Students studying social work often have aspirations of obtaining a career helping those in need, including orphans, those living in poverty, and the homeless. Prior to beginning a social work degree, the most important question on many students’ mind is whether there are scholarships available for social work majors. The great news is that there are several options available for financing a degree in social work.
For students interested in serving low-income and minority populations, the Alma S. Adams Scholarship for Outreach and Communications is available from the Legacy Foundation. Undergraduate and graduate-level students with an interest in helping reduce tobacco use in low-income and minority populations are eligible to apply.
The Council on Social Work Education offers several scholarships and fellowships each year. The CSWE minority fellowship program offers financial aid to members of minority populations who wish to pursue advanced social work degrees. The CSWE Carl A. Scott scholarship provides assistance to students interested in working with underserved populations to promote equality and social justice.
The United States government offers healthcare scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who hope to pursue degrees in clinical social work.
Master’s and Doctoral-level social work students are eligible to apply for the NASW Foundation’s scholarships and fellowships. These highly competitive awards are offered on an annual basis to assist with tuition and research.
Many high schools and colleges offer scholarships to students entering social work degree programs. It is essential that students frequently contact their high school guidance counselor and the financial aid departments of colleges in order to learn about new scholarships that may be available. High school guidance counselors may also be aware of state-specific scholarship programs.
If available scholarship options don’t cover the full cost of tuition, students may have to consider student loans. Many social work majors may benefit for recent legislation that offers student loan forgiveness to borrowers who work in social service or nonprofit fields. Borrowers on income based repayment plans have the option of having any remaining student loan debt forgiven after 10 years of on-time payments while working in the public service or non-profit sector.
For students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in social work, there are several available options for financial aid. The first step for any student should be to talk to the guidance counseling office of his or her high school, followed by talking to the financial aid department in the school or schools the student is hoping to attend. Following local and regional scholarship research, the student should then attempt to research national and international scholarships using the Internet. Several scholarships are available for students based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, and geographic location in addition to financial aid available for use by students entering social work programs.