Newswise — Boise State University's online Master of Social Work (MSW) program has been ranked 8th in the nation in terms of affordability, according to SR Education, a non-profit organization that independently reviews hundreds of higher education institutions based on affordability, accessibility and quality.
"One of the great struggles I have as a dean is to help create accessible and affordable high quality education at a time when support for higher education is decreasing," said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. "The faculty and leadership in the School of Social Work have done an outstanding job of creating quality advanced degree programming that is affordable for students in Idaho and across the United States. There is a significant need for MSW trained professionals and the school has created needed programming that is accessible. They are to be commended for their efforts."
"It's wonderful to receive recognition for the high-caliber, affordable education we offer our students," said Randy Magen, director of the School of Social Work. "Tuition at some of our online competitors is two or three times what Boise State charges. To us that is a social justice issue; we don't want our students to graduate with a mountain of debt."
"The School of Social Work at Boise State is the only public institution that offers graduate social work education in Idaho," added Joelle Powers, associate dean in the College of Health Sciences. Powers helped launch the online program. She noted that given the current and predicted future needs for increased social work practitioners across the state and nation, "being able to offer students MSW programming in flexible and affordable formats is critical to our communities."
Earlier this year, SR Education also ranked Boise State's MSW program 18th overall in the nation.
"There are a lot of talented bachelor's educated people working in social services who are place-bound or have a family and are not able to come to the university to pursue their master's degree," Magen said. "The online program brings the master's degree to them and it does it in a way that is also affordable."
Boise state's online MSW features the same curriculum that on-campus students receive – the only difference is how the courses are conducted. While nearly one-third of Boise State online MSW students reside in Idaho, the program currently has students enrolled in 36 different states.
“Every county in Idaho is a behavioral health shortage area," Magen added. "That means there are not enough behavioral health professionals to meet the population's needs. The online MSW program is a way for us to supply professionals that already live in those rural areas."
To be considered for SR Education Group’s rankings, schools must offer at least one fully online degree in a given subject for the degree level that was required, or higher. That information was then weighed with program data including available degrees, tuition rates and details about program coursework, which were collected from official school websites.
Boise State’s School of Social Work offers both full-program Master of Social Work (MSW) and advanced standing MSW programs. The online curriculum is the same curriculum as the in-person curriculum delivered in Boise, Twin Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston. Megan adds that almost all of the online courses have been developed and are taught by full-time Boise-based faculty.
You can find out more about Boise State's social work programs here.