Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Social workers support the social and emotional health of their communities. Discover the fastest online social work degree programs.
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  • A social work degree can launch your career in the community and social services field.
  • You can earn a fast track social work degree online.
  • Top-ranked accelerated social work programs help you graduate in under four years.

There's a high demand for social workers and other social services professionals. An accelerated social work degree can get you out of college and into the workforce quickly.

You'll learn about social work practice and social welfare while fast tracking your social work degree.

Ready to get started? Next, we'll look at how to earn a fast track social work degree online, including concentration options, application requirements, and career paths.

Top Accelerated Social Work Degrees

An accelerated degree can fast track your career. And you can start preparing for the workforce while in college. Many accelerated social work programs offer concentrations to focus your education.

By taking specialized classes, you'll prepare for a career in child welfare, healthcare social work, community services, or other social services fields. Common social work specializations include:

Learn more about social work specializations to find the fast track social work program that matches your interests and career goals.

Featured Online Social Work Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

1. Casework

Caseworkers help clients access services. During your accelerated social work degree, you'll strengthen your casework interviewing skills and learn about social work practice. Common career paths include case management aide, caseworker, and case manager.

Social workers earn a median annual salary of about $50,000, according to May 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Featured Casework Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2. Child Welfare

Concentrate in child and family social work to prepare for careers in child welfare. You'll learn how to advocate for children, manage the adoption process, and help neglected children.

You can use your accelerated social work degree to work in the child welfare system. Child and family social workers report a median salary of $50,820 per year (BLS, May 2022).

Featured Child Welfare Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

3. Community Services

Many social work majors work in the community services field. During college, you'll learn about community service delivery and practice. You can gain hands-on experience in community service agencies during a BSW practicum. After graduation, you'll qualify for many entry-level roles like social services assistant and caseworker.

Featured Community Services Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

4. Corrections

Social workers in the correctional system support clients on probation or parole. They also work in juvenile corrections. In this specialization, you'll learn about correctional programs and community-based corrections.

Once you graduate, you can pursue careers as a correctional treatment specialist. These roles earn a median salary of over $60,000 per year (BLS, May 2021).

Featured Corrections Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

5. Gerontology

With a gerontology focus, you'll learn how to assist aging adults. In addition, you'll learn how to prevent elder mistreatment and connect aging clients with social services.

This specialization prepares you to work in the growing healthcare gerontology field as a geriatric social worker. These social workers make a median salary of about $50,000 per year (BLS, May 2021).

Featured Gerontology Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

6. Healthcare

The healthcare field has many opportunities for social workers. During your accelerated social work degree, you'll study the healthcare system, case management, and advocacy.

In this specialization, you'll learn how to advocate for clients and connect them with healthcare services. As a healthcare social worker, you may earn a median annual salary of nearly $61,000 (BLS, May 2022).

Featured Healthcare Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

7. Mental Health Services

Explore mental health practice and mental health services with this social work concentration. You'll learn about service delivery and cultural factors shaping mental health services.

With this focus, you can become a behavioral disorder counselor or work in mental health roles. The median pay for behavioral disorder counselors exceeds $48,000 per year (BLS, May 2021).

Featured Mental Health Services Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

8. Public Health and Policy

The fields of social work and public health intersect in critical ways. You can learn how to prevent disease, intervene in health problems, and direct policy with a focus in public health and policy.

After graduation, you can become a health educator and teach communities about health and wellness. These roles report a median salary of $48,860 per year (BLS, May 2021).

Featured Public Health and Policy Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

9. School Social Worker

Support children in the school system with a focus on school social work. You'll learn how to coordinate with school staff and families to help students overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential. School social workers report a median salary of about $50,000 per year (BLS, May 2021).

Featured School Social Worker Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

10. Substance Misuse Counseling

Learn how to support individuals and groups with a focus on addiction and substance use disorders. You'll apply your social work education when working with clients to overcome substance misuse and connect them with treatment services.

In-demand addiction and recovery careers include counseling and social work roles. For example, as a substance misuse counselor, you can earn a median annual pay of $48,520 (BLS, May 2021).

Featured Substance Misuse Counseling Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Fast Can I Get an Online Bachelor's in Social Work?

The length of an accelerated degree in social work varies, but many schools condense full bachelor's programs into about two years of training. These programs usually require the same 120 credits as standard programs, just in more condensed class sessions.

Courses in an accelerated online bachelor's in social work may run for 5-8 weeks rather than the traditional 14-16 weeks. Every program and student is different, but you can expect to take about 10 courses per semester in an accelerated program, doubling the standard course load.

