Individuals looking to launch a successful social work career often start their journey by earning an accredited social work degree. Graduating from a social work program means completing diverse coursework in topics such as psychology, sociology, and intercultural issues. Additionally, gaining licensure entails spending significant time performing supervised work to gain clinical experience.

The time and expense that you spend earning a social work degree and licensure can lead to better employment opportunities and a higher salary. Additionally, many social work degree scholarships exist to help you pay for school.

This guide provides an overview detailing what to expect when looking for scholarships for social work students.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pay for a degree in social work?

Paying for a social work degree need not intimidate you. Many forms of financial aid exist for this purpose, including scholarships and grants. The aid available to you depends on your degree level, financial situation, and other demographic factors.

Are there many scholarships available for social work?

Many organizations offer social work degree scholarships to traditional and nontraditional learners. The field of social work continues to experience shortages of qualified workers who hold accredited degrees. Private organizations often incentivize students to pursue social work degrees by providing scholarships.

Where can I find scholarships for social work?

You can search for social work scholarships through online portals. Professional organizations for social workers, such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), typically maintain helpful reference materials. CSWE offers an extensive index of links to social work degree scholarships.

Are there grants for social work students?

Many grants are tailored specifically to social work students. Grants typically award funds based on outstanding need or other special qualifiers, such as a social work student's plan to work in high-need areas or with at-risk populations upon graduation.

How do I qualify for a social work scholarship?

Social work scholarships, like other scholarships, typically award funds based on merit. However, many social work scholarships show preference towards students who also fall into a specific cultural, economic, or gender group in the interest of promoting diversity and helping the underserved.

Financial Assistance for Social Work Majors

Many different forms of financial assistance, such as loans, scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study opportunities, can all help you pay for your social work degree.

College loans come from private financial institutions, such as banks, or from the federal government. The terms of these loans vary depending on many factors. For example, federal loans typically carry lower interest rates than private loans. If you demonstrate enough need, you may also qualify for a subsidized loan, which can save you thousands of dollars on interest.

Whatever form of assistance you pursue, remember to begin by filling out your FAFSA.

Grants and scholarships award funds that you do not need to repay. Grants often come from federal funding and are typically need-based awards. In contrast, scholarships come from private sources and usually set academic standards that you must meet to keep your awarded funds.

Fellowships provide merit-based financial awards at the graduate level or above; these are usually given to students conducting research and entail service commitments. Work-study programs match students who demonstrate financial need with a part-time job on campus, allowing them to earn money to help pay for expenses.

Whatever form of assistance you pursue, remember to begin by filling out your FAFSA. Your FAFSA results demonstrate your level of need and are a requirement for seeking financial aid at accredited schools.

Social Work Loan Repayment and Forgiveness

Organizations maintain many loan repayment and forgiveness programs for social work students. These programs usually feature employment-based stipulations, such as working in high-need areas.


Social Work Grants

Many organizations offer grants specifically for social work students who demonstrate need or belong to an underserved group.


Scholarships for Bachelor's in Social Work Students

Majoring in social work at the undergraduate level offers an excellent introduction to the field. It can prepare graduates for careers in counseling or graduate school. Visit this page to learn more about earning an online bachelor's in social work (BSW). Social work majors may qualify for a variety of scholarships, including the awards listed below.

Bob Benedetto Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award targets undergraduates from Ventura County who hold a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students must submit a 500-700-word essay describing why they are seeking a BSW and what their plans are after graduation.

Amount: $1,000

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Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Full-time college juniors dedicated to working for equity and social justice through social work may apply for this one-time award. The scholarship is targeted toward ethnic minority students, but all eligible students may apply. Applicants should possess a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Amount: $500

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National Association of Black Social Workers Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) offers a variety of scholarships to student members enrolled full time in an accredited social work program. Applicants must be African American and possess a 2.5 GPA or higher.

Amount: Varies

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Davis-Putter Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Financially needy students active in social and economic justice movements can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must submit a personal statement and letters of recommendation. Judges give preference to students intending to work in the U.S.

Amount: Up to $15,000/year

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Painter Service for Others Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: Juniors and seniors at Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Denver, or Colorado State University who plan to assist youth as a social worker may apply for these awards. Applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 2.5 and demonstrate financial need.

