Social Worker Grants 2024: Comprehensive Guide and Resources

Social Worker Grants

Are you ready to explore a wealth of information on social worker grants, empowering professionals to make a positive impact. Discover available grants, application tips, and resources to support your career in social work.

Social work is a dynamic profession demanding a blend of formal education and practical experience. While a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is the minimum requirement for entry-level positions, the field offers numerous specialized and advanced roles necessitating a Master of Social Work (MSW) for those aspiring to academic, policymaking, or executive roles within social work agencies, pursuing a doctorate in social work (DSW) through a DSW program becomes a common trajectory. Some social workers may opt for a Ph.D. to engage in research endeavors or to impart knowledge to future generations of social workers.

Attaining an advanced degree in social work, whether to enhance client support or embark on an independent research project, comes with substantial costs. However, there is a silver lining as various avenues offer social work grants. These grants alleviate the financial burden of pursuing advanced degrees and extend support for activities such as obtaining continuing education credits, a requisite for maintaining social work certification.

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Types of Financial Aid

Financial aid becomes crucial as college tuition rises, particularly for those aspiring to become social workers, a profession demanding a minimum investment of four years in post-secondary education. Additionally, a Master of Social Work (MSW), essential for clinical practice, necessitates an additional two years of graduate school, with an average total cost of around $40,000. This can be daunting, given social workers’ modest mean annual wage of $45,900. Fortunately, various types of financial aid are available to alleviate the burden of tuition costs.

The primary types of financial aid include:

1. Grants:

– Need-Based: Yes

– Repayment: No

2. Scholarships:

– Need-Based: No

– Repayment: No

3. Student Loans:

– Need-Based: Sometimes

– Repayment: Yes

4. Work Study:

– Need-Based: Yes

– Repayment: No

5. Fellowship:

– Need-Based: Sometimes

– Repayment: No

Grant may not be universally accessible, but other financial assistance programs, such as federal student loans and scholarships, are viable options. Considerations for all types of aid include financial need, enrollment status (full or part-time), and the overall cost of attendance.

Prospective social work students should thoroughly review the requirements of each grant before applying. Financial assistance is available from various sources, including local, state, and federal organizations supporting social work. Additionally, financial aid opportunities may come from organizations unrelated to social work.

Online Social Work Programs

1. University of Denver info

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Explore the University of Denver’s Online MSW Program, provided by its esteemed school of social work. This program offers two tracks, allowing students to achieve their MSW degree efficiently.

For those with a BSW, the Online Advanced-Standing MSW can be completed in just 12 months. Alternatively, the Online MSW Program, designed for those without a BSW, offers a flexible timeline, allowing completion in as few as 27 months.

Key Features:

– No GRE Required

– Customizable pathway options, including concentrations in Mental Health and Trauma or Health, Equity, and Wellness.

2. Fordham University Online MSW Program

Fordham University offers a comprehensive Master of Social Work (MSW) program to equip students with advanced and relevant social work competencies. The online program is skill-based, preparing students to impact individuals and communities meaningfully while contributing to the profession’s advancement. Fordham’s MSW program provides flexibility with traditional and advanced standing options, allowing students to choose the path that best suits their needs. With four focus areas—Individuals and Families, Organizations and Community, Evaluation, and Policy Practice and Advocacy—students can tailor their education to their career goals. Pursue your MSW degree on a full-time or part-time track and take a significant step toward a rewarding career in social work.

3. Simmons University Online MSW Program

Simmons University provides an accelerated path for aspiring direct practitioners to earn their Master of Social Work (MSW) online in as few as nine months. This program is designed to prepare students for licensure, including the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) designation. With a focus on flexibility, Simmons University offers full-time, part-time, accelerated, and advanced standing tracks, allowing students to choose the pace that aligns with their career goals. Notably, GRE scores are not required for admission. Take the next step in your social work journey with Simmons University’s MSW program and unlock diverse career opportunities.

