Student Townhall Tuesday FAQ

social work students talking in class

Case Western Reserve University and the Mandel School are working diligently on plans to deliver high-quality education while setting the highest priority for the health and safety of our community. We have been inspired by the amazing commitment and resilience of our students during these incredibly difficult times. To help build community and communication, the Mandel School Student Engagement Team is pleased to feature ongoing forums called Townhall Tuesday. All students are welcome to participate in these ongoing forums. This is your opportunity to share your voice and receive support as we navigate these challenging, uncertain times.

We have created this page to offer information gathered from Townhall Tuesday. We will continually update the page to be inclusive of students’ Frequently Asked Questions and overarching themes from ongoing Townhall Tuesday conversations. Please note there are still details that need to be worked out for the fall semester, but we want you to be informed as we move forward.

We are here to support you and look forward to another great year at the Mandel School. YOU are the future of the social work profession as Change Agents and social work leaders committed to building a more just world.

Financial Aid

As a part of the CARES act the Student Loan interest rates on Federal Direct Loans were temporarily changed to 0% from 3/13/2020-09/31/2020 and payments that were in a repayment status were placed in an administrative forbearance. Current students should remain in an in-school deferment if a student is enrolled at least half time.

For the 2020/2021 Academic year starting in the Summer semester interest rates for Federal Student loans are as follows:

  • 4.3% for Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • 5.3% for Direct PLUS Loans

Read more on the federal student loan website

Public Service Loan Forgiveness- (PSLF)

An overwhelming majority of students from the Mandel School pursue PSLF when they graduate, because of where they work in the nonprofit or public service sector. We don’t have an exact number of how many alumni have received the forgiveness but we will be highlighting those success stories in the future. The PSLF program requires borrowers of Federal Loans to make 120 payments on their student loans, while working full time in a qualified employer (501c3 Organization, or Public Service Organization). Many of our alumni work in this sector and qualify for this program. We recommend students with questions to reach out to Matthew Colver at or attend a workshop that is given over the year to ensure.

For additional information about the program, see the PSLF FAQ.  

Ongoing support and workshops about financial aid are available to students.

Financial Aid Support

Financial Aid workshops are given each semester for helping students manage student loans and financial resources. These workshops cover topics from budgeting, financial management, credit, Public Service Loan forgiveness and managing student loans after graduation.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Matthew Colver, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, for additional resources or support.


Scholarships are available to incoming and returning students. Contact Matthew Colver for more information about current scholarship support available through the Mandel School and other resources.

Dual Delivery of Courses

The health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty are our top priorities. Our classrooms and all public areas have been assessed to determine their capacity given social distancing requirements. The Mandel School classrooms were designed for seminars with up to 24 participants. In the fall term, most of the classrooms will have a social-distancing designed capacity of about eight students and one instructor. Many of our courses, because of their enrollment, will be able to meet on campus every week. However, the majority of the courses will require students to participate remotely every other week. For example, in Week 1 a portion of the students will come to campus for the course while the remainder participates via Zoom, either from home or an off-campus location. In Week 2, these groups will switch. The schedule is designed to maximize in-class participation with the instructor to the extent possible with social-distancing requirements.

All academic courses will be given in a dual-delivery format. This format assumes that some students will be in the classroom on campus while others are participating off-campus. All Mandel School classrooms have Zoom capability––they are actually the most technologically-advanced classrooms at our university. By using the dual-delivery format in all courses, we will be able to accommodate those students who are not able to come to campus because of health concerns. It is important to note that our faculty and instructors are working diligently to prepare for the dual-delivery format to ensure you receive high-quality instruction.

The Mandel School is working on building cohorts and grouping students for fall courses. The overarching goal is to maximize the time students have in face to face instruction with faculty members and also with peers, while minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19. To maintain physical distance, some class sizes will be divided into student group A and student group B to give all students the opportunity to be in the classroom with an instructor every other week. Fortunately 87% of all intensive weekend courses will be offered in our largest spaces for social distance allowing students access to the classroom and instructor every weekend. For students enrolled in the traditional weekly format, 40% of the courses will be offered every week and others in an every other week rotation. Students will be assigned which week they can appear in a physical or remote web-conferencing classroom using Zoom. More information will be available later in the summer on the implications of weekly rotation for class attendance on-campus. Any questions regarding this issue email

Students who choose to participate in class remotely may contact the Mandel School Academic Affairs office to confirm their preference. Send your request through email: with 1) subject line student request for remote only for student enrolled in on-ground or on-campus instruction; 2) message: I request to attend my on-campus courses remote only with your name, cell phone number and student identification number.

The goal is to maintain the current class schedule. Please note that students will receive communication if any course or schedule revisions are made by the Mandel School.

The University and Mandel School are working on a process by which students, faculty, and staff will be able to use various spaces and rooms for many purposes, such as breaks or classes. We are aware that the campus internet connection is very robust and reliable, which may be another reason why people come to campus. Many spaces around campus, including the Mandel School and Center will be used in creative, innovative ways for classes and/or meetings.

