The field of social work is quickly becoming a high-demand area in which to study and gain employment. In today’s tough economy, social work has become an important area of study.
Typically, in order to practice social work, an individual needs to earn at minimum a master’s degree. In order to assist the social work student in earning a degree, there are many federal, state, and local grant and scholarship programs available.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Please know that scholarship and grant programs are created and discontinued frequently and so it is important to continue your research into grant programs so that no opportunities are missed.
At the national level, there are several programs available to assist social work students across the United States with funding an education. National grants often focus on a particular qualification, such as the student’s race or cultural background, or the specific area of social work the applicant wishes to pursue.
It is important to carefully consider the grant program’s requirements in order to apply for only those grants one is actually eligible to receive. National level scholarship programs can be offered by organizations that focus on the social work field as a whole or the organization may focus on one particular need.
In addition, some organizations that are not related to social work may also offer social work grants in order to better meet the needs of the organization’s clients.
The American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work offers the Judith Holm Memorial Student Awards to master’s level social work students in their final year of coursework. The applicants must be able to demonstrate a high level of mastery in the field of social work as well as show the skills necessary to begin practicing in the field.
Interested and qualified students submit a paper describing the process of assessment, intervention development, and treatment with one of the student’s clients. The papers are judged by a panel of experts in the field of social work, and the winners are awarded the Holm scholarship.
Specific guidelines and formatting requirements can be found at abecsw.org.
The American Cancer Society awards doctoral training grants in the field of oncology social work. These grants are two-year grants offering a stipend of $20,000 a year. In addition, there is a possibility of a two-year renewal on the grant.
Each grant is awarded to doctoral-level students in an accredited school of social work. Students must pursue research in the field of oncological social work. Application materials can be found www.cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society also offers a Master’s Training Grant in Clinical Oncology Social Work. This grant is awarded to master’s-level students and provides a $12,000 stipend to recipients. Candidates must be dedicated to providing psycho-social services to individuals battling cancer. The annual deadline is October 15th of any year. Information can be found at the ACS website.
The ACS offers postdoctoral fellowships for researchers who have received a doctorate. These stipends of approximately $40,000 a year allow recipients to begin a career in psychosocial, behavioral, epidemiological, and clinical oncological research. Qualified individuals can find application information at the ACS website.
The Indian Health Service offers the Indian Health Services Health Professionals Program Scholarship. This scholarship provides financial support to students enrolled in a federally recognized American Indian tribe.
Students must maintain a Grade Point Average of at least 2.0. Eligible candidates must be college students pursuing a degree in a health profession. A junior or senior in college must be planning on getting a master’s degree in social work to be eligible for the scholarship.
Qualified individuals can find application information at the Indian Health Service website.
The Council on Social Work Education awards the Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship to qualified students of African American, Asian American, American Indian, Mexican American, and Puerto Rican descent. The students must demonstrate a desire and commitment to work for equality and social justice in the field of social work.
Students who are in the final year of a baccalaureate or master’s degree program are eligible to apply for the Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship if their school’s program has been accredited by CSWE. An application can be downloaded from the CSWE website.
The Council on Social Work Education has also created the Mental Health/Substance Abuse Fellowship Program for licensed master’s-level social workers who would like to work in a leadership, teaching, training, policy development, consulting, or administration position in the field of mental health and substance abuse in minorities. These fellowships would assist the social worker in earning a doctoral degree in the field of social work. Interested candidates can find more information at www.cswe.org.
The Gerontological Society of America administers several grant and scholarship programs to individuals seeking to practice in the field of geriatric social work.
The Hardford Doctoral Fellows Program offers grants of $25,000 a year for up to two years to doctoral level students writing dissertations on the geriatric social work field. The goal of this program is to allow doctoral-level students to finish their education and begin a career as a faculty member at a major university. An application packet can be obtained from from the Geriatric Social Work Initiative website.
The Hartford Pre-Dissertation Award Program offers grants to doctoral-level students studying geriatric social work. This program also offers training to students in research methods, seeking dissertation funding, and writing for publication.
Candidates must be enrolled as a full-time doctoral student in the pre-dissertation stage. Interested candidates can find an application packet at the GSWI website.
The John Fredrick Steinman Fellowship is awarded to students who are working towards an advanced degree in social work. Graduate-level students who are interested in being considered for this award should write to the John F. Steinman Foundation, 8 West King St., Lancaster, PA 17603.