4. Howard University Online MSW Program

Embark on an impactful journey with Howard University School of Social Work’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Tailored for those aspiring to advanced direct or macro practice in culturally diverse communities, this program offers two concentrations: Direct Practice and Community, Administration, and Policy Practice. With no GRE requirement, students can focus on their passion for social work and complete the program in as few as 12 months. Engage in agency-based field education, totaling at least 777-1,000 hours, and earn your MSW from a renowned institution. Elevate your social work career with Howard University’s online MSW program.

5. Syracuse University Online MSW Program

Step into the future of social work with Syracuse University’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Designed for aspiring social workers who recognize the significance of technology in shaping the profession’s future, this program offers both Traditional and Advanced Standing tracks. With no GRE requirement, you can concentrate your degree in integrated or clinical practice. Join a program committed to preparing social workers for the evolving landscape of the profession. Elevate your skills and embrace the future of social work with Syracuse University’s online MSW program.

6. Case Western Reserve University Online MSW Program

Elevate your social work career with Case Western Reserve University’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Accredited by CSWE and designed for aspiring leaders in social work, this program allows you to earn your MSW in as few as a year and a half. Benefit from a curriculum that prepares you for social work leadership without needing GRE scores. Choose a path that accelerates your professional journey and positions you for success. Take the next step in your social work career with Case Western Reserve University’s online MSW program.

Social Worker Grants

Grants for Social Work Education

Explore valuable grants for social work education that can empower your academic and research pursuits:

1. American Fellowships Short-Term Research Publication Grants

– Amount: $6,000 for an eight-week grant period

– Description: This grant is open to women scholars across all fields and supports those with a doctorate degree. Criteria include scholarly excellence, project quality, originality, feasibility, mentorship, and teaching experience.

2. American Cancer Society – Doctoral Training Grants in Oncology Social Work

– Amount: $20,000 per year for two years; renewable

– Description: Designed for doctoral students training others in oncology social work research, fostering advancements in the field.

3. American Cancer Society – Master’s Training Grants in Oncology Social Work

– Amount: $12,000 per year for two years; renewable

– Description: Tailored for MSW-prepared field instructors at affiliated placement sites, offering students a focus on pediatric or adult oncology within health care or mental health concentrations.

4. The Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund

– Amount: $500 – $1,500

– Description: This fund provides small grants for full-time volunteers in progressive social justice programs or projects. Areas of focus include building a more just society, enhancing understanding, and advancing nonviolence and peace activities.

5. Doris Duke Fellowships – Research to Action Grants

– Amount: Up to $80,000

– Description: For Doris Duke fellows and policy/practice partners, these grants support applied research projects addressing policy or practice challenges.

6. Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation Grants

– Doctoral Dissertation Grant:

– Amount: Up to $5,000

– Description: Supports dissertation expenses of doctoral students in the U.S. and Canada with the potential to impact knowledge about issues in functioning or well-being.


– Faculty/Post-Doctoral Grant:

– Amount: Up to $20,000

– Description: Aids research by faculty or post-doctoral researchers affiliated with non-profit human service organizations focuses on innovative interventions and adds knowledge about social, psychological, or public health issues.

7. The Foundation for Child Development – Young Scholars Program

– Amount: Unknown

– Description: Encourages doctoral applicants from underrepresented groups, funding implementation research on the early care and education workforce’s preparation, competency, compensation, well-being, and ongoing professional learning.

8. Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship

– Amount: Up to $17,900

– Description: Supports social work doctoral students working on a dissertation related to health care policy and practice, focusing on diversity.

9. Judith Holm Memorial Student Award – EPICC

– Amount: $500 – $1,000

– Description: Cash prizes for final-year graduate social work students submitting a paper on a field placement intervention and readiness to enter the field.

10. National Hemophilia Foundation – Social Work Excellence Fellowship

– Amount: $10,000

– Description: For licensed master’s level clinical social workers working in a bleeding disorders program, supporting projects relevant to bleeding disorders practice.

11. National Institute of Justice – Graduate Research Fellowship Program

– Amount: Up to $50,000 per year for up to three years

– Description: Full-time PhD students with dissertation proposals relevant to criminal justice.

