25 Scholarships for Social Work Students
Social workers perform fulfilling, critical work, and career prospects may continue to expand over the next ten years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% overall increase in social work positions between 2019-29.
Most social work positions require at least a bachelor’s degree and often a master’s for licensure and clinical practice. Paying for school poses a financial burden for many aspiring social workers, but federal and state grants, loans, and scholarships can help offset educational costs.
While scholarships are just one type of financial support, prospective social work students should take advantage of the broad range of scholarship opportunities. Awards range from merit-based or need-based scholarships to those geared for specific demographic groups or social work specialties.The undergraduate and graduate scholarships described here, while not an exhaustive list, will give you an idea about the kinds of support available and how to apply.
Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship Trust
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports residents of New Hampshire already enrolled in a postsecondary degree program in social work, nursing, or medicine. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, and a willingness to practice in the state.
Alma S. Adams Scholarship for Outreach and Health Communications
Who Can Apply: Applicants must pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree in social work or a related field at an accredited institution and document service benefitting a disadvantaged community in the areas of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use prevention.
A Place for Mom Senior Care Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Candidates interested in gerontology who plan on working with the elderly may apply. The scholarship supports students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate programs in social work, nursing, or another healthcare field.
Bethesda Lutheran Communities Student Scholastic and Service Scholarship
Who Can Apply: These social work scholarships provide funding for undergraduate students in a social service-related degree who plan to help people with developmental disabilities. Candidates must have a 3.0 minimum GPA and demonstrate their active membership in a Lutheran congregation.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship recognizes students who are actively involved in progressive economic and social justice movements. Candidates must attend a postsecondary or technical school and submit a personal essay, letters of support, and evidence of financial need.
Elizabeth J. Davis Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This award supports Vermont residents enrolled in healthcare programs, including medical social work. The recipient does not have to attend college in Vermont but must commit to working in the home healthcare field in the state.
Freemont Foundation Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Applicants must attend or plan to attend a historically black college or university pursuing a career in the helping professions. Candidates must demonstrate a record of leadership and volunteerism in the community and participation in extracurricular school activities.
Indian Health Service Preparatory Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship provides tuition and expenses to American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate students enrolled in courses that lead to healthcare degrees. Applicants must be members or descendants of federally-recognized, state-recognized, or terminated tribes.
James F. Reville Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The New York Arc chapter awards this scholarship to full-time undergraduates enrolled in social work, psychology, and other behavioral sciences programs who plan to enter careers in intellectual and developmental disability fields.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports junior or senior undergraduate students of Jewish descent who demonstrate financial need. Recipients must be full-time students who intend to enter careers in the helping professions.
Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Intended for students majoring in social work or related fields, these scholarships support students who demonstrate superior character, academic excellence, compassion, and a commitment to volunteerism. Candidates must submit letters of recommendation, hold a minimum 3.3 GPA, and demonstrate financial need.
National Association of Black Social Workers Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Candidates must be members of the NABSW enrolled full time in an undergraduate or graduate social work program. The application requires a personal statement describing professional interests and aspirations and previous social work experience.
Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work, this scholarship benefits chapter members enrolled in accredited social work programs. Applicants must demonstrate a consistent record of scholarship, service, and leadership.
Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates
Who Should Apply: This need-based award for members of the Presbyterian Church assists students who have completed their first year of college with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants may major in several fields, including healthcare services and social work.
Pride Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This need-based scholarship supports LGBTQ+ and allied students who plan to work with individuals dealing with trauma, grief, illness, death, and violence. Candidates must be residents of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington, but may study elsewhere.
American Indian Education Fund Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The AIEF graduate scholarships provide assistance to members of federally recognized tribes, including American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian applicants. Preferred GPAs should be between 2.0-3.5, but all applicants may apply for consideration.
American Society on Aging Graduate Student Research Award
Who Can Apply: This award recognizes the best unpublished graduate research paper on a project related to aging. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate program or have completed their studies less than one year before submission.
Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Candidates must be committed to working with or have a special affinity with American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino populations. The scholarship also supports candidates who demonstrate a commitment to public or voluntary nonprofit agencies or local grassroots groups.
Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship Program – Master’s
Who Can Apply: Doctoral-level students may apply for this program if they demonstrate a commitment to reducing health disparities and improving healthcare outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse populations. The scholarship provides funding primarily but not exclusively for racial or ethnic minorities.
Eileen Blackey Doctoral Fellowship
Who Can Apply: Available for NASW members, applicants for this award must be doctoral students in social work specializing in welfare policy and practice. Candidates must submit a proposal summary, a statement of relevance, a project design, their expected dissertation completion date, and an itemized budget.
George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Omega Psi Phi, an African American fraternity, sponsors this scholarship for full-time graduate students in social work, social science, or criminal justice. Candidates must receive nominations from their regional fraternity chapters and demonstrate a cumulative 3.3 GPA.
Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship
Who Can Apply: The National Association of Social Workers, in partnership with the Council on Social Work Education, offers this fellowship to doctoral candidates. Recipients must engage in research on healthcare social work education, policy, or practice.
The Melanie Foundation Scholarship
Who Can Apply: These MSW scholarships provide assistance to students who plan to enter the mental health social work field. Candidates must be enrolled in an accredited master’s program and provide evidence of volunteer, research, or work experience related to mental health.
Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
Who Can Apply: This fellowship recognizes the work of immigrants, children of immigrants, and refugees pursuing graduate studies in several fields, including social work. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to making significant contributions to American society, culture, or their academic field.
Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial MSW Scholarship
Who Can Apply: This MSW scholarship supports students who have a commitment to working with members of the African American community and demonstrate an interest in healthcare and mental health practice. Applicants must hold membership in the National Association of Social Workers.