25 Social Work Scholarships and Fellowships

student reviews financial aid application for social work school

Social workers play a growing, vital role in improving communities and the lives of others. These practitioners are one of the leading providers of mental healthcare across the United States, with jobs in social work expected to grow by more than 11% through 2028. If your goal is to work in this in-demand field, your first step is getting the right education. Some entry-level jobs require only a bachelor’s, though most clinical positions require a master’s degree for licensing.

With the average cost of college on the rise, many aspiring social workers are looking for options beyond student loans to help them pay for their education. Thankfully, there are many types of additional funding designed for social work students and others going into service-oriented fields. We’ve gathered together a list of 25 scholarships and fellowships to help you start your search, and there are many others to be found through local institutions, state associations, and more.

Undergraduate Social Work Scholarships

Regardless of your career goals in social work, you’ll first need to earn a bachelor’s degree. This can prepare you for entry-level roles such as a mental health assistant or case management aide, though most aspiring social workers go on to earn their master’s degree.

Scholarship Name

Amount

Deadline

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

$15,000

April 1

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

Who’s Eligible: Students who have been active in social and economic justice in the United States through school-based activism, volunteer work, or political campaigns. You must be currently enrolled or planning to enroll at an accredited college or university for the upcoming year.

Award Amount: $15,000 maximum, however this could be less depending on the available funds and your level of financial need. Scholarships are awarded for a single year, but applicants can reapply every year they’re attending school. The money must be used during the school year it is awarded.

Application Requirements: Submit transcripts from all prior college-level coursework, a personal statement describing your work with progressive social activities, and two letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your involvement. Since this fund is need-based, you’ll be asked to submit financial information, including the Student Aid Report (SAR) and your expected tuition and living expenses for the upcoming year.

Apply by: April 1

National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarships

$20,000

Mid-March

National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program for behavioral or social health-related research, have a minimum GPA of 3.3, and have been verified by the NIH as having exceptional financial need. Students must complete a 10-week paid summer research experience at the end of each year they’re awarded the scholarship. After graduation, recipients must work for at least 1 year full-time in an NIH research lab for every year they were given funding.

Award Amount: Between 15 and 20 awards of up to $20,000 are given out each academic year. Scholarships are awarded for a single year but can be renewed up to 4 years.

Application Requirements: Submit an application, along with a resume, transcript, personal statement, three letters of recommendation and an Exceptional Financial Need Form. In mid-July, semifinalists will be selected for a phone interview.

Apply by: Mid-March

Phi Alpha Honor Society Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarships

$1,000, $2,000, $3000

May 31

Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg BSW Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Phi Alpha Honor Society members in good standing who are pursuing their bachelor’s degrees and have demonstrated social work service and leadership within their chapters.

Award Amount: $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 scholarships are given each year. The first-place winner is also awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to present their work at the Student Session of the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors conference in the spring.

Application Requirements: Inquire via the Phi Alpha website.

Apply by: May 31

Pilot International Scholarships

$1,500

March 15

Pilot International Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Undergraduate students studying service-oriented fields who have plans to begin a career working with youth development, families in need, or in brain safety and fitness. Applicants need to be enrolled for at least 12 semester hours for the upcoming term, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and demonstrate a financial need.

Award Amount: Five scholarships of up to $1,500 each year. Scholarships are awarded for a single year but can be renewed for up to 3 additional years.

Application Requirements: Submit an application, resume, transcript, financial information, two letters of recommendation, and an essay describing your career goals, via email.

Apply by: March 15

Graduate Scholarships, Grants, and Fellowships

Having your master’s or doctorate in social work can greatly broaden your career path and increase your earning potential, but it also comes with the added cost of at least two more years of education beyond your bachelor’s degree. Thankfully, those pursuing these degrees could have even more chances to fund their schooling, including opportunities for fellowships and grants.

Scholarship Name

Amount

Deadline

EPICC Osman Memorial Award

$1,000

April/May

EPICC Social Work Shelomo Osman Memorial Student Awards

Who’s Eligible: Social work grad students in the first year of their master’s degrees. You must be a member of EPICC (Education, Passions, Insights, Career, Community).

Award Amount: $1,000 is given each to two recipients each year.

Application Requirements: Winners are selected based on a clinical paper that details one of your field placement interventions. You’ll also need to submit sponsor letters from the faculty placement coordinator and your supervisor at the setting. You must closely follow the guidelines outlined by EPICC before emailing or faxing your materials to the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work.

Apply by: April or May; check the website for details.

EPICC Judith Holm Memorial Award

$1,000

April/May

EPICC Social Work Judith Holm Memorial Student Awards

Who’s Eligible: Social work students in the final year of earning their master’s. You must be a member of the EPICC (Education, Passions, Insights, Career, Community).

