Most Affordable Online Social Work Degree Programs

The field of social work is a broad and deep one and it includes any number of potential career options, ranging from high school social workers to CPS counselors, specialists, and clinicians. If you’re the type of person that knows how to help people in desperate circumstances, you’ll be able to find a niche career in this field.

Below we’ve compiled a list of a few of the most wallet-friendly options for obtaining a degree in social work, and the fact that they’re all formatted to be completed entirely online makes all the difference.

Methodology

All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online social work degree (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2022.

2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Social Work Degrees

RankSchoolAverage Net Price
# 1Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus$8,961
# 2Lewis-Clark State College$10,775
# 3Western New Mexico University$13,679
# 4Eastern Kentucky University$13,763
# 5Brescia University$13,831
# 6Wichita State University$14,859
# 7Troy University$14,992
# 8University of Arkansas at Little Rock$16,065
# 9University of North Dakota$16,966
# 10Aurora University$16,994
# 11Touro University Worldwide$17,031
# 12University of Nebraska at Kearney$17,099
# 13Saint Leo University Online$18,445
# 14The University of Tennessee – Knoxville$18,579
# 15Malone University$18,965
# 16Campbellsville University$19,819
# 17Indiana Wesleyan University Online$21,204
# 18Briar Cliff University$22,212
# 19University of Cincinnati$22,415
# 20King University$22,535
# 21Virginia Wesleyan University$22,653
# 22Limestone College$25,160
# 23Misericordia University$27,077
# 24Liberty University$29,382

10 Best Affordable Colleges for Online Social Work Degrees

1. Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

Average Net Price: $8,961
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 51%

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus has the second best student life of any college in New Mexico, according to Niche.com. ENMU offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree and holds accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education. Eastern New Mexico University is known as a Hispanic-serving institution with a rigorous and popular online focus and a large medical social work program. No application fee is required. At 84%, the school has a significantly higher than average post-graduate employment rate.

2. Lewis-Clark State College

Average Net Price: $10,775
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Acceptance Rate: 100%

Lewis-Clark State College is ranked fourth best in Idaho for the quality of its professors, according to Niche.com. According to the U.S. News and World Report, it sits at #23 in Regional Colleges West. The school offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree that aligns with the recommendations of the Council on Social Work Education. Because Lewis-Clark State College has a small student population, students enjoy a high degree of attention and support from faculty and staff. There is no application fee to apply and standardized test scores, such as the SAT or the ACT, are optional. It also has a higher than average rate of placing students into employment within two years of graduation (89%).

3. Western New Mexico University

Average Net Price: $13,679
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 100%

Western New Mexico University is ranked 4th for Colleges with the Best Professors in New Mexico according to Niche. The school offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree, a Master of Social Work degree, and a Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing degree. WNMU’s social work program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1994. It offers a flexible block schedule semester design, which makes it easier to earn an online social work degree while also working full-time. Because WNMU has low enrollment, class sizes are small and students enjoy a higher level of attention and support from faculty. Around 81% of students from Western New Mexico University are employed within two years of graduation.

4. Eastern Kentucky University

Average Net Price: $13,763
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Acceptance Rate: 98%

Eastern Kentucky University is ranked #54 in Regional Colleges South and is recognized by Human Services EDU as one of the most affordable Bachelor of Social Work programs in the country, multiple certificate options, compressed terms, and the opportunity to earn a Public Child Welfare Certificate while working on a bachelor’s. The school offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree and Undergraduate Certificate in Youth Services, as well as a Master in Social Work degree and certificate programs in Addictions Intervention, Mental Health, Child and Family Services, Leadership and Management, and Social Advocacy and Justice. It has held accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education since 1977. Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or the ACT, are not required for the application. Eastern Kentucky has a higher than average two-year post-graduate employment rate (90%) and its alumni tend to earn more than the national average in their first jobs.

