Preparing Social Work Faculty to Teach Financial Capability: Where We Stand

This article presents findings from a national online survey of social work faculty (N = 1,039) that examines financial and economic content in the current curriculum, gaps in coverage, and strategies for improving social workers’ academic preparation to work with populations living in extremely financially vulnerable circumstances. We sent the survey to all full- and part-time social work faculty listed on social work degree program websites. We find that nearly all respondents (92%) perceive financial and economic content as useful for their students. However, just more than half (54%) teach it. Faculty with some financial education, and who perceive it to be useful, are more likely to include financial content in the curriculum. Social work faculty are most likely to teach about financial-related public policies and programs, and least likely to teach about financial products and services, and financial management and practice. This article discusses implications for social work research and education, including the importance of rigorous research to understand the gap between coverage and perceived usefulness of financial and economic content. It concludes with suggestions for including more financial and economic content in the curriculum.