The constant need for more and new social workers has driven the creation of not only many membership oriented organizations at the national and local levels but also generated a lot of financial aid through social work scholarships and grants for future social workers. Social work is one of those fields that exist for which demand never seems to cease.
Such social worker scholarships vary with regards to whom they are offered to and how much is offered in each, or even at what level of education they are given out for, and students will need to review their options carefully before applying to these programs. However, depending on what a student’s station is life is, finding a social work scholarship and grant which fits with specific demographics or backgrounds is not very difficult, and locating those programs which are more generally accessible is a fairly easy process.
As with all scholarships, a first stop for any interested student should be the university’s financial aid office to see what local offerings may exist. Several foundations also give generous grants to universities to see towards the successful development of new social workers in the field making checking in with a local social work department an absolute must. In most cases or circumstances students should be able to find scholarships for social work which fit their needs and will help them fill in a financial gap which may exist for funding they still need to fill in order to afford school. While the easiest choice is often student loans, social work can often be a thankless job and students should be trying to limit their post undergraduate debt levels as much as possible.
Considering demographic characteristics, black students will find that they will likely be eligible to apply for the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) Cenie Homo Williams Tuition Scholarship which provides two $2,000 social work scholarships every year. Students interested in this scholarship for social workers will need to be of African descent, be able to demonstrate service to their local community, express interest in the black community and be enrolled at an accredited four year university. All applicants are expected to have no less than a 2.5 grade point average. Application materials will include a statement of purpose indicating where a student’s passions lay, two letters of recommendation from professionals, an official transcript and a letter from a student’s registrar application verifying enrollment. The deadline for this social work scholarship is the third Friday of December. Interested students should check their calendar to be sure of the specific date.
As many professional social workers go on the get their master’s degree, many programs exist to help students achieve their educational goals through financial assistance. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) provides several master’s to doctoral level social scholarship programs for exceptional applicants. For instance the Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial MSW Scholarship awards 10 scholarships of up to $2,000 every year for deserving students. All interested students will need to be a NASW member participating in an accredited Master’s of Social Work program. A two page essay describing an applicant’s life and reasons for seeking an MSW must be submitted with the application along with two letters of recommendation from professionals in the field. School transcripts will need to be provided and students can, optionally, supply the selection committee with a statement of merit which is a self assessed document describing why an applicant is in particular need of an award. The deadline for this social work scholarship is March 31.
It is important to remember that there are a number of national and regional groups established as membership organizations which offer scholarships for social work of their own. Students active in the social work sphere or just entering the field and looking for financial aid would do well by themselves to look into these potential sources of funding. As mentioned previously, students should always check with both their local social work department and financial aid office to look at additional funding options other then scholarships for social work. As social work has a high degree of burn out amongst its workers, students interested in social worker scholarships and grants should be able to highlight their passion for the field as it may the only thing fueling them forward as time goes forward.