12. Phi Alpha Honor Society – Chapter Grants

– Amount: Up to $1,000

– Description: Awarded to chapters promoting humanitarian goals and bonds among students through service learning.

13. Ruth Fizdale Program

– Amount: Unknown

– Description: Supports NASW Chapters in research on specific social policy issues, enhancing human service delivery systems, and contributing to community life.

14. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Association – Research Award

– Amount: Up to $3,500

– Description: Open to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty engaged in research focused on solution-focused brief therapy.

15. Society for Social Work and Research – Awards

– Amount: Varies

– Description: SSWR offers awards for career excellence, research, and dissertation support in social work.

Sources of Financial Aid for Social Work Students

Financial aid for social work students can be sourced from various channels, catering to different needs and circumstances. Here are some avenues where individuals pursuing social work can explore financial support:

1. Federal Programs: Government-sponsored financial aid programs at the federal level are available for social work students.

2. State Programs: Many states offer specific financial aid programs to support social work education.

3. Professional Organizations: Associations and organizations related to social work often provide grants and scholarships to aspiring social workers.

4. Private Organizations: Certain private entities fund scholarships designed for particular types of social work majors.

5. Colleges and Universities: Educational institutions may offer financial assistance programs, including grants and scholarships.

6. Nontraditional Student Support: Grants and scholarships are also accessible for nontraditional students, catering to those returning to education later in life.

7. Military Support: Military personnel and their families may find financial aid opportunities tailored to their needs.

8. Church-Affiliated Scholarships: Some religious institutions offer scholarships specifically for social work students.

9. Community Service Organizations: Entities like the Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, and Policemen’s organizations may provide financial aid for social work education.

Exploring these diverse avenues ensures that individuals can find financial support that aligns with their unique circumstances and goals in social work.

Overview of Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are crucial in financing higher education for eligible individuals. Here’s a brief overview of common types of federal loans:

1. Federal Perkins Loan:

– Offers low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.

– Eligibility and loan amounts vary based on financial need and available funds.

2. Direct Subsidized Loan:

– Available to undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need.

– The government covers interest during certain periods, such as deferment or grace periods.

3. Direct Unsubsidized Loan:

– Available to undergraduate and graduate students, irrespective of financial need.

– Borrowers are responsible for all interest, and repayment begins immediately, though they may defer payments.

4. Graduate PLUS Loan:

– Geared specifically towards graduate or professional students.

– Requires a credit check and allows borrowing up to the total cost of education minus other financial aid.

To qualify for federal student loans:

– Applicants must be U.S. citizens with valid social security numbers.

– Enrollment at least half-time at accredited colleges or universities is typically required.

Loan amounts are subject to caps, ranging from $9,500 to $12,500 per academic year. While federal loans provide immediate funding, exercising caution in borrowing is essential to prevent excessive debt burdens. As of 2015, college graduates faced an average loan debt of $35,051, highlighting the importance of informed borrowing and financial planning.

Social Worker Grants

Private Social Work Loans: A Valuable Alternative to Federal Loans

Private, interest-free loans emerge as an excellent alternative to their federal counterparts in financing education. The Bill Raskob Foundation (BRF) stands out by offering interest-free loans to financially needy college and post-graduate students attending accredited U.S. colleges. The average loan amount extended by BRF is $5,000, providing a significant financial boost. What distinguishes these loans is their flexibility, allowing students a grace period of 12 months post-graduation before commencing repayment.

Another noteworthy option is the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), which extends a $7,000 interest-free loan. This offering is tailored for students under 24 years old, specifically children of active, retired, or fallen military personnel. MOAA applicants must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate unmet financial needs as a prerequisite for this financial support. These private loans serve as a targeted resource, addressing the unique circumstances of military families and fostering educational opportunities.

Beyond national foundations, various local programs contribute to the landscape of private social work loans. For instance, the Massachusetts No-Interest Loan and Dallas Hebrew Free Loan programs operate locally, providing financial assistance to students pursuing social work education. These programs reflect the broader trend of localized financial support, recognizing the diverse needs of students across different regions.

