The Roller-Coaster Ride of Black Enrollments at Swarthmore College Again Reaches a Pinnacle

In 1998 there were 43 black freshmen in the entering class at highly selective Swarthmore College. They made up 11.6 percent of all first-year students at Swarthmore that year. This was the highest percentage of blacks in an entering class of the nation’s 25 highest-ranked liberal arts colleges ever recorded by the annual JBHE survey on black freshman enrollments.

Just three years later in 2001, there were only 18 black freshmen at Swarthmore, a decline of 58 percent. The decline occurred at the time that Swarthmore dropped intercollegiate college football.

Now Swarthmore reports that once again there are 43 blacks in this year’s entering class. As was the case eight years ago, black students make up 11.6 percent of all freshmen at Swarthmore.