As a result, you might spend as much as 30 hours in class and 60 hours studying each week. If you have already completed some college coursework, you can earn your degree more quickly through a degree-completion program.

Fastest Accredited Online Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) Programs

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#1 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Little Rock, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $280
Out of State | N/A

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

The online bachelor of social work program at UA Little Rock teaches participants from a "person-in-environment" perspective about human behavior and social problems. This online program is only available to residents of Arkansas. 

Enrollees develop the practical skills needed to work with individuals, families, and groups. The curriculum covers topics like social welfare policy, social work practice, and addictions in social work. 

Degree-seekers put classroom knowledge to practice during required field experiences. Admission into this bachelor's in social work program requires completion of prerequisite coursework and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,495
Out-of-state
$18,750
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,760
Out-of-state
$13,050
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
9,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Campbellsville University

  • Campbellsville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $410
Out of State | $410

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Students can complete CU's bachelor of social work in two years if they transfer in a block of credits from an associate degree. The 51-credit major covers topics like human diversity and social policy and planning. Students learn how to work with different populations, such as families and larger groups.

Enrollees can use elective credits to explore issues such as crisis intervention or human rights. Participants receive field instruction that provides practical experience. Eight-week sessions can accelerate degree completion.

Enrollees can transfer up to 72 credits into this online bachelor's in social work program. Admission requires transcripts and three letters of reference.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,900
Out-of-state
$24,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,240
Out-of-state
$12,240
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
12,381
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $390
Out of State | $390

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Liberty's generous credit transfer policy makes earning a BS in social work a good option for degree-seekers with previous college experience. Students earn their degree in 3.5 years, on average.

The curriculum covers topics such as ethics in the helping professions, chemical dependency, and social work in mental health. The program features a virtual intensive and two semesters of field placements, giving participants practical experience.

Students can apply up to 90 transfer credits to this accelerated degree in social work. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and transcripts.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,980
Out-of-state
$7,980
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $391
Out of State | $586

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Depending on their academic experience, students can earn UND's BS in social work in 1-4 years. Online learners complete synchronous classes and make limited on-campus visits. Part-time enrollees can complete the 450-hour field placement over two semesters in their community.

Students transfer an average of 80 credits into UND's programs, and they can bring in up to 90 transfer credits. Online students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of where they live. Admission into this accelerated degree program in social work requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,212
Out-of-state
$14,371
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,534
Out-of-state
$18,434
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
13,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Brescia University

  • Owensboro, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $425
Out of State | $425

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Brescia offers an accelerated bachelor of social work for nontraditional learners, and many individuals who join this program are working students. Enrollees who have already completed general education requirements can earn their social work degree in two years. 

The major features 42 credits of courses examining topics such as social welfare policy and human behavior in the social environment. A series of courses also cover developing social work practice skills. Students get hands-on experience during field practice.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$22,900
Out-of-state
$22,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$550
Out-of-state
$550
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
42%
Students Enrolled
1,014
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#6 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Aurora University

  • Aurora, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $425
Out of State | $425

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Located in Illinois, AU offers an online bachelor of social work. Students complete this fast online bachelor's in social work by taking eight-week courses. Enrollees with previous college experience can graduate in as little as two years.

The 40-credit major covers issues like social work practice with individuals and families, research methods in social work, and social work institutions and policies. The program also offers a child welfare track for those who want to work in this area. Field instruction provides practical training. 

AU accepts up to 90 transfer credits from accredited colleges. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,800
Out-of-state
$24,800
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,600
Out-of-state
$12,600
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
6,246
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global

  • Marion, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $426
Out of State | $426

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

The bachelor of social work program at IWU features a faith-based curriculum. Students who enroll in this degree-completion program prepare for licensure in Indiana and other states. Students complete the flexible 22-course curriculum in 32 months by taking one six-week course at a time.

The program teaches social work practice skills for working with individuals, families, and larger groups. All enrollees complete an internship or field placement at a social service agency. Admission into this bachelor's in social work program requires at least 45 credits from a regionally accredited college.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,453
Out-of-state
$8,453
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,083
Out-of-state
$11,083
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,410
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Angelo State University

  • San Angelo, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $310
Out of State | $718

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

ASU offers a bachelor of social work through a degree-completion program. This pathway prepares generalist social workers for Texas board licensure. Enrollees learn how to assess and evaluate clients and implement intervention strategies. Participants apply their knowledge during fieldwork at local agencies.

