New Survey Reveals Encouraging Enrollment Data Despite National Pandemic

Published on : October 22, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force higher education institutions in the United States to quickly make adjustments and alter the way they operate this school year, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) conducted a “pulse” survey of members to better understand how social work education programs in the United States are being affected.

More than 250 unique institutions responded to the survey, representing 214 baccalaureate programs, 131 master’s programs, nine practice doctorate programs, and 22 research doctorate programs. Survey results indicate several important findings:
  • Among all program levels, 18.6% of respondents kept a traditionally in-person program in-person for fall 2020, whereas 45.2% moved a traditionally in-person program to a hybrid format (with at least 50% of course time administered remotely), and 37.8% moved a traditionally in-person program entirely online.
  • Most programs reported that it was a challenge to find appropriate field placements for their students for fall 2020 (77.3%), primarily due to the field site cancelling or modifying field placements for students (54.9%).
  • Most programs at all levels reported seeing fall 2020 total enrollment remain flat or increase compared to fall 2019 total enrollment, with 43.4% reporting an increase in enrollment. (Overall enrollment in higher education is down 1.8% compared to the same period last year, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, and undergraduate enrollment is now 4% lower than it was last fall.)
  • Almost two-thirds of programs reported that they did not experience any deferments by newly accepted students.
  • A majority of the 257 programs that responded indicated that no changes had been made to their staffing levels for fall 2020.
Respondents were asked questions about program delivery, enrollment trends, field placements, and budget and staffing. E-mail invitations were sent to program representatives from all CSWE-accredited baccalaureate and master’s social work programs and to primary contacts for the practice doctorate and research doctorate programs sections for the CSWE Annual Survey of Social Work Programs.
Read the full report here.