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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.

TAP - Credit/Amount Information

  • Each registered student receives $790 in Swarthmore Campus & Community Store credit in a designated TAP account.  Credit for the full academic year is dispersed into the account at the beginning of the fall semester.
  • Unspent credit will carry over from the fall semester 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. On the payment page, use the drop-down menu to choose “TAP” as your primary form of payment.

TAP - Textbook Purchase & Rental Information

  • Required course materials are covered: The student may use the $790 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.
  • Recommended and Optional course materials are also eligible to be purchased with TAP credit.  However, these will not be stocked on the Store shelves, but must be special ordered by the student.  Allow approximately two weeks for the special order to arrive.
  • Course materials for thesis courses, capstone courses, directed readings, and independent study are also eligible to be purchased with TAP credit.  The faculty member must email a detailed list of titles with ISBN to [email protected] for consideration by the Textbook Manager.  The Textbook Manager will reply regarding availability of the listed titles. Once the list is approved, the student may then special order the books.  Note that the individual titles for Directed Readings and Independent Study will not be listed online, so the student must email [email protected] to place their order.  Allow approximately two weeks for the special order to arrive. Any materials that the Store is not able to make available must be purchased out of pocket, and will not be covered by TAP.
  • Available formats include new and used print format: The TAP credit may be used towards the purchase of required new or used print textbooks. 
  • Digital books available: The TAP fund also can be used to purchase digital books, eBooks and access codes through the Store’s online site.  Unfortunately the fund cannot be used for certain digital titles purchased through Moodle; however, when possible the Store will carry print copies of those titles that can be purchased with TAP credit.
  • Rental Textbooks are covered:  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.  Students may take their rented books off campus with them, but are responsible for shipping the rented book back to the Store by the last day of exams at their own expense.
  • If the student chooses not to return a 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.  
  • Covered course materials other than textbooks: 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.
  • Purchase in the Store or Place an Order at Textbooks may be purchased in the Store or ordered online at Students are not required to purchase their required course materials in the Store. However, the $790 credit that is provided by the TAP fund can only be used in the Store.
  • Course Material Expenses are the student’s responsibility.  Course material expenses are the sole responsibility of the student. Each student's cost of attendance budget estimates $1,435 for academic supplies.  This $790 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. 
  • Budget TAP funds carefully: Students are expected to budget their $790 credit carefully and plan to supplement TAP credit with payment out of pocket if needed. The Swarthmore College libraries also provide course materials on reserve that are available for students to borrow; see their Course Reserves + Textbooks page for more information. 

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 the Textbook Manager ( with the course location, name, and number, and specify which books are wanted.  Textbooks for classes at Bryn Mawr and Haverford can only be purchased with TAP funds if the textbook has been formally adopted by the professor, and is available on the Bryn Mawr bookstore or Haverford bookstore's website.
  • 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 from the bookstore's website.  Email the Textbook Manager ( with the course location, name, and number, and specify which books are wanted.  The Textbook Manager will reply concerning availability.
  • Students who participate in Off-Campus Study as one of two enrolled semesters 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, that student’s TAP fund will be prorated at the same percentage as tuition. A student enrolled for only one semester will receive $395, rather than the full $790 credit. 

Special Orders

  • Special Orders: If a required title is not available to order when the student purchases their textbooks, or is added to a course list later, the student may place a special order in the Store or online at and use their TAP credit to prepay the special order.  Most special orders arrive within 7 to 14 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.


  •  TAP does not cover the cost of shipping books to or from the student.

Course Materials not Covered by TAP

  • Course materials purchased from other sources, including third party vendors on the comparison shopping site, are not covered by TAP.  Note that faculty may separately require course materials not covered by TAP.

TAP - Textbook Return Information

  • Return of materials purchased with TAP credit must follow Store textbook return policies, which are posted at / Course Materials / Return Policy.  Printed textbooks are returnable for credit through the last day of drop-add. Digital materials such as access codes and eBooks must be returned within 14 days of purchase or by the Store’s return deadline for the semester, whichever is first, and cannot be returned once they have been downloaded.
  • When a student returns for credit a textbook purchased with TAP funds, 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 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.  That address will be considered sufficient communication regarding TAP communication and specific communications with students, including but not limited to reminders to pick up ordered books from the Store.
  • Books which are ordered and prepaid but not picked up will be held at the Store for the student for two weeks. If student does not pick up their ordered books by the end of finals week, the books will be considered abandoned and become property of the bookstore. The books will be donated to various establishments approved by the Campus & Community Store. There will be no refund for books which are ordered and prepaid but not picked up by the student.
  • 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 – Contact for Further Information

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