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Research Brief: Career Implications of Doctoral Social Work Student Debt Load

Although research has been conducted in other professional disciplines, social work has yet to explore how doctoral student debt load influences career development. This exploratory mixed methods study surveyed 281 social work doctoral students and recent graduates, 75 BSW and MSW program leaders, and 24 doctoral program leaders about student debt load, career choices, financial anxiety, and programmatic responses. The companion paper—“Career Implications of Doctoral Social Work Student Debt Load”— was chosen as the JSWE Best Empirical Article of Volume 53, highlighting the importance of this research for the social work profession.

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