The National Association of Black Social Workers funds several scholarship and grant programs to help increase the number of social workers who identify as black.
The Cenie Jomo Williams Scholarship is awarded to a full-time student enrolled in a social work program. Candidates must demonstrate creativity in promoting the ideals of Cenie Williams and the National Association of Black Social Workers in the candidate’s community. In addition, the candidate should be a member of a local Association of Black Social Workers Chapter. The student must maintain a minimum of a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate service and research interest in the black community.
The Selena Danette Brown Book Scholarship provides a grant towards textbooks to qualified social work students. Candidates must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. In addition, the candidate must be dedicated to serving the black community.
The Emma and Meloid Algood Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate social work student. The candidate is required to maintain a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. In addition, the candidate should be dedicated to serving the less fortunate in urban communities.
The Dr. Joyce Beckett Graduate Student Tuition Scholarship is awarded to African American social work students who are working towards a master’s or doctoral degree. Candidates must be dedicated to giving back to the African American community by practicing social work to African American clients who might otherwise be unable to seek assistance. Candidates must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above.
Information and application documents for each of these scholarships can be found at the National Association of Black Social Workers website.
The National Association of Social Work offers several scholarship and grant programs to master’s-level and doctoral-level students through the National Association of Social Work Foundation. Applications to these grant programs are accepted on a yearly basis. In December, information for the following year’s scholarship programs is released, and the recipients of the scholarship are notified in July and August.
The Jane B. Aron doctoral fellowship awards a grant to social work doctoral-level students who are members of NASW. In addition, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited social work program. The scholarship is awarded for one academic year, and the recipient is chosen based on the applicant’s dissertation focus. The dissertation must address health policy and practice, and should include a diversity component. Students can request application materials on the NASW site.
The Eileen Blackey Doctoral Fellowship is a grant awarded to a doctoral level student whose dissertation focuses on welfare policy and practice, as well as includes a diversity component. Applicants must be NASW members and enrolled in a social work program that has been accredited. Applicants can request materials and read the requirements for the application essay at the NASW.
The Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to students obtaining a master’s degree in social work. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a commitment to working with the American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Hispanic populations in either a non-profit or public agency setting.
The Gosnell Scholarship is awarded for a one-year period, with the amount dependent on the level of donations received for the scholarship fund. Applicants must be members of the National Association of Social Workers. In addition, the candidate must have a Grade Point Average of at least 3.0.
Materials and requirements for the application process can be found on the NASW website.
The Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship is available for master’s level students who have an interest in mental health in African American communities. Candidates for the Lyons grant must be members of NASW and have been accepted into an accredited MSW program. The student must maintain a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher. Interested and qualified students can find an application at the NASW website.
Several organizations award scholarships and grants to social work students who intend to practice in an area that serves women and children.
The Nevada Women’s Fund raises money to serve women and children in Nevada. In addition, the fund offers scholarships to students studying social work, medicine, psychology or pursuing vocational training in order to work primarily with women and children in the state of Nevada. Interested candidates can find application information at the Nevada Women’s Fund website.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers over two million dollars each year in scholarships and grants. These grants may be used for academic study, individual research, or community action projects that focus on issues regarding education and equity for girls and women. Interested candidates can write to the AAUW Education Foundation at P. O. Box 4030, Iowa City, IA, 52243-4030.
The Women’s Research and Education Institute offers a fellowship program for qualified doctoral-level social work students. Students must be dedicated to researching issues that impact women around the world. Students interested in this fellowship can contact the Women’s Research and Education Institute at WREIF, 1700 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009.
Students studying in the field of social work are also eligible for many scholarship and grant programs that are open to individuals in all fields of study.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers full grants for study and research. Recipients must be citizens of the United States but choose to study, research, or teach in one of 140 countries around the world. The student must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and must be proficient in the official language in the student’s host country. Application information can be found at the Fulbright website.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship awards $30,000 to juniors interested in earning graduate degrees. Candidates must be dedicated to pursing careers in government, non-profit, advocacy, education, or public service. Students must be U.S. citizens, full-time junior-level students, and demonstrate a significant history of community service. Application materials can be found at the Truman Foundation website.
The Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows offers two scholarship programs for female social work students.