Private social work loans offer a tailored and often more flexible approach to financing education, complementing federal loan options. Whether through national foundations like the BRF and MOAA or localized initiatives such as state-specific loans, these alternatives provide additional avenues for students to secure financial assistance and pursue their educational goals.

Exploring Loan Forgiveness Programs for Social Work Majors

As the burden of student loans becomes a reality for many, loan forgiveness programs emerge as valuable tools to alleviate debt. Social work majors, in particular, may find opportunities for debt relief through programs like the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP). Post-graduation, this program offers a substantial benefit of up to $50,000 to forgive loans for mental and behavioral health clinicians. However, in exchange for this financial support, participants must commit to a two-year contract with any Corps-approved agency, specifically one with a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) score ranging from 26 to 14.

Another avenue for loan forgiveness is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Under this initiative, after making 120 monthly payments, the remaining balance of the loans can be erased. Social work graduates who dedicate at least 30 hours per week to employment at a government or nonprofit, tax-exempt organization may qualify for this program.

The Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP) offers a national solution for those venturing into academia. Geared towards students accepting faculty positions, this program provides an opportunity to receive up to $40,000 in loan repayment. To qualify, participants must commit to full-time employment at an approved health professional institution for two years.

Loan forgiveness programs present viable pathways for social work majors to mitigate the financial challenges associated with student loans. Whether through specialized programs like NHSC LRP, broader initiatives like PSLF, or career-specific options like FLRP, these programs offer targeted relief, aligning with the diverse paths that social work professionals may pursue.

Supporting Social Work Education: Notable Awards from Professional Organizations

Several esteemed organizations in the field of social work actively contribute to the education and development of future professionals through grants and awards. Here are notable initiatives by key organizations:

1. American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABECSW):

The ABECSW offers the Judith Holm Memorial Award, a $2,000 grant specifically for MSW students. To be eligible, students must submit a paper detailing interventions from their final-year field placements, showcasing their practical insights and contributions to the clinical social work domain.

2. National Association of Social Workers (NASW):

Since 1987, the NASW has recognized outstanding graduate-level students through the Ruth Fizdale Grant Program. This initiative awards $3,000 to two MSW candidates each year. Eligible applicants must conduct research projects addressing policy issues concerning individuals with disabilities, emphasizing the importance of inclusive policy considerations.

Additionally, the NASW sponsors the Social Work HEALS Grant program, which supports policy fellowships for Ph.D. or DSW students engaged in health policy practice in Washington, DC. The grants, totaling up to $65,000, are provided directly to the recipients’ universities, fostering advanced research and policy work in the healthcare domain.

3. National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW):

The NABSW actively contributes to the educational pursuits of undergraduate and graduate students in the African American community. This association covers tuition and book expenses for deserving students through grants and scholarships, ensuring financial support for academic success.

4. American Cancer Society Doctoral Training Grants:

These prestigious two-year grants aim to advance research in oncology social work. Doctoral-level students enrolled in accredited schools of social work with a keen interest in cancer-related research are eligible. The grants, offering a stipend of $20,000 per year, can be renewed for an additional two years, providing sustained support for impactful research endeavors.

5. American Cancer Society Master’s Training Grant in Clinical Oncology Social Work:

Designed for master’s-level students, this $12,000 award is dedicated to individuals committed to providing psycho-social services to those navigating the challenges of cancer. By supporting master’s-level students, the grant encourages the development of specialized skills in clinical oncology social work.

5. American Association of University Women (AAUW) Career Development Grant:

The AAUW extends support to social work students through career development grants. These grants empower students to pursue their academic and professional goals, fostering career growth in the dynamic field of social work.

6. Gerontological Society of America Fellowships:

Recognizing the importance of geriatric social work, the Gerontological Society of America offers fellowships to doctoral students. These fellowships provide a platform for students to engage in advanced research and contribute to the evolving landscape of social work in gerontology.

These initiatives from prominent organizations underscore the commitment to advancing research, education, and specialized practice in oncology and geriatric social work. By providing financial support and recognition, these grants and fellowships play a vital role in shaping the future of social work professionals dedicated to addressing the unique challenges of cancer care and aging populations.

