Social Work Program Enrollment Remains Strong in Spring 2021 Despite Pandemic

Published on : May 27, 2021

More than 70% of social work programs at each level reported that spring 2021 total enrollment remained flat or increased compared to spring 2020 total enrollment, according to new research from CSWE. As the pandemic continued to force higher education institutions to alter their operations in spring 2021, CSWE conducted a pulse survey to collect real-time data on the shifting landscape of social work education in the United States.  

The report provides insights into changes in enrollment; student and faculty mental health; applications received for fall 2021; and modifications to campus operations, field placements, budget, and staffing. Here are some results:  

  • More than three-quarters of all respondents (76.4%) indicated that applications for the fall 2021 semester have increased or remained flat. 

  • A preliminary analysis of total enrollment in social work programs from the 2019 and 2020 CSWE Annual Surveys shows a positive trend in social work enrollment for all degree levels from institutions reporting both fall 2019 and fall 2020 enrollment, highlighted by a 10.2% increase in enrollment in practice doctorate programs. 

  • Almost two-thirds of respondents (63.4%) indicated that more students were reporting mental health challenges in spring 2021 compared to previous years. 

  • More than half of respondents (54.7%) indicated that their programs’ budgets had been reduced going into spring 2021. 

  • A majority of programs (63.0%) indicated no changes had been made to their staffing levels for spring 2021. 

  • A majority of respondents said they saw no change in the time to degree for their program’s students compared to previous years. 

Download the report for more information.