Award Amount: Three scholarships, with a total of $2,500. The top two students will receive $1,000 each, while a third-place winner will receive $500.

Application Requirements: Same as for the Osman Award. Make sure to follow the guidelines closely.

Apply by: April or May; check the website for details.

Eileen Blackey Fellowship

$4,500–$6,500

January–March

National Association of Social Workers Foundation Eileen Blackey Fellowship

Who’s Eligible: Doctorate-level students working on a dissertation that focuses on welfare policy and practice, with a preference for dissertations that highlight diversity. Applicants must be members of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Award Amount: $4,000–$6,500. A portion of the funds are set aside for conferences and professional development.

Application Requirements: Submit an application, along with a three-page proposal summary detailing the objectives and methodology of your dissertation. You’ll also need to submit transcripts, a letter from your doctoral dissertation chair verifying your candidacy and other supporting documents. Winners are expected to present at the NASW National Conference and submit their final dissertation to the foundation.

Apply by: Between January and early March.

HEALS Fellowships

$17,900

January–March

National Association of Social Workers Foundation HEALS Fellowships

Who’s Eligible: Doctoral-level candidates who are engaged in dissertation research related to healthcare practice, policy, or education. Applicants must be members of the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education.

Award Amount: Social Work HEALS (Healthcare, Education, and Leadership Scholars) awards four fellowships a year, each in the amount of $17,900, with $2,400 reserved for expenses related to conferences and professional development.

Application Requirements: Application and a three-page summary of your dissertation. Your summary will need to include detailed information about your methodology and objectives, as well as how it will address issues related to diversity or inequities in healthcare. You’ll also need to send supporting documentation, including verification of your doctoral candidacy and your academic transcripts.

Apply by: Between January and early March.

Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship

$17,900

January–March

National Association of Social Workers Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship

Who’s Eligible: Similar to the HEALS Fellowships, this fellowship is for doctoral candidates who are working on working dissertation research involving healthcare policy or practice. Applicants must be members of the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education.

Award Amount: $17,900 to one candidate each year, with $2,400 set aside for professional development and conference attendance.

Application Requirements: Application and a three-page proposal detailing the methodology and objectives of your dissertation, along with a summary of how it will address diversity at it relates to health and healthcare. You’ll also need to send supporting documentation, including verification of your doctoral candidacy and your academic transcripts. Winners are expected to present at the NASW National Conference.

Apply by: Between January and early March

Phi Alpha Honor Society MSW Scholarships

$3,000, $2,000 and $1,000

May 31

Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work MSW Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Undergraduate and master’s degree social work students who are Phi Alpha members with good academic standing and are recognized for social work service and leadership at their school and within their chapter.

Award Amount: Three scholarships—$3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 each—annually. The first-place winner is also awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to present their work at the Phi Alpha Executive Meeting in the fall.

Application Requirements: Contact a program coordinator for details.

Apply by: May 31

Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society Scholarships

$1,000–$2,000

Mid-February

Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: First- or second-year graduate students who are studying a field of social science, including social work, psychology, and criminal justice. Applicants must have been initiated into Pi Gamma Mu within the previous 4 years.

Award Amount: Ten scholarships a year in amount of $1,000 or $2,000. No more than three scholarships are awarded in any single area of study.

Application Requirements: Mail in an application along with a resume, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement explaining your academic and professional accomplishments and goals.

Apply by: Mid-February

Scholarships & Fellowships by Area of Specialty

In addition to scholarships for general master’s and doctorate studies, several organizations offer funds to focus in a specific subfield of social work. From elderly care to addiction, an array of additional funding is available through these groups.

Scholarship Name

Amount

Deadline

A Place for Mom Senior Wisdom Scholarship

$2,000

May 1

A Place for Mom Senior Wisdom Scholarship

Who’s Eligible: The referral service for senior assisted living, offers this scholarship to undergraduate and graduate students who plan to work with the aging population.

Award Amount: $2,000 to one student per year.

Application Requirements: Via email, submit either an essay or video detailing a life lesson learned from a grandparent or another senior and how you’ll apply it to your career. Essays must be between 400 and 700 words; videos must be between 2 and 3 minutes.

Apply by: May 1

American Addiction Centers Academic Scholarship

$2,500–$5,000

May 30

American Addiction Centers Behavioral Health Academic Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Both undergraduate and graduate students pursuing behavioral health degrees with a concentration in addition-related issues. Students in social work, psychology, counseling, and marriage and family therapy programs are eligible. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.2.

Award Amount: Total of $10,000 in scholarships to three recipients: The first-place student receives $5,000 and the second and third get $2,500 each.

