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Masters in Social Work Cost

How Much Does a Masters in Social Work Cost?

low costLow: Graduate Tuition Averages $13,800 a Year at Public Universitiesaverage costMedium: Graduate Tuition Averages $36,300 a Year at Private Universities
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Social workers can choose from a wide variety of positions, including private counseling, case management and community activism. Social work is also part of the growing heath care professional field, and the employment outlook for people who hold an MSW is considered good according to the federal government's Occupational Outlook Handbook . Social workers also get the satisfaction of assisting clients who are in need or in transition[1] : they help the homeless find shelter, assist children in distress, and counsel people through mental illnesses or the loss of a loved one. As the OOH also notes, a master of social work is required for almost all social work positions.

Typical costs:

  • Tuition and fees for a master's degree program average $13,800 a year at public universities and $36,300 a year at private universities, according to the National Center for Education Services.
  • There are currently 186 MSW programs[2] accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • At the University of Michigan, the top-ranked state, and second-ranked overall MSW program, according to U.S. News and World Report[3] , tuition[4] is about $20,000 a year for Michigan residents and $32,000 for out-of-state residents.
  • Compare that tuition to $30,180 per year at Washington University[5] , ranked number one according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • In the top ten alone there were five state schools, charging from ,802 at the University of Washington[6] to ,200 at the University of California, Berkeley[7] for in-state residents.
  • Tuition costs listed above are annual, but most MSW programs last 2 years.
Related articles: College, Law School

What should be included:
  • Most programs require two years of fulltime study in the classroom and around 1000 hours of hands-on training in the field.
  • Hands-on internships are usually required.
Additional costs:
  • The MSW program at the University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, estimates that students will need about $21,000 for costs outside of tuition, including room, board, healthcare and books. Columbia offers a similar cost-of-living estimate[8] .In contrast, the University of Michigan estimates that students will need $13,000 for room, board and books[9] .
  • Fellowships are available for MSW students through organizations such as the National Association of Social Work [10] .
  • Some states offer loan forgiveness to social workers who meet specific criteria; New York State's program[11] forgives up to $26,000 of student loan debt for social workers.
  • Financial aid packages are offered to MSW students, and may include university assistance for tuition. Columbia University students, for example, received more than $2 million in university grant money[12] during the 2007-2008 academic year.
  • Some universities, such as Loyola University in Chicago offer an accelerated, one-year MSW for students who've already completed a BSW.
Shopping for a masters in social work:
  • The Guide to Selecting and Applying to Master of Social Work Programs[13] helps prospective students chose and apply to MSW programs.
  • In addition to U.S News and World Report[14] , the Princeton Review offers their Gourman Report of Graduate Programs[15] for rankings of MSW programs.
  • Remember that universities granting MSW degrees should be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • The New Social Worker[16] , an online magazine and networking site for social work professionals, also offers resources for prospective students.
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