For health and safety reasons, students will need to secure their own technology and accessories (i.e., laptops, headphones, microphones). The Mandel School and library will not be able to issue these to students. Technology instructions and needs will be communicated to students prior to the start of fall semester.

In light of travel restrictions and ongoing, evolving concerns about COVID-19, the University is working on alternative plans for study abroad trips. More information about study abroad will be shared as it becomes available. This fall there will be at least 1 virtual study abroad course offered.

Field Education

All students received an initial Field Education Welcome Letter, which provides an overview of the summer field placement process. Please consult the Field Education Calendar for important dates. Final policies regarding field education for the upcoming academic year are still in development and will be shared with students once they are available.

Students should continue to work directly with their assigned field faculty advisors over the summer to answer any questions regarding field placements and to ensure students are fully prepared to begin field in the fall semester.

Students need to wait to begin field placements until the beginning of the fall semester. The student liability insurance does not begin until the start of the field period (as listed in SIS), so it is important to follow these guidelines. If students have orientation requirements at field placements before classes begin, they may accrue and apply these field hours for fall semester with the prior approval of their Mandel School field faculty advisor.

Students should check with their field faculty advisors for onboarding requirements, such as a background check, TB testing or fingerprinting. Background checks/fingerprinting can be obtained through the CWRU Division of Public Safety. Students are responsible for all costs related to obtaining the background check.

Sgt Daniel Schemmel, CWRU Campus Police,is the contact person for this service.

  • BCI cost is $35. BCI and FBI fingerprinting, cost is $70. (Cash only)
  • By appointment only on Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. No walk-ins.
  • Bring photo ID (drivers license preferred, state ID, passport)
  • Students should email or call to schedule with Sgt Schemmel at 216-368-5993 or visit the Public Safety Fingerprinting website.

The Mandel School will rely on field placement agencies to provide the necessary PPE as required by the policies of the individual placement sites--different sites will have varying requirements depending on the work the student is engaged in and the type of setting (ie health, community based, etc). If a student has a concern about PPE, they should first speak with their field advisor so that they might assist in following through with the organization to address/problem solve. Each student in the on-ground and intensive weekend programs will be provided with two cloth masks, which could also be used in field as a temporary measure.

COVID-19 Related Updates

Yes, in the University campus and buildings students are required to wear a mask. Each student will be provided with two cloth masks. If a person arrives at the school and has forgotten a mask, the school will provide a paper one.

Resources and Support

Case Western Reserve University and the Mandel School are actively working on ways to more fully integrate anti-racist materials and practices to improve education based on continued work towards dismantling systems of white supremacy and promoting social justice, including an emphasis on anti-racist work and actions on the part of white students. The Mandel School’s new generalist curriculum is being developed to intentionally incorporate material focused on diversity, inclusion, and social justice. The two-week CHAI (Change Agent Intensive) course will provide an immersion experience for first year students to learn about the social work profession, social justice, and building community. Advanced students will have exposure to new and different course material as well as field education opportunities. Campus and community Initiatives also provide ways for students to mobilize and take action. Whether students are looking for ways to support people of color or are seeking assistance, a growing list of videos and resources is being compiled for the Case Western Reserve community.

Undergraduate student leaders also have compiled a number of resources, available online, and the Graduate Student Council also has created a guide of anti-racism resources.

As social workers, we work for peaceful yet progressive change. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the nation, the Mandel School has compiled a list of anti-racism resources––articles, podcasts, videos, action items and more––to provide knowledge and tools to participate in key social justice issues.

This is an unprecedented time as we face the challenges of dealing with COVID-19 and confronting the effects of racism that are still deeply embedded in our society. The University and Mandel School are continuously updating the following webpages with new, evolving information to actively engage the entire campus community in health, safety, advocacy and action.

The Center for Civic Engagement & Learning (CCEL) at Case Western Reserve University is committed to promoting an active and engaged campus community. CCEL hopes to provide information on voter registration while also promoting diverse campus and community events related to upcoming elections. Contact CCEL to learn more about community resources, as well as ways to get involved in supporting voter rights.

More information available on the CWRU Elections and Voter Resources page.  


Send the request through email to for inquiries about information and services related to the Registrar’s office. Additional information may be found on the University Registrar website.

Access Services

All services (parking passes, student ID card or replacement card) can be accessed through CWRU Access Services. In fall 2019 Mandel School students (and other graduate and professional school students) opted to participate in RTA U-Pass. The U-Pass fee for graduate and professional school students is $47.50 per semester (fall and spring). The U-Pass sticker must be affixed to the student ID. Students will be receiving an email on or before July 24 to register for the sticker.

School Social Work

The Mandel School does certify students for school social work throughout the United States. The first step is for a student to review the specific state’s regulations, determine the requirements for school social work and contact the state board of social work to confirm guidelines. The regulations, requirements and process vary by state. Dean Sharon Milligan and Professor Sarah Andrews will be able to assist students with questions.