Application Requirements: Application along with no more than 500 words describing what made you want to pursue this career and a goal you hope to achieve. Submit on the web site or send as attachments via email.

Apply by: May 30

American Cancer Society Training Grants

$12,000–$20,000

October 15

American Cancer Society Training Grants in Oncology Social Work

Who’s eligible: Master’s social work students in their second year, focusing their education on providing psychosocial services to people with cancer and their families, and undergoing training in a nonprofit hospital, medical center, or community-based program. Also available to doctoral candidates training at a school of social work to conduct research that’s relevant to oncology.

Award Amount: Two-year master’s degree grants of $12,000 per year, with funds awarded directly to the institution ($10,000 for student training and $2,000 for professional development of the faculty). Doctoral degree grants are also for 2 years, with an annual award of up to $20,000 for tuition and other educational expenses. Both grants have the possibility of being renewed.

Application Requirements: Master’s-level recipients must be nominated by a field instructor at the institution where they’re training, while doctoral applicants can nominate themselves for the grant. Applications for both grants must be submitted in paper and electronic forms and include detailed descriptions of the training program or research plan.

Apply by: October 15 (master’s application; doctorate application)

National Association of Junior Auxiliaries Graduate Scholarships

$500–$9,000

February 1

National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA) Graduate Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Graduate students who plan to work with children. Applicants must be a permanent resident in a state with a NAJA chapter (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Tennessee), have completed community service, and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Award Amount: A total of $27,200 is granted each year, with individual awards ranging from $500–$9,000. Previous recipients can reapply each year.

Application Requirements: Submit an online application along with a resume, transcripts, proof of your community service, and three letters of recommendation.

Apply by: February 1

NASW Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarships

$4,000

January through early March

National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASW) Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Master’s degree candidates who plan to work specifically with Hispanic or Native American populations. Applicants must be an NASW member in good standing and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Award Amount: Amounts vary based on funding, but up to 10 scholarships are awarded each year in amounts of up to $4,000.

Application Requirements: Submit an application along with transcripts, documentation supporting financial need, two professional recommendations, and an essay expressing your career goals, interests, and experience relevant to the field.

Apply by: Between January and early March

NASW Verne LaMarr Lyons Scholarships

$5,000

January through early March

National Association of Social Workers Foundation Verne LaMarr Lyons Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Master’s degree students who are committed to providing specialized services to African Americans, and raising awareness of health concerns that impact this community. Applicants must also be an NASW member in good standing and have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Award Amount: Up to four scholarships per year of $5,500 each, with $1,500 set aside for conference attendance and professional development.

Application Requirements: Submit an online application with transcripts, two professional letters of recommendation, statements of merit and financial need, and an essay expressing your career goals and experience as it’s relevant to this work.

Apply by: Between January and early March

National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship

$150,000

Early April

National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship

Who’s Eligible: Full-time doctoral degree students who are conducting research specifically related to violence, crime, and criminal justice. Applicants must have completed all the requirements of their degree except for the research, writing, and defense of their dissertation.

Award Amount: Varies based on funding. Past fellowships have awarded funds of $32,000 for a 12-month period, however the NIJ has recently begun rewarding fellowships of up of $150,000 for 3 years.

Application Requirements: Applicants must be nominated by their educational institution. If you wish to apply for this award, you’ll need to work with your university’s office of research to complete all necessary documents, including your transcripts, an explanation of your research, and a personal statement summarizing your background, experience, and career goals.

Apply by: Early April

Scholarships & Fellowships for Minority Students

Scholarships designed for minority students not only support educational opportunities for underrepresented students, but they help bring greater diversity to the field and thereby increase the impact social work can have as a whole. Some scholarships are open to all minorities, while others are intended to provide funding for a particular group.

Scholarship Name

Amount

Deadline

Council on Social Work Education Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund

$500

Late August

Council on Social Work Education Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund

Who’s Eligible: Full-time social work students in their final year of undergraduate or graduate studies (targeted to but not limited to minority students). Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a demonstrated commitment to social justice.

Award Amount: Two $500 scholarships are awarded each fall. The money is intended to be used for books and other needed supplies.

Application Requirements: Inquire via email on the CSWE website.

Apply by: Early April

Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship

$2,000–$6,500

January–Spring

Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship Program

Who’s Eligible:  Racial or ethnic minority students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees focused on providing mental health and/or substance abuse services to underserved and underrepresented communities. Doctoral degree candidates must have a previous master’s degree in social work, while master’s students must have advanced standing or be in their final year.

Award Amount: Awards vary depending on available funding, however recent recipients of the master’s degree (roughly 40 awards) received $6,500 for 1 year. Doctoral degree candidates receive approximately $2,000 a month over the course of 3 years. The number of doctoral fellowships rewarded varies each year.

