Advocacy & Policy

Policy Agenda

CSWE advocates for issues important to social work education by interacting with the U.S. Congress, the various agencies within the federal government, and other organizations throughout the social work and higher education communities.

CSWE and other organizations submitted guidance for the Biden administration in November 2020. The policy principles focus on social justice, higher education, equitable access to quality health care, support for aging populations, and addressing behavioral and mental health needs. 

Click the images below to view the advocacy and policy efforts led by CSWE and members.





Higher Education and Accreditation

CSWE is committed to ensuring integrity is maintained in higher education, particularly as it relates to social work education. This is done in part through the development of thoughtful policy governing accreditation and by monitoring the policies set forth in the Higher Education Act. The following document outlines the principles CSWE supports to ensure accessibility, affordability, and quality in higher education.  

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was created in 2007 to encourage students to pursue public service careers. Eligible employees who work at qualifying public service organizations and make 120 on-time monthly payments—which total 10 years of payments—can qualify for loan forgiveness. For professions such as social work, in which wages often are lower compared to other professions, PSLF encourages professionals to pursue opportunities in critical high-need areas. 

Social Justice

Social justice is central to the role social workers play in the various communities in which they serve. Social workers advance social justice by helping individuals address their unique needs and challenges by connecting them with necessary resources to help them lead full, healthy, and productive lives. In 2016 CSWE and its partners in the social work education community offered 20 recommendations for the incoming presidential administration to achieve measurable improvements for meeting the social, health, and behavioral health needs of all Americans by investing in the social work profession.

Health Care

Social workers are vital to health care in the United States and in areas like behavioral health, social workers are estimated to make up the largest percentage of the workforce. Furthermore, the need for social workers in health care is expected to increase. Social workers provide services in a variety of community settings in including schools, clinics, hospitals, child welfare agencies, and local, state, and federal agencies.

Opioid Crisis

As one of the largest providers of professional substance use and mental health services in the United States, social workers are in a unique position to serve the millions of Americans battling addiction. The following document outlines the principles CSWE supports related to federal policies and the opioid crisis. 

Chronic Care 

CSWE submitted a letter in January 2016 to Senate leaders regarding the Senate Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group's policy document on chronic care, including an endorsement of  the National Association of Social Workers' recommendations. 

Social and Behavioral Science Research

CSWE provided comments on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) 2016-2020 strategic plan. 


Federal funding supports schools and programs of social work by providing student financial aid programs, health professions education programs, mental and behavioral health training efforts, and social and behavioral research initiatives. These federal efforts promote a sustainable, skilled, and culturally competent workforce that keeps pace with the increasing demand for social work services. The CSWE PPI communicates with congressional social work champions throughout the annual appropriations process to advocate for robust funding for programs of importance to social work students and schools. Examples include the