USC’s School of Social Work Faces Budget Crisis After Online Courses Made Enrollment Skyrocket

Students are seen walking past the Suzanne Dworak-Pech School of Social Work at the University of Southern California in this undated photo. (Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Students are seen walking past the Suzanne Dworak-Pech School of Social Work at the University of Southern California in this undated photo. (Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A decade ago, USC was looking for a way into online education, which promised a gush of new tuition dollars without the expense of additional dorms and classrooms.

Under then-Provost C.L. Max Nikias, USC signed on with an East Coast digital learning start-up, and the university’s well-regarded social work school soon rolled out an online master’s program.

Enrollment exploded. The student body grew from about 900 in 2010 to 3,500 in 2016, and the social work school became the largest in the world.

That rapid growth, designed to assure a stable future, has instead left the school reeling. As The Times reported in May, USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is facing a budget crisis so severe that nearly half of the staff may lose their jobs.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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