Social work scholarships are a great way to reduce the cost of tuition that comes with earning the degree you’ll need to start your profession as a social worker. In this article, we provide you with ten social work scholarships you can apply to, as well as resources to help you find more scholarships to continue your undergraduate or graduate education with less financial stress.
Scholarships can get you one step closer to becoming a social worker working in social services or with vulnerable populations, as many offer job placement opportunities post-graduation. Keep reading to find out how to get a social work scholarship, as well as tips to help you find the perfect social work scholarships for high school students, undergrad students, and even grad students.
What Is a Social Work Scholarship?
Social work scholarships are renewable or annual awards given to students to help them pay for tuition. There are two kinds of scholarships, merit-based and need-based. The first focuses on academic achievement and the other focuses on your financial needs. Each scholarship has its own eligibility criteria, so make sure you are an eligible student before applying.
Scholarships are wonderful because they alleviate some of the financial burden that a college degree causes. Research done by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has shown the average cost of a university degree to be $25,281 per year, including tuition, fees, room, and board.
Common Social Work Scholarship Requirements
- Fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Student Aid Report (SAR). When applying for a degree at a university, you will have to complete a FAFSA if you need financial aid. Most scholarships require the completion of a FAFSA or SAR to determine if you need additional resources.
- Fill in the scholarship application form. All scholarships have a form that you’ll need to fill in to apply. In this form, you’ll need to provide your personal information. The scholarship application form is the base of any scholarship application packet.
- Collect one to three recommendation letters. Recommendation letters are letters written by teachers, employers, or colleagues familiar with how you work. These letters of recommendation should be about your academic or professional capabilities. Usually, one to three recommendation letters are required, although this changes from scholarship to scholarship.
- Write a personal statement of 500 to 1000 words. You will most likely have to write a personal statement for your scholarship application. This essay addresses your passion for social work as well as the reasons you deserve the specific scholarship you’re applying for.
- Provide recent high school or college transcripts. Other than the value you get from studying hard and applying your learning, your GPA is often a deciding factor in whether or not you’ll earn a scholarship. Many scholarships are merit-based, which means your academic performance takes the forefront during the selection process.
How to Find Social Work Scholarships
There are many fantastic scholarship opportunities for high school and college students attending or interested in attending a school of social work. There are a wide variety of scholarships available, but knowing where to find them isn’t easy. Here are our top tips to help high school seniors and college students find social work scholarships.
Contact Your School of Social Work
The best way to find scholarships if you are a current student undertaking a college degree is to contact your school’s financial aid office. They will be able to tell you what scholarships your school of social work offers. If you are an eligible candidate, you should apply for more than one. Not only will your chances of getting an acceptance letter be higher, but you can also be the recipient of multiple scholarship packages at once.
Research Scholarships on the Internet
The Internet is vast with endless resources. If you do some research, you are sure to find a few options. The US Department of Labor’s Scholarship Finder is a fantastic resource that can help you find excellent social work scholarships you might be eligible for.
Look for Professional Social Work Organizations
Professional social work organizations help social workers across the country and world connect and support one another. One of the ways they do so is by helping social work students find jobs and offering excellent scholarships. Examples of professional social work organizations include the National Association of Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers.
Tips to Find Social Work Scholarships for High School Students
Start Searching and Applying Early
Scholarship applications have specific documentation requirements that you need to fulfill before submitting your application packet. Starting your scholarship search early will help you find a great scholarship with plenty of time to perfect your application. You’ll also have a higher chance of being chosen as the recipient if you apply early.
Look for Scholarships at Your Local Library or in Publications
You may be able to find social work scholarships at your school or local library’s reference section. Local publications such as magazines can also be helpful. Look for social work magazines, and you may find scholarships opportunities.
Speak to Your High School Guidance Counselor
Your guidance counselor at school is there to guide you with your academics and career. They can provide helpful career, personal, and academic advice. Your counselor can recommend scholarships or advise you on where you can find them.
10 Best Social Work Scholarships in 2022: Overview
|Who Is Eligible
|Achieve Atlanta Scholarship
|High school seniors at an Atlanta Public School.
|$1,500 to $5,000
|Aging Matters Scholarship
|Students interested in a career impacting the elder population.
|Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
|Must be active in the social and economic justice movement.
|Up to $15,000
|George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship
|Minimum GPA of 3.1 and undertaking a graduate degree in social science or a related field.
|Up to $5,000
|Georgia Commitment Scholarship
|Students pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and in need of financial aid.
|Amount dependant on the student’s needs.
|Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program
|Must demonstrate financial need and be a Maryland resident.
|$1,000 to $5,000
|Ima Hogg Scholarship
|Must be doing a Master’s Degree in Social Work and show financial need.
|Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund
|Must have interest in working with the Latino community and must be a resident of New York State.
|$500 to $1,500
|Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
|Members of the Phi Alpha Honor Society and interested in a social work career.
|$1,000 to $3,000
|Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates
|Members of the Presbyterian Church interested in an associate or bachelors’ degree.
|$4,000 to $6,000
Top 10 Social Work Scholarships: In Detail
1. Achieve Atlanta Scholarship
- Awarded by: Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta
- Deadline: 30 June 2022
The Achieve Atlanta Scholarship is a need-based scholarship that supports students in Atlanta public schools who want to pursue a social work education. Students attending two-year schools will be awarded $1,500 both years, while students at four-year schools will be awarded $5,000 per year for four years. Applicants must confirm their financial needs and need to be enrolled in a full-time social work program.
