Social work scholarships are abundant at the undergraduate and graduate level to provide the financial support students need to afford turning their dedication to social justice into a successful career.
Social work is a specialized helping profession that focuses on helping people from diverse backgrounds solve or cope with problems in their daily lives. Having a bachelor's in social work (BSW) is mandated for most social workers, but those working in healthcare settings and school environments often need a master's (MSW) degree.
As the employment of social workers is projected to skyrocket faster than average by 19 percent, there will be a strong need for qualified graduates from CSWE-accredited programs.
If you're ready to start truly making a difference in the world, consider the following 20 great scholarships for social work.
1. Alice M. and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship
Deadline: May 19th
Sponsored by the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF), the Alice M. and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship is presented annually for $1,000 to $5,000 to currently enrolled college students who are pursuing a degree in social work, medicine, or nursing. Qualified applicants must reside in New Hampshire, have limited financial support, attend an in-state post-secondary school, showcase scholastic excellence, and be at least freshmen. Along with the application, students must submit their student air report, certified school transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a 500-word professional goals essay.
Alice M. and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship
127 Parrott Avenue
Portsmouth, NH 03801
2. Barbara Solomon Scholarship for Social Work
Deadline: June 22nd
At Walden University, the Barbara Solomon Scholarship for Social Work is granted each year to three students for $5,000, $10,000, and full tuition coverage for earning the CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) or Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree online. To qualify, students must meet all admissions requirements, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, not have received another merit-based award from Walden, and exhibit a proven commitment to helping the underserved. Applications should include a current resume or CV, one letter of recommendation, and a 1,000-word essay on social change.
3. Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship
Deadline: April 20th
As one of the Council on Social Work Education's (CSWE) scholarships for social work, the Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship is designed to award $500 to minority students of African American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander descent who are earning their BSW or MSW degree. Eligible recipients must be in their final year of studies, attend an accredited U.S. program, be American citizens or foreign nationals, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and maintain full-time enrollment. Selection will be based on applicants' demonstrated commitment to working for equity and social justice.
4. Cenie "Jomo" Williams Tuition Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
Sponsored by the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW), the Cenie "Jomo" Williams Tuition Scholarship will provide $2,500 annually to two African American students who are enrolled full-time in an accredited United States social work program at the bachelor's or master's level. Applicants must be active paid NABSW members, maintain good standing, possess a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, demonstrate community service, and express a clear interest in working with the black community. Eligible students must submit two letters of recommendation, verification of enrollment, academic transcripts, and a two-page statement of purpose.
5. Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 5th
In honor of a devoted champion for civil rights who sought to improve living conditions for Native Americans and Latinos in America's Southwest, the Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship is granted for $4,000 annually for up to 10 students through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Qualified candidates must be accepted into an accredited MSW program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, have NASW membership in good standing, and be dedicated to working with minorities. Students should send a two-page biographical essay, a statement of financial need, two letters of support, and official college transcripts.
6. CSWE Minority Fellowship Program
Deadline: June 17th
In partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the CSWE Minority Fellowship Program is hosted annually for graduate students pursuing a practice-focused master's or doctoral degree in social work. To apply, candidates must be in their final year or have advanced standing, enroll in a CSWE-accredited program full-time, have U.S. citizenship, represent an ethnic minority group, and be committed to providing mental health services to at-risk children or adolescents. Along with a generous stipend, recipients will participate in one year of specialized training on mental health issues impacting youth.
7. Elmer Ediger Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 1st
Created in 1968 by the Mennonite Health Services (MHS) Alliance, the Elmer Ediger Scholarship Fund will distribute three social work scholarships annually for $1,000 to $1,200 apiece to outstanding graduate students with vocational interests in mental health, developmental disabilities, or related fields. Eligible applicants must be attending an accredited master's or doctoral program, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.25, actively participate in the Mennonite or Brethren in Christ congregation, and be citizens of North America. Students are required to submit one faculty recommendation, a pastor evaluation form, and proof of voluntary service related to social work.
8. Eulene Hawkins Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
In the amount of $500, the Eulene Hawkins Memorial Scholarship is granted annually by the National Association of Social Workers Alabama Chapter (NASWAL) for one undergraduate and one graduate student in honor a pioneering social worker who worked for the American Red Cross during World War II and advocated for the BSW degree. Eligible candidates must have a minimum major GPA of 3.25, have a declared social work major, attend a CSWE-accredited school in Alabama, and have completed at least nine credits in social work. Applications won't be completed without proof of enrollment, an unofficial transcript, and a personal essay.
9. George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Administered by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., the George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship is gifted for up to $5,000 every year to student members who are currently enrolled full-time in an accredited professional school in the United States to study social work, criminal justice, or a closely related social science. Qualified recipients must maintain good standing, exhibit financial need, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, exemplify the cardinal principle of manhood, and demonstrate service to the fraternity. For this graduate social work scholarship, students must submit an application packet with a 500-word typed essay on their humanitarian efforts.
George E. Meares Memorial Scholarship
3951 Snapfinger Parkway
Decatur, GA 30035
10. Jane Baerwald Aron Doctoral Fellowship
Deadline: April 14th
In honor of her long-time social healthcare policy career with New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Jane Baerwald Aron Doctoral Fellowship was established by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to award $13,500 in tuition support to graduate students earning a doctoral degree in social work. Applicants must be NASW members, attend a program accredited by the CSWE, be conducting dissertation research related to health policy, and show potential for assisting underserved populations. Doctoral candidates must submit a three-page research proposal, a letter of support, and a detailed curriculum vitae.
