By Kristin Milligan
Social Media Editor
A $1.5 million grant to Fresno Pacific University is launching a program for students earning a bachelor’s degree in social work to pursue their master’s degree in one year instead of two.
The grant from the California Department of Health Care Access & Information will “cover the entirety of the direct cost to establish a new (masters of social work) and operate it,” said Anna James Miller, director of grant funding for Fresno Pacific.
The program will commence in 2024. The hope is that FPU students utilize this opportunity to complete their master’s degree in an efficient manner. At the same time, organizers said the program recognizes the students’ need for a space that supports the combination of their passion for empowering communities with the fundamental practices of their faith.
This $1.5 million plan also aims to provide funding for scholarships and childcare, and removes financial barriers that may prevent people from participating. After the grant expires, university officials expect tuition costs to sustain the program.
Depending on the demand for the program, the university plans on making the master’s program available at two additional campuses by 2026, North Fresno and Visalia, enrolling about 15 students per campus.
“Over the past eight years, our BSW graduates have consistently told us they are looking for an MSW option that is rooted in the values and peace tradition of an FPU education,” School of Humanities Dean Ron Herms said in a written statement. “I am thrilled that we can now offer an accelerated (one-year) MSW program for them and so many other regional social workers with such a well-respected faculty team.”
Herms added that the university expects to roll out a two-year master’s program in social work for students who have their bachelor’s degree in other disciplines.
The state issued $59.4 million in grants to support social work education at 23 schools on Feb. 1. Among seven universities starting new MSW programs, Fresno Pacific’s application had the second highest score. Other schools receiving grants in the category were University of Southern California, Palo Alto University, Point Loma University, San Diego State University, Samuel Merritt University, and California State University, East Bay. The funding also supports the expansion of 16 MSW programs.