The first, the Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows Jack Simon Graduate Scholarship, is awarded to a female graduate-level social work student. The student must be attending the University of Nevada, Reno. The candidate must provide college transcripts and letters of recommendation. Application materials can be received by writing to the SITM Education Committee, P. O. Box 20125, Reno, NV, 89515.
The second program, the Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship Fund, awards grants to full-time female social work students. These students must be returning to school after having to interrupt previous degree programs due to family, financial, or personal reasons.
Eligible candidates will be chosen based on family situation, financial situation, career goals, and academic scholarship. Interested candidates can write to the Soroptomist International of Truckee Meadows, P. O. Box 20125, Reno, NV 89515 for application materials.
In addition to national grants, each individual college or university might award scholarship or grant money to qualified students in the university’s school of social work. These scholarships are typically not available to any student who does not attend the college. In addition, many school-based scholarships do not involve a formal application process, but instead candidates are chosen by faculty members of the social work department at the school.
Case Western Reserve University awards the Louis Stokes National Merit Scholarship to qualified students interested in community development. Students must identify as being Black or Hispanic and be accepted into the Master’s degree program. The candidate must submit an essay as well as maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The Stokes scholarship provides full tuition plus a stipend. Qualified individuals can find information needed to obtain an application from at the Case Western Reserve University website.
The University of Michigan offers a significant number of scholarship and grant programs for students in the university’s school of social work.
The Derrick L. Anderson Memorial MSW Scholarship is presented to master’s or doctoral level social work students. Candidates must show a high level of commitment to promoting responsible and ethical social work practice to the transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay community.
The Ara Cary Fellowship in Child and Family Programs offers an award to a doctoral level candidate interested in pursuing research in child and family services. Candidates must be dedicated to specializing in child welfare and serving families in need.
Like the Ara Cary Fellowship, the Child Welfare Scholarship Program offers financial aid to students focusing on child welfare. The Child Welfare Scholarship is awarded to approximately ten incoming students each year.
The Katherine Reebel Scholarship Fund provides tuition support to students enrolled in the Master’s of Social Work program at the University of Michigan. Any master’s-level social work student is eligible for consideration for this scholarship.
The Eleanor Sabo Scholarship is awarded to second-year master’s-level students in the School of Social Work. Candidates must have demonstrated academic excellence during the first two years in the social work program to be considered. In addition, candidates must have showed excellence during practicum in the foster care and adoption field. Recipients must be planning to pursue a career in the foster care or adoption fields upon graduation.
Application materials for each of these scholarships can be found at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work.
The University of Nevada School of Social Work offers several scholarship and grant programs to students enrolled in the University’s social work program.
The John and Louise Semenza Family Scholarship is offered to a junior or senior undergraduate student or a graduate student in the social work program. The candidate must maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average to remain eligible for this award. Students seeking this grant must be dedicated to practicing in public agencies that serve primarily special needs populations.
The Alicia Smalley Scholarship is awarded to full-time undergraduate or graduate-level students. Faculty in the Social Work Department must nominate candidates. Nominated candidates should show an interest in social justice as well as a financial need.
The Kris Tower Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate social work student who is enrolled at least part-time. This grant is awarded by the School of Social Work to a student who shows a genuine interest in working with individuals who have been diagnosed with disabilities. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA during the award period.
The Heather Morsberger Memorial Scholarship is offered to a junior or senior undergraduate student or a graduate student majoring in social work. Candidates must have a research and academic emphasis on child abuse protection and prevention. Full-time enrollment must be maintained during the award period.
The School of Social Work Diversity Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate or graduate social work students. The student must be enrolled full-time and maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0. The student must demonstrate a commitment to justice and diversity. The student must also write an essay regarding the role of the applicant’s racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, or cultural background on choosing social work as an academic focus and profession.
The Waverlee Scholarship is awarded to part-time or full-time undergraduate and graduate level students in the School of Social Work. This grant was created in order to allow students to continue their studies despite dire financial circumstances. All other means of financial support must be exhausted prior to being awarded this grant.
Application information for each of these scholarship programs can be found at the University of Nevada website.
If your college is not listed here, it may still offer scholarships or grants to students studying in the field of social work. Contact the dean of your school or your school’s financial aid department to obtain a list of the available scholarship and grant programs. Be sure to ask for information on grants available to students regardless of field of study as well.