The career of a social worker, described as simply as possible, involves identifying problems that individuals may be having and helping them overcome those problems. The issues social workers deal with may involve everything from an unemployed parent to depression and mental illness. Their job is to help society by finding solutions for people that those people may be unable to find for themselves. To accomplish this, the social worker will at minimum need a four-year bachelor’s degree in social work; many positions require a master’s degree or doctorate. Of course, this four to eight years’ worth of education is not cheap, and repaying student loans can be a burden for many years after graduation. The solution is to find scholarships and other alternative sources of funding to cover the cost of studies in advance.
Financial aid is not limited to those who want to start their study in social work; it may also extend to those already working in the field. There are grants and fellowships available to professional social workers as well as to social work educators who may require funds to further their studies or even simply to promote social work education. The options discussed below are just a few of the various sources of financial aid available to active and prospective social workers.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation will fund the graduate and post-graduate degrees of those it considers “change agents.” The Foundation provides financial aid to those studying in a range of public service vocations, including social workers and students working toward degrees in social work. Among the Foundation’s requirements is an interest in politics and student government as well as adequate grades for admission into a highly rated university.
The National Association of Black Social Workers offers a scholarship for individuals of African-American descent who have demonstrated a desire to research matters that are relevant to the African-American community. The Association requires prospective scholarship recipients to have at least a 2.5 GPA and a record of having performed social service either in a professional or volunteer capacity.
The Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund also provides financial aid to certain students studying to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work. To qualify for the scholarship students must be Native American, Hispanic, African American or a member of another designated ethnicity. The stated goal of the fund is to ensure improved diversity in social work education.
The Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Social Work Education has an International Fellowship Program for professional social work educators. To be eligible for it, the applicant will need to be an educator or researcher from a social work program, preferably one located someplace other than the United States. The goal is to foster partnerships among social work faculty around the world.
Finally, social work students in California have access to the Title IV-E Masters in Social Work (MSW) Program, which provides financial aid to graduate students who are seeking to begin a social work career that specializes in child welfare work. It is open to students studying social work at any accredited California institution.
Today’s guest article is provided by Sarah Rawson. She is an avid blogger and independent researcher. She has recently been researching various online msw programs and reporting her findings to various higher education blogs.