Amount: $1,500-$5,000

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Yarnold Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Financially needy postsecondary students from New Hampshire who intend to major in social work and stay in the state may apply for this award. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation.

Amount: $1,000-$5,000/year

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Scholarships for Master's in Social Work Students

Earning a master's in social work (MSW) may qualify you to provide direct clinical care. To help increase the number of MSW graduates, many organizations offer scholarships to individuals pursuing an online master's in social work. See the list below for a few examples.

Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: California offers scholarships to social workers and other healthcare professionals willing to serve in a medically underserved area of the state for one year. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 2.0 GPA and be accepted/enrolled in a social work program.

Amount: Up to $8,000/year

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Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The National Association of Social Work (NASW) awards this scholarship to MSW candidates interested in working with Hispanic/Latino or American Indian/Alaska Native populations. NASW members with a GPA of at least 3.0 who plan to enroll in an accredited MSW program may apply.

Amount: Up to $4,000

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EPICC Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The Osman and Holm Awards provide scholarships to master's students who submit winning papers on clinical social work interventions related to their fieldwork placements. Applicants must be members of EPICC.

Amount: $500-$1,000

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Ima Hogg Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Accredited graduate schools in Texas that offer a social work program may recommend one MSW student for this scholarship. Recipients should demonstrate financial need and an intent to provide mental health services in Texas.

Amount: Up to $5,000

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Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Members of federally recognized tribes enrolled in an MSW program who plan to pursue clinical practice may apply for this award. Recipients must give one year of service for each year of funding they receive.

Amount: Full tuition and fees

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National Association of Black Social Workers Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) offers a variety of scholarships to student members enrolled full time in an accredited social work program. Applicants must be African American and possess a 2.5 GPA or higher.

Amount: Varies

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National Association of Junior Auxiliaries Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Graduate students planning to work directly with children/youth may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must reside in a state with a Junior Auxiliary Chapter (i.e., Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Tennessee).

Amount: Varies

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Truman Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This merit-based scholarship recognizes leadership potential in public service. Undergraduates interested in being considered for this graduate scholarship should contact their institution's faculty representative regarding nomination during their junior year.

Amount: Up to $30,000

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Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: NASW members with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an interest in working in African American communities may apply for this award. Recipients must enroll in an accredited MSW program.

Amount: $5,500 ($4,000 to the student's university and $1,500 for conference attendance and leadership development)

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Scholarships for Doctorate in Social Work Students

Earning a doctorate in social work (DSW) can open the door to exciting careers in research, higher education, and advanced clinical practice. Many organizations offer scholarships and fellowships, such as those listed below, to help doctoral students complete their education, conduct research, and carry out their dissertation.

American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship

Who Can Apply: Female students with a commitment to helping women and girls may apply to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship to help them complete their dissertation research in any field. Recipients may use these funds to pay for their living expenses while completing research.

Amount: $20,000

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CSWE Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: Doctoral students may apply to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for funds to help them complete research projects related to the field.

Amount: Varies

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Eileen Blackey Doctoral Fellowship

Who Can Apply: This fellowship, offered by NASW to its members, provides assistance to doctoral candidates completing a dissertation related to welfare policy and practice with a diversity component. The application includes a research proposal summary.

Amount: $4,000-$6,500 ($1,500 earmarked for conference attendance and professional development)

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Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship

Who Can Apply: NASW offers this annual fellowship to a doctoral candidate planning to complete a dissertation related to healthcare policy and practice with a diversity component. Applicants must be an NASW member and submit a project proposal.

Amount: $17,900 ($15,500 to the university and $2,400 for conference attendance and leadership development)

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Minority Fellowship Program for Doctoral Students

Who Can Apply: CSWE encourages racial and ethnic minorities pursuing a doctorate in social work to apply for this award. Applicants must possess an accredited MSW degree and should intend to provide leadership at an organization serving at-risk or underserved populations.

Amount: Varies

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Additional Financial Aid Resources

An Overview of Financial Aid

Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt for your social work degree.

Financial Aid for Online Students

Financial aid for social work online learning is equivalent to what you will find for campus-based learning, but that has not always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

Scholarships for Single Parents

An online social work program can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilties

Paying for a social work degree can be difficult for students with disabilities. Our guide provides an overview of the many financing options and benefits available to disabled students.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

U.S. military personnel interested in a social work degree can take advantage of millions of unused dollars in free money. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.


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