Students can also build their practical knowledge by conducting research with faculty. 

The accelerated degree in social work offers a summer study abroad trip to Europe. Admission requires pre-social work requirements, such as 30 college credits earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,332
Out-of-state
$14,460
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$4,059
Out-of-state
$11,655
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
10,568
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Ursuline College

  • Pepper Pike, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit In State | $535 Out of State | $535

Credits to Graduate 120

Program Information Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Ursuline offers an accelerated BA in social work through its Ursuline College Accelerated Program. Participants enroll as third-year students. Enrollees learn the social work skills needed to work with various populations, taking classes like sociological theory and social welfare as a social institution. Participants can use electives to explore issues such as addiction or domestic violence.  

Students complete fieldwork at organizations doing work that matches their interests. Students interested in earning this accelerated degree in social work must meet prerequisites, sit for an interview, and submit two letters of recommendation.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,120
Out-of-state
$33,120
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$21,132
Out-of-state
$21,132
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
1,050
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Accelerated Social Work Degree Programs

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

  • Millersville, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $431
Out of State | $927

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Council on Social Work Education

Millersville's BA in social work program is a degree-completion option that enrolls students with an associate degree. Students choose a two-year or three-year degree completion pathway. Participants develop extensive training related to social work practice through simulations, role-playing, and other tools.

Participants can explore areas of interest, such as mental health or women's issues. Students pursuing this accelerated degree in social work also complete 450 hours of field experience at an agency. Admission requirements include an associate degree in human services or social services and a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,570
Out-of-state
$19,290
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,288
Out-of-state
$13,932
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
7,783
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
25% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

What Can I Expect From an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program?

A bachelor's in social work attracts all types of students, but many learners tend to be compassionate and empathetic. To work in this field, you should have strong skills in time management, communication, and problem-solving.

When choosing an accelerated program, you also need a strong work ethic and the ability to handle a heavy workload. In an online bachelor's degree in social work, you learn to use your skills to improve human rights and resources for disadvantaged people and communities.

Depending on your program, you might specialize in working with children, families, or the elderly. Or you might focus your studies on working in schools, the prison system, or other mental health facilities. Upon program completion, schools may award a bachelor of social work (BSW), BS, or BA degree.

What Courses Will I Take in an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program?

Want to know what you'll study? In most accelerated social work programs, you'll take courses in social work practice, policy, and ethics.

Social Welfare Policies

In this course, you'll learn about the development and implementation of social work policies. You'll study how policies impact people and communities and the role social workers have in shaping and delivering them.

Social Work Ethics

In this course, you'll learn about the ethical frameworks and standards used in the social work profession. Plus, you'll explore ways of solving ethical challenges and using your professional code of ethics to identify issues and improve your decision-making.

Human Behavior

This course examines how human behavior influences how we perceive and respond to events. You'll also study how society, culture, and development alter behavior and how to analyze that behavior.

Social Work Practice

In this course, you'll explore the various professional roles available to social workers. You'll also apply your schooling to practical situations, such as leading group sessions and working with community organizations.

Working with Trauma

In this course, you'll study various types of trauma and its effects. You'll also look at programs and methods for providing trauma-informed care and implementing management strategies. This course will also help you learn how to identify and educate clients on the impact of trauma.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program?

You may encounter different admission requirements depending on your school and program. Most accelerated online bachelor's in social work programs require at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. More competitive programs may ask for a minimum GPA and completed prerequisites.

Compared to on-campus programs, online programs usually feature the same requirements. However, you must meet the school and program's minimum technical requirements for an online program.

Application

You must complete and submit your undergraduate application through your school's online portal or a college application system, such as the Common App. These systems make it easier for you to apply to multiple schools without replicating information and resubmitting materials.

Test Scores

Test scores from college entrance exams help schools choose between similar applicants. At the undergraduate level, results from the SAT and ACT provide insight into your math, verbal, writing, and analytical abilities. While schools may provide waivers for these tests, others require you to meet minimum scores for entry.

Letters of Recommendation

Most school applications require 1-3 letters of recommendation from professionals who know you. The most effective letters come from teachers, school counselors, or employers from relevant fields. They should speak to your academic strengths and readiness for college.

