Bachelor of Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work - St. Augustine College
Academic Level
Issue Area
Academic Program
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Bilingual /ESL,


This is one of three Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programs in Chicago. It is the only BSW program of its kind in a Midwest college with a bilingual curriculum. The BSW program started in response to a need for bilingual social workers in local agencies, and a more empowered Latino community. A 2004 Survey by the National Association of Social Workers, found only 4% of licensed Social Work respondents in Illinois were Hispanic. Latinos represent only 11% of the BSW graduates nationally and only 9% of the MSW graduates (CSWE, 2013). Students progress from an AA degree, to BSW degree, and are eligible after graduation for an accelerated Master of Social Work degree. This BSW program provides access to higher education (90% of students start college with remedial English and Math). The college has the lowest tuition of any private Chicago college. Students pay $9,840 per year from their PELL grant and financial awards for 12 credit hours per semester. The college provides very low cost childcare, free parking, and free tutoring.

Program Description

The mission of this Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is to prepare graduates for entry into generalist social work practice with diverse urban populations. It aspires to fill cultural, educational, and socioeconomic gaps, beginning with those in the multi-cultural and multi-linguistic neighborhoods of Chicago. Program goals include: Advocacy for social justice and individual well-being on behalf of oppressed and vulnerable people A commitment to life-long learning and professional development The program must demonstrate competency in 10 domains of social work practice (with 41 practice behaviors) to maintain CSWE accreditation.


Current program enrollment has 61 students and 90% are Latino. Graduation rates in 2013 were 58% for BSW students two years after they earned a pre-requisite AA degree. The graduation rate increased to 90% for students 4 years after the AA degree. The college graduation rate was 25% in 2013 (IPEDS 2013-14). More than 350 students graduated since the program began. Although graduation takes our students longer they are indeed persistent non-traditional Latino students. Students’ BSW internships are in local social, health, educational, and community agencies. Thirty-two of the agencies approved and used for internships are agencies serving the Latino populations of Chicago. A sample of graduates who contacted advisors in Dec. 2012-May 2013 showed that 56% of 57 students reported having employment in Latino serving social, educational, or health agencies. Also 32% of the same group reported applying to MSW programs. The number of MSW applicants grows each year. It is estimated that 15% of BSW students continue for the MSW degree.