5. Brescia University

Average Net Price: $13,831
School Type: Private, Non-Profit, Catholic
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Acceptance Rate: 48%

Brescia University is 4th in Hardest Colleges to Get Into in Kentucky and Most Diverse Colleges in Kentucky, according to Niche.com, and one of Niche’s “Best Colleges” in 2020. According to the U.S. News and World Report, it sits at #18 for Best Value Schools and #35 in Regional Colleges South. The school offers an Associate in Human Services, a Bachelor of Social Work degree, a Master of Social Work degree, and a Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing degree. The majors in Social Work and Youth Services are some of the school’s most widely-renowned undergraduate programs. Its programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. As a very small college, with fewer than 800 students and a fairly competitive acceptance rate, Brescia is able to provide its students with a high degree of support and attention.

6. Wichita State University

Average Net Price: $14,859
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 80%

Wichita State University is ranked 6th in Top Public Universities in Kansas, making it a formidable contender in your search for a school at which to obtain a social work degree. The school offers a Bachelor of General Studies – Social Work degree and a Master of Social Work degree. Its undergraduate program is one of the oldest such programs in the country and both it and the graduate program are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or the ACT, are not required in order to apply. At 91%, Wichita State has a much higher than average two-year post-graduate employment rate, and in their first jobs, alumni tend to earn considerably more than the national average.

7. Troy University

Average Net Price: $14,992
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Acceptance Rate: 92%

Troy University ranks 19th among the best online colleges in America, according to Niche.com. Troy is also ranked 17th in Top Public Schools, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree and a Master of Social Work – Direct Practice for BSW degree. Its online social work program aligns with the goals and objectives set out by the Council on Social Work Education and is known for its innovative course design and job preparation focus. Troy University has a large online focus, which means students in the social work degree online program enjoy a high degree of expertise and support for successful online learning. It also has a higher than average rate of placing students into employment within two years of graduation (88%).

8. University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Average Net Price: $16,065
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 56%

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is ranked 87th in the nation in Top Public Schools, according to the U.S. News and World Report. The university’s online social work program offers a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Master of Social Work degree. Its School of Social Work is the longest-running social work program in the state of Arkansas and the only one in the state to provide an online option. The university faculty is rated highly by both their peers and their students, and despite the school’s large student population, the student-to-faculty ratio sits at a competitive 12:1. It has a higher than average post-graduate employment rate (89%) and, in their first jobs, its alumni tend to earn slightly more than the national average.

9. University of North Dakota

Average Net Price: $16,966
School Type: Public, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 87%

According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of North Dakota ranks 35th in Best College Athletics in the country and first in the state in five categories, according to Niche.com. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, a Master of Social Work – Distance Concentration, and a Master of Social Work – Distance Foundation. It also provides minor concentrations in Gerontology and in Chemical Dependency. Because it archives all course materials, students proceed through the online courses at their own pace and not within the confines of a set semester. Standardized test scores, such as the SAT or the ACT, are not required to apply, and the school has a rolling application deadline. At 96%, UND also has one of the country’s highest two-year post-graduate employment rates, and its alumni tend to earn much more than the national average in their first jobs.

10. Aurora University

Average Net Price: $16,994
School Type: Private, Non-Profit
School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Acceptance Rate: 84%

Aurora University is a private institution of higher education located in Aurora, Illinois. AU maintains accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers over 100 degree programs to its over 4,000 students. Aurora hosts over 60 student organizations, ensuring that they maintain a thriving extracurricular culture even outside of athletics. Aurora University’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares students with the skills and knowledge necessary to help individuals, families, and society overall. AU’s Social Work department ranks fifth in the nation and sixth in fastest online social work programs according to Best Colleges. Best Colleges also ranks the school itself sixth in fastest online social work programs, seventh in best accelerated online degree programs of 2022, eighth in most popular online social work degree programs, and ninth in most affordable online colleges in Illinois while Niche ranks Aurora as the 8th safest college campus in Illinois, 15th best value college in Illinois, and 11th best value college in the Chicago area.

Sources:

Niche.com
U.S. News and World Report

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