Feb 16, 2013
Psychology Student

I am 100% dedicated to getting my MSW and becoming a social worker. I have applied for programs in Massachusetts and gotten into Simmons, Salem State, and BU. I am still waiting to hear from BC and Smith. My top choices are Simmons and Smith. Simmons and BU have offered me "financial aid" packages of a $20,500 unsubsidized loan (per year)... But I don't want to come out of school with massive debt. Does anyone have any experience or advice? I am a little terrified of the costs and would love any help I can get. Should I call the financial aid offices and ask what they would do in my position? Is it better to go to a public school like Salem State with a much lower price tag? Is it worth dragging out the timeline and going part-time but not graduating for 4 years?

Jun 15, 2012
Make sure to check what the real financial aid packages are...is that just for tuition? or does that include everything which is cost of attendance? (assuming you go full time, have a practicum, and do not work). These are the questions you should ask financial aid. Also, please reconsider a state school. Such schools usually provide a variety of practicum settings, stipend programs depending on your specialty, and allow you to graduate with many networked contacts and very little debt, with possiblility of a guaranteed job for a couple years! I would not suggest prolonging the MSW experience, unless you already have a cushy social work related job and just need the MSW to start licensing (even then you want to finish asap, everyone I know in this situation run and guns it in 2 years). Go check the social work department websites for each school and see which ones have stipend programs for studying a certain specialty and attending a certain practicum. This will be a big factor in the end, as it will help you pay down debt more quickly (if its a public service job, just pay for 10 years I think and rest is forgiven) or you may end up with no debt. Last but not least, make sure you go to a school that has classes and/or specialties in social work where you want to end up in. If you want to specifically work with the mentally ill, you do not want to be say in a advanced generalist program. Go over all the social work department websites for each school and you will be surprised as to the differences on what is offered. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
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