover all of the student’s required course materials expenses.
  • Students are expected to budget their $700 credit carefully. If an aided student has spent their entire credit and has questions about covering remaining textbook costs, email [email protected] for additional information. Note that a discussion regarding a student’s uncovered textbook expenses will include a review of the student’s textbook purchases, including whether less expensive formats were chosen when available.

TAP - Textbook Availability

  • The Store will attempt to have required textbooks ready for purchase before the first day of class each semester, as long as the faculty member specified the title by the deadline.
  • If a required title is not available when the student purchases their textbooks, or is added to a course’s list later, the student may place a special order in the Store or online at Students may use their TAP credit to prepay the special order. Most special orders arrive within 3 to 5 days. The Store will refund the prepayment at the student’s request if the book does not arrive within 7 business days. Note that the Store will not be able to special order books that are out of print or out of stock at the publisher.
  • Students should purchase all course materials as early as possible in order to support academic excellence. Textbooks, especially used print copies, are expected to sell out early in the semester, after which they can be purchased only by prepaid special order. Any remaining textbooks will be available for sale through the 12th week of the semester. For Fall 2020, remaining textbooks will be available for sale through the last day of classes.

TAP - Courses Audited or Taken Elsewhere, Part-time Students

  • TAP credit is only extended to students who pay Swarthmore College tuition. Students who take classes at Swarthmore but pay tuition elsewhere, including Bryn Mawr and Haverford students, are not eligible for TAP funding.
  • If a Swarthmore student is registered with the Registrar's Office to audit a Swarthmore class, that student is considered registered for the class at an audit level, and may use the TAP credit to purchase the course materials. If the student audits informally, without registering the audit, the TAP credit may not be used.
  • TAP credit may be used to purchase textbooks through the Store for the Tri-Co Philly program.
  • TAP credit may be used to special order textbooks for courses taken at Bryn Mawr and at Haverford. Email Textbook Manager Erica Considine ([email protected]) with the course location, name, and number, and specify which books are wanted.
  • For courses at locations other than Tri-Co, including courses at the University of Pennsylvania, students can only use TAP funds to purchase course materials if the Store is able to special order the title. Email Textbook Manager Erica Considine ([email protected]) with the course location, name, and number, and specify which books are wanted. Erica Considine will reply concerning availability.
  • Students who participate in Off-Campus Study will receive the full TAP credit for the academic year. Through the Off-Campus Study office, students may request use of their TAP credit for materials that are required for an Off-Campus Study course.
  • If a student is taking less than a full course load, and is paying prorated tuition, that student’s TAP fund will be prorated at the same percentage as tuition. For part time students, the TAP credit will be calculated on the basis of $350 a semester, rather than $700 a year. For example, a student who is registered as a quarter-time student for one semester, and pays 25% tuition for that semester, will receive a TAP credit for the semester of $350 times 25%, which is $87.50. Students who drop down to less than full time status after the beginning of the semester will have their fund reduced accordingly.

TAP - Textbook Return Information

  • Return of materials purchased through this fund must follow Store textbook return policies, which are posted at / Course Materials / Return Policy. Textbooks are returnable for credit through the last day of drop-add.
  • When a student returns a textbook for credit, the textbook’s purchase or rental price will be credited back to the student’s TAP fund account. Course materials purchased using the TAP fund cannot be returned for cash or other tender.

TAP - Additional College Requirements

  • Books purchased through this fund are to support the participant’s course work throughout the semester. Funded books may not be disposed of, given, or sold prior to the last day of classes that semester.
  • After the last day of classes, the course materials purchased with TAP credit belong completely to the student. If the student wishes, the student can sell textbooks back to the Store for cash during book buyback at the end of the semester. For more information on the Store’s Buyback Policy and exact dates, see / Course Materials / Buyback Policy.
  • Use of the TAP credit indicates acceptance of the rules covering TAP usage. Misuse of TAP funds is a violation of Swarthmore College policy.
  • Swarthmore College may at any time check the course materials purchased via this fund against the student’s registered classes. If a student uses the funded credit to purchase material for a course that the student is not taking, or to purchase more than one copy, the student will be required to pay for the non-covered material and may be disqualified for future funding.
  • Official communications and notifications about the program, including clarifications or changes, will be sent to the student’s Swarthmore College email address.
  • Participants will be required to complete a brief (<20 minute) anonymous survey during the second half of the semester regarding their use of this fund. This survey is used to inform the College about the usage of funds and the benefit to the student.

TAP – Contacts for Further Information

  • If you are unsure whether specific materials are covered for your course, please contact Textbook Manager Erica Considine to verify. Erica’s office is in the textbook section of the Campus & Community Store, and Erica can be reached via email to [email protected]
  • If you have a question about the program itself, or if you have an issue with a particular purchase, please email Paula Dale at ([email protected]).
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