11. John Frederick Steinman Fellowship Fund
Deadline: February 1st
Annually, the John Frederick Steinman Fellowship Fund is honored to present up to 20 separate $6,000 graduate scholarships for social work, psychology, and psychiatry students who are working towards career advancement to help underserved rural communities. Qualified individuals must already possess a bachelor's degree, be accepted at an accredited U.S. college or university, show dedication to mental health practice, maintain full-time uninterrupted studies, and reside in Pennsylvania. Recipients must be willing to agree to practice their behavioral specialty within Lancaster County for as many years as fellowship support is given.
John Frederick Steinman Fellowship Fund
8 West King Street
P.O. Box 1328
Lancaster, PA 17608
12. Judith Holm Memorial Student Award
Deadline: April 30th
Through the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABECSW), the Judith Holm Memorial Student Award is bestowed for $2,000 each year upon a final-year graduate student who will be graduating with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in the upcoming spring. To qualify, candidates must attend an accredited social work program, carry full-time enrollment status, maintain satisfactory degree progress, show potential for entering professional clinical social work practice, and have unmet financial need. Interested students must submit an application with a maximum 4,000-word paper recounting therapeutic interventions from their final-year field placements.
13. Mildred Carter Bradham Social Work Fellowship
Deadline: February 2nd
Funded by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., the Mildred Carter Bradham Social Work Fellowship is awarded each year for $500 to $1,000 to student members who are currently pursuing their master's or professional degree in social work at an accredited U.S. college or university. Eligible applicants must maintain full-time enrollment, demonstrate financial need, possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and be actively involved in community service. Along with the application, students should send three letters of recommendation, a 150-word career goals statement, proof of academic study, and a copy of their W-2 form.
14. Miriam Dinerman Scholarship
Deadline: March 8th
Offering a $500 award and a complimentary one-year NASW membership, the Miriam Dinerman Scholarship is granted by the National Association of Social Workers New York City Chapter (NASWNYC) annually to second-year or advanced standing MSW students. Qualified applicants must have earned 30 or more graduate credits, attend an accredited school of social work in New York City, maintain good standing, already possess a bachelor's degree, and be nominated by a faculty advisor. Candidates will be judged based on the submission of a 1,000-word essay describing how political activism will influence their career in social work.
15. NASW-CA Native American Student Scholarship
Deadline: August 30th
Each year, the National Association of Social Workers California Chapter (NASW-CA) gives the Native American Student Scholarship for $1,000 to up to 20 undergraduate and graduate social work students who have Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaskan Native heritage. Eligible applicants must attend a CSWE-accredited program in California, have at least senior-level status, maintain full-time enrollment, and have NASW membership. Applications won't be reviewed unless candidates attach evidence of tribal membership, an official college transcript, a statement of financial need, two letters of recommendation, and a brief biographical essay.
16. Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
As the national social work honor society, the Phi Alpha Honor Society proudly offers the Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship annually in the amounts of $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000 annually to three outstanding college students in the United States who are pursuing a CSWE-accredited bachelor's degree in social work. Eligible recipients must be active Phi Alpha members, showcase academic excellence, be actively involved in community service, display good leadership potential, and be committed to the social work profession. The first-place winner will also be granted an all-expense paid trip to the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors conference.
Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
P.O. Box 70679
Johnson City, TN 37614
17. Randy Wayne Ahuna Scholarship
Deadline: March 20th
Within the Pauahi Foundation, the Randy Wayne Ahuna Scholarship is presented for $800 annually to outstanding undergraduate and/or graduate students in Hawaii who have declared a major in social work, social sciences, or ministry. Students must demonstrate financial need, possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, be committed to assisting others in need, submit two letters of recommendation showcasing their overall character, attach their Student Aid Report (SAR), and write a one-page essay highlighting why they've chosen their vocation. Preference will be given to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry and candidates not residing on Oahu.
18. Soaring Heart Scholarship Program
Deadline: January 15th
Since 2008, the Soaring Heart Scholarship Program has presented $2,000 awards annually through the Pride Foundation thanks to a generous donation from Mike Schaefer after he relied on community support to overcome the tragic suicide of his partner. Qualified candidates must be enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. institution to study psychology, social work, counseling, or therapy for providing care to trauma victims. Aspiring mental health practitioners should have resided within the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington for at least 12 months for consideration.
19. Spike Wadsworth and Sherry Sheng Scholarships
Deadline: March 1st
As the largest graduate social work scholarships given at Portland State University, the Spike Wadsworth and Sherry Sheng Scholarships are designed to grant $4,000 annually to five extraordinary students enrolled in the university's School of Social Work to receive their MSW or Ph.D. degree. Eligible applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, be committed to a career helping disadvantaged families, have experienced in evidence-based social work practice, and exhibit financial need. Other PSU social students may wish to apply for the $3,000 Bill and Julie Young Endowed Scholarship or the $2,500 Stoll Family Public Service Scholarship.
20. Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 4th
In memory of beloved social worker who committed his life to increasing awareness of pernicious health problems impacted African Americans before dying in 1989 while waiting for a heart transplant, the Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship is granted for $4,000 annually by the NASW. Qualified members in good standing must be accepted into an accredited MSW program, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and wish to become a licensed social worker. Applications must be accompanied by a two-page biographical essay, two letters of reference, official college transcripts, and a signed release of information.
Earning a social work degree is a rewarding choice for compassionate students seeking to leave a lasting mark on our world by promoting societal change. However, social work isn't a particularly high-paying field with an average annual salary of just $44,200. That's why it's essential that students entering this helping profession take advantage of scholarships for social work majors to lower their tuition costs and minimize student loan debt. Overcome your future financial worries and follow your passion for community service by applying to some of these great social work scholarships before their deadlines.