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Has anyone went through the MSW@USC


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I am working on my SOP and application to be excepted by USC MSW online program. It is about 3X the cost of other programs but has a Military program unlike anyone else. I was given a lot of info about student loan forgiveness after 10 years in public service, my question would be can anyone give me feedback about the program and any advice about the financial part of it all. 

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Just want to let you know that I'm at the "original" USC - University of South Carolina (founded in 1801). I'll graduate from the MSW program in May 2017. The program offers a military focus (and a certifcate called "Military Matters"). I decided on U of SC because my focus is aging, and there is a specialization track for that, as well as a multi-disciplinary gerontology certificate. I know students who are doing field placements at the VA (some, I believe are paid) and they love it. I'm currently taking a military social work class as an elective and I enjoy it. 

I was living in California and trying to find a program in a place with a lower cost of living (I lived in San Diego). U of SC made it easy for me to decide. They offer graduate assistantships to out of state students which provide in-state tuition, a small stipend (~$300/month in exchange for 7.5 hours of work one day per week - most students support faculty members which often opens them up to other opportunities and projects), and discounted student health insurance. My tuition (with fees, etc). is about $19K per year.  I applied to eight programs across the country and SC was the only one that offered so much support. I also know students who are in the Health/Mental Health specialization, and they are part of a grant that reduces their tuition.

USC also offers dual degree programs for MPH and MPA, so you can get two masters degrees in 3 years instead of 4. In retrospect, I wish I had done the MSW/MPH track.

Columbia is a pretty inexpensive and easy place to get around, too. I rent an adorable 1000 sf house with a big backyard for $700/month that's 2 miles from campus. I'm not sure if I'll stay in Columbia after graduation, but the nice thing about the Southeast is there are lots of cities relatively close by: Charlotte is 90 mins to the north, Atlanta 3 hours to the southwest, Knoxville is 4 hours away, Jacksonville is about 6 hours away. 

I would never take on massive debt for an MSW degree. But that's obviously a personal decision. Good luck!


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