Application Requirements: Submit an application along with transcripts and an essay detailing your career goals.

Apply by: In January for the doctoral application; Spring for the master’s application. Check the website for exact deadlines.

HRSA Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship

Tuition plus stipend for up to 4 years

March 1

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship

Who’s Eligible: Native Hawaiians pursuing careers in behavioral health, including those within social work. Applicants must be enrolled in or applying to an accredited Master of Social Work program. Students must also commit to a minimum of 2 years of employment in a healthcare facility serving Native Hawaiians and other underserved and rural communities in the state. HRSA programs also offer tuition repayment for certain types of work.

Award Amount: Ten recipients will receive tuition paid, plus a monthly stipend of around $1,300, for 1–4 years.

Application Requirements: Submit an online application complete with transcripts, letters of recommendation, and three narrative statements describing your interest in and commitment to working with the Native Hawaiian community. You’ll also attend an interview.

Apply by: March 1

Indian Health Service Scholarships

Tuition plus stipend for a year

March 28

Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Alaska Native and American Indian undergraduate and graduate students pursuing health professions degrees. Applicants must be members of a federally recognized Tribe, have a GPA of at least 2.0, and agree to serve full-time for at least 2 years at an Indian health facility. Social workers specifically must complete a postgraduate clinical training program that fulfills state licensing requirements before they can begin their service commitment.

Award Amount: Award packages cover all tuition and fees for a 12-month period, plus a stipend of no less than $1,500 for living expenses. An additional one-time payment covers other approved expenses such as the cost of books, laboratory fees, tutoring services, and travel to and from school.

Application Requirements: Submit an application along with proof of your Tribe membership, evaluations from faculty and employers, and essays explaining your career goals and how you’ll help the needs of the Indian people. Applications are ranked on a 100-point scale, with academic performance accounting for 40 points and evaluations and essays each taking 30.

Apply by: March 28

NABSW Cenie Williams Scholarship

$1,000–$2,500

March 28

National Association of Black Social Workers Cenie Williams Tuition Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled full-time in a social work program. Applicants must be members of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), have a GPA of at least 2.5, demonstrate community service, and be interested in research related to the black community.

Award Amount: There are two scholarships of $2,500 given out each year. The NABSW also offers awards of $1,000 for students at various levels, as well as book scholarships of $250.

Application Requirements: Along with the application, you’ll need to submit a current transcript, proof that you’re in good standing with your school, two letters of recommendation, and a two- or three-page statement of purpose outlining your interests, aspirations, previous experience, and academic achievements.

Apply by: Contact your local NABSW chapter for exact dates.

National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers Scholarships

Varies

Early February

National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers Scholarships

Who’s Eligible: Full-time Latino students in their first-year of earning their master’s degrees. Applicants must be bilingual in English and Spanish, be attending an approved New York university, and be able to attend a spring ceremony to accept the scholarship check.

Award Amount: Awards are given to between two and three students a year in varying amounts depending on financial need.

Application Requirements: Submit a resume, current transcript, letter of recommendation, and documentation of your financial need. You’ll also be asked to write an essay explaining why you’re pursuing social work, what it means to you, and which social issues are most important to you.

Apply by: Early February

Pride Foundation Social Work Scholarship

Varies

Early February

Pride Foundation Social Work Scholarship

Who’s Eligible: LGBTQ students who are studying at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree level. Applicants must live or have recently lived in the Northwest (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington), show leadership within their community, and demonstrate a financial need. Preference is given to students of color.

Award Amount: Scholarship amounts vary. The Pride Foundation currently offers 60 scholarships, which together average an award amount of just over $4,000 per student.

Application Requirements: Submit an online application along with your most recent transcripts, information from the FAFSA, and answers to some short essay questions. The same application applies to every scholarship offered by the foundation, so you can apply for all of them in a single swoop.

Apply by: Mid-October. Check the website for exact deadlines.

Other Financial Resources

Beyond scholarships and fellowships, there are other financial options that can alleviate the cost of education by helping you repay or forgive your student loans.

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF): The PSLF is a program designed for students who have direct loans through the federal government. If you’re employed full time at a nonprofit or government agency and have made at least 120 repayments on your student loans, the remainder of your loans can be forgiven.
  • The National Health Service Corps (NHSC): The NCHS offers up to $50,000 in loan repayment to licensed clinical social workers who serve for at least 2 years at an approved location that’s been designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
  • Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP): The FLRP is a national program open to students who accept jobs as a faculty member at an approved health professions institution. You can receive up to $40,000 in loan repayment for 2 years of full-time employment.

Ready to Get Started?

For additional scholarships, check out our list of funding available to psychology students and others pursuing service-oriented fields.

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