Think you can't get in?

Why? Are you intimidated because Penn is an Ivy League institution of higher education? If so, think again. Do you have a solid undergraduate academic record, or perhaps a graduate degree demonstrating strong academic performance? Do you have relevant experience (volunteer or paid)? Can you explain why you want to enroll in one of the programs offered at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice? Will your letters of recommendation be supportive? Are you ready for a challenging academic course of study? If you still have doubts, contact the Admissions Office at 215-898-5539.

Think you can't afford it?

Paying for a graduate education is a significant investment. For most students, finding the means to meet the cost of attendance can be an intimidating experience. However, SP2 and the Federal government are committed to making access to a graduate education both possible and affordable. Most students use a variety of resources in financing their graduate education, all employing solutions that are tailored to their personal financial situation. The financial aid office at SP2 is always available to assist students in coming up with a personalized plan to meet their needs and to help guide students through the application process. Below are just a few examples of how students just like you make it work.

Think you can't make a living?

Through the use of personal resources, federal financial aid programs and scholarships, it is more than possible to afford a graduate degree at SP2. Still, investing in a graduate education should take careful consideration of both the costs and benefits. Information on the cost of attendance can be found on our website. Aside from personal enrichment and an increased understanding of our world, the financial benefits of completing a graduate degree far outweighs the costs. Particularly in occupations that do not command exorbitant salaries, completion of a graduate degree is the gateway towards occupational advancement and higher earnings. Typically, a Master’s degree leads to at least a $400,000 increase in lifetime earnings, while the average SP2 student graduates with about $60,000 in debt. Still, the recent economic downturn has spurred most employable individuals to more carefully evaluate their future financial picture; as they should. We recently surveyed our recent graduates to see what the future holds for potential students interested in becoming leaders of social change. These real examples are typical of what our graduates had to say.

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How to Make it Work for You

Ted is a full time student in the Master’s of Social Work program. Ted had to relocate to Philadelphia from out-of-state with little in the way of financial resources. Fortunately, SP2 charges the same tuition rate to in-state students as out-of-state students. As Ted is in his late 20’s, is single and his prior employment contract was not renewed, Ted enrolled in the University’s health insurance plan. Ted has financed his tuition, mandatory fees, books, insurance and other living expenses through a few different sources including:
SP2 Scholarships: $15,000
Federal Direct Stafford Loan: $20,500
Federal Perkins Loan: $2,800
Federal Work Study: $2,000
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: $20,600
Though Ted has taken a significant amount of loans, he plans on using the Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs to reduce his overall debt and monthly loan payments after graduation. Ted is able to get a little extra spending money by using his work-study job in conjunction with his field placement

Sam is a full time student in the Master’s of Social Work Advanced Standing program. Sam is covered under her parents insurance and commutes from her parents’ home in New Jersey to help save on living expenses. Sam graduated from her undergraduate institution just a few months before joining SP2. She funds her tuition, fees and books through the following sources:
SP2 Scholarships: $5,000
Federal Direct Stafford Loan: $41,000
Federal Perkins Loan: $3,800
Federal Work Study: $2,000
Sam also uses her field placement site as her work study job.

Nikki is a part-time student in the Masters of Non-Profit Leadership program while working full time. As a part-time student, the University does not require Nikki to have health insurance though she is covered under her employer. Nikki receives a scholarship of $1,350 towards each course that she takes and uses her AmeriCorps Segal Education Award from previous volunteering to help cover tuition and fees. Nikki uses her income from work to pay the balance of tuition and fees.

Amelia is a full time student in the Master’s of Social Policy program. Amelia is insured through her parents. Amelia had saved some of her income from working between graduating from her bachelor’s program before enrolling at SP2. She uses these funds to pay for her living expenses during the year. To cover her tuition, fee and book expenses Amelia uses the following sources of aid:
SP2 Scholarships: $13,000
Federal Direct Stafford Loan: $20,500
Federal Work Study: $2,000
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: $14,400

Amelia works part-time off campus at a community outreach center while being paid through the Federal work-study program. She has Federal student loans that were placed in deferment while Amelia is in school. She also plans on using the Income Based Repayment and Public Service Forgiveness programs when she consolidates her undergraduate and graduate loans after she graduates.

Life After Graduation

Jonathan graduated in May of 2009 with a Master’s of Social Work and a Master’s of Science in Non-Profit Leadership. Jonathan currently works at a university in California, making $70,000 a year. Jonathan graduated with $59,000 in graduate students loans, about average for an SP2 graduate, and is aggressively paying them down; he still owes roughly $42,000. Jonathan pays $1,000/month towards his student loans despite a minimum payment of $670. Jonathan pays $875/month for rent, puts $500 towards retirement and $500 in personal savings. The rest of his monthly income is used for utilities, food and entertainment.

Christine graduated in May 2010 with a Master’s of Social Work. She currently works in New Jersey in hospice care, working with 35 – 50 clients, and earns $50,500 a year. Christine graduated with $47,000 in student loans, below average for an SP2 graduate. Christine elected to enroll in an extended repayment plan and pays about $300/month on her student loans. Christine’s pays $280/month in insurance and utilities and another $600 in rent. Christine’s employer does not have an LCSW so she pays $200/month to a supervisor outside of her employer for the needed hours for her own license. The balance of her earnings are saved and used for international travel.

Samantha graduated in May 2007 from the Master’s of Science in Social Policy program. Sam found a job in her hometown right after graduation and makes $42,000 a year. Sam graduated with $87,000 in student loans; well above average for an SP2 graduate. Sam enrolled in the Income Based Repayment program and pays about $250/month on her federal student loans. Sam’s monthly take home pay after taxes, insurance and a 3% contribution to her retirement plan is about $2,300. Monthly, Sam spends $575 on rent, $800 on food and entertainment, and $250 on gas and car maintenance. Samantha adds $400 every month to her personal savings.

Keith graduated in May of 2010 with a Master’s in Social Work. He currently resides in Philadelphia working as a clinical social worker. Keith’s take home pay is $3,200 a month. Keith graduated with $90,600 in student loans, above average for an SP2 graduate. Keith is enrolled in income based repayment and pays $690 monthly towards his students loans. Keith works at a non-profit and plans on using Public Service Loan Forgiveness to have a portion of his debt forgiven. Keith spends $1,000 monthly in rent, $200 on utilities, $250 towards personal credit card debt, and roughly $150 on incidental expenses. The $910 balance of Keith’s income is used for food and entertainment. Unfortunately, Keith does not have a plan to build his personal savings.