Federal Grants for Social Work Students

Aspiring social work students seeking financial assistance can explore various federal grants to support their educational journey. While most grants are tailored for graduate-level studies, undergraduates can tap into federal sources to fund their academic pursuits. Here are notable federal grants available for social work students:

1. Federal Pell Grant:

Designed for undergraduates with exceptional financial needs, the Federal Pell Grant is a cornerstone of federal financial aid. To be eligible, applicants must not possess a bachelor’s degree, making it a valuable resource for those embarking on their undergraduate social work studies.

2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program (FSEOG):

The FSEOG Program caters to students with exceptional financial needs who have already received the Pell Grant. This supplementary grant enhances financial support for eligible students, fostering accessibility to quality education.

3. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Social Work Grants:

The NIH, a prominent federal grant provider, supports undergraduate social work students enrolled in a four-year accredited institution. Applicants are evaluated based on academic excellence, with a minimum GPA requirement of 3.5 or placement in the top 5% of their class.

4. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG):

The IASG stands as a distinctive military grant, offering assistance to students who have lost a parent or guardian in military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2000. To qualify, applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), ensuring accessibility to financial aid for those facing unique circumstances.

Exploring these federal grants opens avenues for social work students to pursue their educational aspirations without the burden of financial constraints. By leveraging these resources, undergraduates and graduate students can navigate their academic journeys with the necessary financial support, empowering them to contribute meaningfully to the field of social work.

Empowering Social Work Education: State-Supported Grants

States nationwide recognize the pivotal role of social work professionals in addressing critical societal needs. To encourage individuals to pursue careers in public service, many states offer financial assistance through grants. These grants often target areas experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals, aligning with the state’s strategic objectives. Let’s explore a couple of noteworthy state-supported grant programs:

1. Maryland’s Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant:

Maryland is committed to addressing workforce shortages in key areas by providing the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant. This program serves as a financial lifeline for students pursuing social work education. By targeting critical shortage areas such as welfare policy, mental health, substance abuse, and child and family programs, Maryland aims to bolster the presence of skilled professionals in these domains.

2. New York’s Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program:

New York recognizes the value of licensed social workers and has instituted the Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program. This initiative reflects the state’s dedication to supporting social workers in their educational journey. Through loan forgiveness, New York encourages individuals to contribute their skills to areas with a pressing need for qualified professionals.

It’s important to note that grant programs are unique to each state, reflecting local priorities and challenges. Students aspiring to pursue social work education should explore the grant opportunities their state’s Department of Higher Education provides. By tapping into these state-supported grants, individuals can not only alleviate the financial burden of their education but also play a crucial role in addressing the specific needs of their communities.

Conclusion on Social Worker Grants 2024

Social worker grants in 2024 stand as vital resources, opening doors of opportunity for individuals committed to positively impacting society through social work. As the demand for skilled professionals in critical areas grows, these grants serve as catalysts for empowering the next generation of social workers.

From federal programs to private foundations, the landscape of social work grants is diverse, offering a range of options to alleviate the financial challenges associated with education. Federal loans, private no-interest loans, and loan forgiveness programs allow students to navigate the financial aspects of their educational journey and pursue their passion for social work.

Moreover, grants and fellowships from various sources, including professional associations and advocacy groups, contribute to the multifaceted support system for social work students. These initiatives recognize the importance of social work in addressing societal challenges and actively invest in developing future leaders in the field.

State-supported grants further enhance this landscape by targeting specific shortage areas aligning educational pursuits with the pressing needs of local communities. Programs like Maryland’s Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant and New York’s Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness Program exemplify the state’s commitment to cultivating a robust workforce of social work professionals.

As we navigate the complexities of the present and future, social worker grants play a pivotal role in fostering resilience, dedication, and innovation within the field. By supporting the educational endeavors of aspiring social workers, these grants contribute to the overall strength and effectiveness of the social work profession in addressing the evolving needs of individuals and communities.


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