The Top 10 Financial Aid Resources for Graduate Students

Obtaining your master’s degree is highly rewarding and can open up an entire world of possibilities. There are many social work scholarships and grants available, and knowing where to look for them can make financing your education much simpler. The following is a list of ten sources for MSW scholarships and grants that are available to graduate students pursuing their Master’s of Social Work.

Virtual Academic Center Scholarship

The Virtual Academic Scholarship is a grant offered by the USC School of Social Work to MSW@USC students only. You must be a Virtual Academic Center student enrolled in eight units or more, with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The scholarship is merit based and supplements financial aid to students whose needs cannot be met through need-based loans. The amount awarded varies according to academic merit.

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program is for servicemen and women who have been on active duty for at least 36 months after September 11, 2001, or have been discharged with a service-connected disability following September 11, 2001, or are a dependent of a veteran eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program allows schools, in agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to fund the applicant’s tuition that exceeds the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The school can cover up to 50% of the excess expense, which the Department of Veterans Affairs will match. To learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program, contact the USC Office of Veteran Affairs.

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding for women’s higher education in the United States. During the 2009-2010 school year, the AAUW awarded more than $3 million in funding to more than 200 fellowships and grants for outstanding women and nonprofit organizations.

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund offers grants to students who work for peace and justice, and are part of the progressive movement on their campus and in their community. The amount of the scholarship is determined by your circumstance and the amount of funding available, with a maximum award of $10,000.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF)

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the nation’s leading Hispanic higher education financial aid, offering over forty scholarship opportunities for Latino students. HSF has awarded over $300 million in scholarships over the past 35 years and supports a broad range of programs to help students gain admission, secure financial aid and even find employment after graduation. To qualify for the fund, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident pursuing your first graduate degree and have a GPA of at least 3.0. You must also apply for the FAFSA. Beyond this, each HSF scholarship and grant may have its own particular requirements.

Native American Health Services – Health Professionals Program

MSW@USC students of American Indian or Alaskan Native backgrounds who are members of a federally recognized tribe may be eligible for The Health Professionals Scholarship Program. Health Professions Scholarships are awarded for a one year period (meaning a full 12 months of support), with re-application required each year. Stipends are paid for the twelve-month period beginning each year from August 1 through July 31 for education up to four full-time years or eight part-time years.

Jeannette Rankin Foundation (JRF)

The Jeannette Rankin Foundation awards scholarships to low-income women aged 35 and older, providing opportunities for women nationwide to secure careers and thus break the cycle of poverty. The typical amount awarded by the foundation in 3010 was $2,000.

National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW)

The National Association of Black Social Workers offers scholarships to African American social work students, including the Cenie Jomo Williams Tuition Scholarship (two awards of $2,000 each), the Selena Danette Brown Book Scholarship (four awards of $250 each), the Emma and Meloid Algood Undergraduate Tuition Scholarship (one award of $1,000), and the Dr. Joyce Beckett Graduate Student Tuition Scholarship (one award of $1,000). To be eligible for these scholarships, you must be an active, paid member of NABSW who is enrolled for full-time study at an accredited U.S. social work program. You must also demonstrate service to the community, express research interest in the black community and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation National Programs

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation offers the Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial MSW Scholarship for MSW students who demonstrate a commitment to working with American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino populations. The foundations awards range from $1,000 to $4,000, and are given to NASW members with a minimum 3.0 GPA who have applied to or been accepted into an accredited MSW program.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) is another resource available to students who have entered military service for the first time between January 1, 1977 and June 30, 1985. VEAP is available if you enrolled in a contribution account before April 1, 1987, and have contributed from $25 to $2,700. Contributions are matched on a $2-for-$1 basis by the government. Depending on the number of your monthly contributions, you may be entitled for one to 36 months of benefits. You must have completed your first period of service and cannot have been dishonorably discharged. If you are currently on active duty and wish to receive VEAP benefits, you must have at least three months of contributions available. Benefits expire 10 years from your release from active duty.