2. Aging Matters Scholarship
- Awarded by: SeniorCare.com
- Deadline: 15 May 2022
The Aging Matters Scholarship provides financial assistance to social work students who are already taking care of an aging loved one or who are interested in a career involving the care of the senior American community. Applicants should be full-time students at a two-year or four-year college or university in excellent academic standing.
3. Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
- Awarded by: Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
- Deadline: 1 April 2022
The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to students who are a part of economic and social justice movements and need financial aid to help fund their social work education. Applicants must be undertaking a two-year or four-year degree. Scholars have to use this scholarship in the same year it was awarded and can reapply each year.
4. George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship
- Awarded by: Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
- Deadline: Varies spending on specific district deadlines
The George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship is for criminal justice, social sciences, and social work students in a graduate program. This scholarship is merit-based, and each applicant’s academic achievements are considered. Application deadlines vary depending on which district the applicant applies in. As of the time of writing, applications are still open for Georgia’s first, fourth, and eighth districts.
5. Georgia Commitment Scholarship
- Awarded by: University of Georgia School of Social Work
- Deadline: 1 October 2022
The Georgia Commitment Scholarship is awarded by the University of Georgia’s School of Social Work and is need-based. This scholarship is for undergraduate students currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work degree. The Office of Student Financial Aid reviews each application and picks recipients based on their financial needs.
6. Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program
- Awarded by: Maryland Higher Education Commission
- Deadline: Varies depending on college deadlines
The Graduate and Professional Scholarship Program provides financial resources to students who demonstrate the need for financial assistance for their graduate studies. All applicants must complete a FAFSA when applying for their academic program and ask their school’s financial office to consider them for this annual scholarship program. Applicants are ranked according to their financial needs, and the scholarship can be renewed for up to eight semesters.
7. Ima Hogg Scholarship
- Awarded by: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
- Deadline: N/A, students must be recommended by their institution
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health created this scholarship to encourage people to become social workers. The Ima Hogg Scholarship is for graduate students demonstrating academic excellence committed to pursuing a career in the mental health field. Any Texas-based graduate school of social work can recommend a student for this award.
8. Latino Social Work Coalition
- Awarded by: Latino Social Work Coalition
- Deadline: 29 April 2022
The Latino Social Work Coalition provides this scholarship as financial assistance to students through the New York University Silver School of Social Work. Full-time Latino and Hispanic graduate students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work and who intend on working with the Latino population can apply to this scholarship, which awards $500 to $1,500, depending on availability.
9. Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
- Awarded by: Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work Programs
- Deadline: 31 May 2022
The Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship awards students undertaking a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and participating actively in community service. This scholarship is awarded annually to three college students in excellent academic standing. The first-place winner will receive an all-expense trip to show their work at the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors conference.
10. Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates
- Awarded by: Presbyterian Mission Agency
- Deadline: 16 May 2022
The Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates financially assists students according to their specific needs. Students can receive up to $4,000 in bursaries from this scholarship. If this does not meet their needs, additional aid can be provided. African American students and people of color can receive up to $2,000 more. Applicants must be part of the Presbyterian church.
Should I Apply for a Social Work Scholarship?
Yes, scholarships are a great way to reduce the financial burden of higher education. You should apply for a few social work scholarships to increase your chances. You can pursue your dream and become a social worker working in public health, child welfare, or a specific disadvantaged community.
Social Work Scholarships FAQ
Yes, many colleges and organizations offer scholarships that all degree candidates, including international students, can apply to. Check out the school’s website to determine if you are an eligible candidate. Each university’s and organization’s scholarships have specific requirements such as community involvement or advanced standing in academics.
Scholarship and fellowship programs are both grants. However, fellowships are specifically for graduate study candidates, including an internship after graduating, or for funding a project.
If you have a social work degree, you can become a mental health social worker, psychologist, or work in the developmental disability field, for example. Each job requires a different level of education. Research the best paths of study for your ideal social work career before enrolling.
ZipRecruiter has noted that the highest-paid social worker position is director of social work. Directors of social work make an average yearly salary of $81,672 and work in the public service or social services sectors.
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