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Tuition and Financial Aid

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M.S.W. Program Cost of Attendance

Let’s discuss the expected tuition for your program, the ways you might pay for your degree, and the average salaries that social workers earn.

Tuition for the online M.S.W. Program format varies based on the number of credits and courses and associated fees. Our online M.S.W. Program format is 60 credits spread out over 20 courses for the regular standing format, or 42 credits over 14 courses for the advanced standing format. Fees vary depending on the number of credits and field placements you take each semester. The tuition rates for master’s, doctoral and first-professional programs at VCU are outlined in the 2023-24 tuition and fees document (pages 55-56 for social work online full-time and part-time rates). The post-undergraduate tuition calculator is also available to estimate costs but does not include field fees.

In-State Tuition Per Credit: Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit: Fees:
$634 $750 There is a $100 per-credit-hour program fee, in addition to library and technology fees. More details here for the School of Social Work fees. Information regarding the mandatory university fees can be found here.

For most graduate and professional studies programs, students enrolled in 8 credits or less are charged tuition and fees at the per-credit-hour rate. If you are planning to enroll on a part-time basis, multiply the per-credit-hour rate by the anticipated hours of enrollment.

Post-undergraduate programs are considered full-time at 9 credits. Most programs are assessed a flat tuition rate for enrollment in 9 to 15 credits. A graduate student enrolled in more than 15 credits during any semester will be charged an overload tuition fee.

VCU reserves the right to adjust tuition costs as necessary. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees and fee collection procedures at any time. The VCU Board of Trustees sets official fees in June/July of each year. Students may be responsible for purchasing books and other materials for various courses throughout the program.

Is This a Good Investment?

Graduates from this program most often find employment as social workers. Nationally, the median social worker pay is $50,390.* Earning potential for social workers can vary based on experience, location and credentials. We encourage prospective students to research and learn about the compensation for different social work career paths.

Mean Annual Salaries of Virginia Social Workers

A hand holding a money bag
Job Child, family, and school social workers
Job Health care social workers
Job Mental health and substance use social workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

How Will You Pay Tuition?

Students have a variety of options to fund their tuition. Some of the most frequently used funding options are included below, but we encourage you to consult with the Financial Aid Office and/or a financial advisor when determining the best options available.

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The federal government provides loan options for graduate students. Eligibility for these loans is not affected by household income. The VCU Financial Aid Office works with two types of U.S. federal government loans:

  • Federal Direct Loans: This is generally the lowest-cost loan available, for up to $20,500 each academic year. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, take at least six credits per semester, and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to qualify.
  • Federal Graduate PLUS Loans: If you need to borrow more, then a Graduate PLUS loan can generally cover the remainder. You will need to submit the application for the Federal Direct loan prior to applying for the Federal Graduate PLUS Loans.

If federal loans are unavailable or insufficient, VCU’s Office of Financial Aid can help you explore private or alternative education loans. Unlike federal loans, private loans do not require a FAFSA to apply. Private loan approval is generally based on creditworthiness and ability to repay. Some students may need to apply with a credit-worthy co-signer. Interest rates, grace periods, repayment options and fees are determined by the lender and can vary considerably from lender to lender; generally, private or alternative education loans charge higher interest rates than federal loans.

There are many options for reducing your financial responsibility for graduate school at VCU. To learn more, check out the university’s graduate funding opportunities. The School of Social Work also has M.S.W.-specific scholarships available for current students, and the Child Welfare Stipend Program offers funding for students who apply and are accepted, with a post-graduation work requirement.

Child Welfare Stipend Program at VCU

Preparing social work practitioners to engage families, support children, and foster connections.

Full-time M.S.W. students accepted into this program receive a $10,000 stipend per academic year. In exchange for the stipend and child welfare training, the stipend recipient has a work payback requirement which requires them to work at a local department of social services within the Commonwealth of Virginia, in family preservation, foster care, or adoption, for one calendar year for each academic year the stipend was received. The Child Welfare Stipend Program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services and Virginia Commonwealth University. This training program, funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, prepares social work students for a career in public child welfare.

For questions about the program, contact Naomi Reddish, Child Welfare Stipend Program coordinator, at

Who Is Eligible?

Current and prospective full-time M.S.W. students and B.S.W. seniors at VCU who plan to complete their field placement in Virginia and work in Virginia following graduation.

What Are the Requirements While Completing An M.S.W?

  • Be a full-time M.S.W. student
  • Complete during a fall-spring term (funding not available for summer semesters).
  • Maintain a 3.0 grade point average
  • Complete two Child Welfare courses, Child Welfare Policy and a Child Welfare Practice elective
  • One field practicum at a local department of social services and one field practicum in a child-serving setting
  • Complete VDSS new worker training and attend child welfare-focused workshops held throughout the academic school year, which may require in-person attendance and travel to Richmond, Virginia

What Are the Requirements After Graduation?

  • Commit to work at a local department of social service within the Commonwealth of Virginia one (1) calendar year for each academic year the stipend was received
  • Secure qualifying full-time employment within six (6) months after graduation

How To Apply?

Contact or learn more about the program.


If you have any tuition or aid questions that are not covered by materials on our website or in the general information the VCU M.S.W Admissions Team shares, please call VCU Financial Aid at (804) 828-6669 or email us at


Bachelor’s degree is required.

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