Essays

College application essays help you stand out among the other applicants. These essays typically focus on a personal topic, such as a defining moment or what makes you unique. Schools may provide essay prompts or give you the freedom to select your own topic.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts are a major requirement for nearly all college applications. Schools need these records to see how you fared in your previous training and what prerequisites you have and need. For transfer students, previous college coursework may lead to transfer credits, which can save degree-seekers time and money.

How Do I Choose an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Social Work Program?

Want to earn your fast track social work degree online? It's critical to choose the program that fits your needs and goals. Here are some factors to consider.

Cost

Cost almost always plays a central role in the college decision process. You might compare online vs. on-campus program costs, public and private school tuition, or the differences between in-state and out-of-state rates.

In an accelerated program, you should also consider how your schedule impacts your ability to work.

Program Format

Since schools offer various program formats, you should evaluate which delivery method meets your needs best.

For example, you might weigh the pros and cons of synchronous and asynchronous learning or see if full-time or part-time studies fit your schedule best. Accelerated bachelor's degrees, in particular, require considerable schedule flexibility.

Location

Regardless of whether a program is online or on campus, you should include location on your list of school considerations. You may need to satisfy on-campus residencies to graduate, or you may want to use the campus facilities and go to events.

In-state schools also offer tuition discounts to residents, though some online schools provide in-state rates.

Accreditation

Choosing a school with college accreditation is essential. Attending an unaccredited school can negatively impact your financial aid, employment, or continuing education opportunities. You can also look for programs recognized by the Council on Social Work Education.

Student Support

High-quality student services can greatly improve your educational experience. In particular, online student services might provide you with academic and career support. Schools might also offer mentorship programs, internships and practicums, and networking opportunities.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW)? 6 Career Paths

Social Work Career Paths
Job Median Annual Salary (2021)
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $50,820
Community and Social Service Managers $74,000
Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers $48,860
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $60,250
Social and Human Service Assistant $37,610
Substance Misuse, Behavioral Disorders, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520
Source: BLS

With an accelerated social work degree, you'll qualify for nonclinical roles like caseworker, correctional treatment specialist, and health educator. You can also work as a BSW social worker. Common job titles include community manager, child advocate, and social assistant.

With experience, you can move into management roles as a community service manager, case manager, or social service manager. For clinical social work careers, you'll need a master's degree.

Career Outlook

With an accelerated degree in social work, you can apply to various community and social service jobs. As one of the most popular college majors, social work programs equip you with applicable skills to use in a fast-growing sector.

The BLS projects 10% growth for community and social service occupations between 2021 and 2031, adding almost 300,000 new jobs over that time. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $48,410 in May 2021, more than the median annual wage of $45,760 for all occupations.

You can also use your training as a foundation for careers in education or counseling if you wish to pursue more advanced degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Social Work Degrees

Can I get a bachelor's degree in one year?

Yes. By using transfer credits, you can earn a bachelor's degree in one year. Some schools allow transfer students to apply up to 90 credits, leaving only about 30 credits remaining for a bachelor's degree. Some degree-completion programs require you to finish in one year.

Without any transfer credits, however, you should expect to take two years to complete an accelerated degree, as condensing about 120 credits into 2-3 years may be too demanding.

Are accelerated degree classes worth it?

You must determine a degree's value for yourself, as it can vary depending on your perspective and goals. Accelerated degree classes provide substantial value if you need to complete your studies quickly.

Since accelerated courses cover the same material as standard courses, there is no difference between them other than the time it takes to complete them. In an accelerated program, you might gain more value from an online degree, as online training offers flexible study schedules and reduced travel requirements.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

Yes. An accelerated degree in social work should be as valuable as a traditional degree as long as it is accredited. These programs provide the same schooling and credentials in a more condensed package. The accelerated training may be even more valuable if you need an earlier graduation date.

Degrees do not typically disclose if you completed a traditional or accelerated program. However, you can provide this information to prospective employers, showcasing a high commitment and determination level.

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree in social work right for me?

To determine if an accelerated degree in social work is right for you, you should consider your learning style and schedule. You can complete an accelerated bachelor's in social work in about half the time of a standard program, but it may require twice the amount of studying each week.

In addition, accelerated programs often require full-time enrollment, making it very difficult to maintain a full-time job.

Are accelerated degree programs affordable?

Tuition for an accelerated degree in social work depends on the school and the program type. Typically, accelerated programs feature the same credits and costs as traditional programs.

Some schools may charge more for accelerated programs. In contrast, accelerated programs can cost less than standard programs, particularly in schools that charge by semester or year. Degree-completion programs may also cost less because of the reduced credit requirements.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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