Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Scholarships and Grants Guide

For those who are passionate about helping others, social work may be a fitting career path. Bachelor’s in social work programs can prepare you to work in a variety of settings, including schools, mental health clinics, government agencies, hospitals, nonprofits and private practice. In any of these settings, social workers help people work through difficult circumstances and overcome challenges in their lives.

Social work offers a wide range of professional possibilities, but it also involves gaining relevant knowledge and skills. To help pay for the costs of earning a degree in this field, there are a number of social work scholarships and grants dedicated to helping students achieve their professional goals. A number of social work programs and other organizations award scholarships based on a variety of factors, such as financial need, merit or demographics, which can be used for any educational expenses. 

Keep reading to learn more about the cost of a bachelor’s degree in social work and explore scholarships that may be available to you.

Average Bachelor’s in Social Work Tuition

According to 2019 to 2020 tuition data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost of undergraduate tuition and fees at four-year institutions were $9,400 at public institutions, $36,700 at private nonprofit institutions, and $19,100 at private for-profit institutions. As such, the cost of majoring in social work can vary greatly depending on the school you choose to attend. Factors like location, a school’s ranking, public or private status, and whether you are an out-of-state or in-state student are all contributing factors. 

However, the cost of BSW tuition can be offset by obtaining scholarships or grants. A variety of schools and organizations offer financial aid opportunities that can make a bachelor’s in social work more affordable for you.

Grants for Social Work Students

There are a few state and federal grants that offer funding to students who major in social work. Here, we’ve compiled some of the available grants for social worker students. Explore these BSW grants below:

  • The NYS Licensed Social Worker Loan Forgiveness (LSWLF) Program
    This grant is offered to increase the number of licensed social workers in critical human service areas, including home care, health, mental health, substance abuse, aging, HIV/AIDS, child welfare or communities with multilingual needs. Up to $26,000 is awarded over four years.

    Learn more about the LSWLF Program and eligibility requirements.

Additionally, the following grants awarded by the federal government are open to all students. While they are not specifically catered to students pursuing a degree in social work, they can nonetheless offer financial assistance to students pursuing a public service career path. 

  • Federal Pell Grant
    This grant is available to undergraduate students who can demonstrate exceptional financial need. Award amounts vary according to financial need, but the maximum Federal Pell Grant as of 2022 was $6,895.

    Learn more about Federal Pell Grants and how to apply.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
    While not technically a grant, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program offers partial forgiveness of federal student loans for graduates who enter a field of public service, including social work. This program can greatly benefit students who go on to work in public service as a social worker. 

    Learn more about this federal loan forgiveness program.

Guide to Scholarships for Social Work Majors

In addition to grants, there are scholarships for social worker students available. Here, we’ve compiled a list of undergraduate BSW scholarships you may be eligible for. 

Remember: While you may not qualify for all of these undergraduate social work scholarships, it can still be helpful to explore a variety of options. This way, you can pinpoint which BA in social work scholarships are right for you.

  • Bethesda Auxiliary Lutheran Student Scholastic and Service Scholarship
    Bethesda Auxiliary, in partnership with AbleLight, awards scholarships for commitment to careers in Lutheran ministry with people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Applicants must be an active member of a Lutheran congregation, a freshman, sophomore or junior at an accredited college or university, and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    Learn more about this Bethesda Auxiliary Lutheran student scholarship and apply
  • James F. Reville Scholarship
    Each year, The Arc New York awards two scholarships of $3,000 to New York State residents. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university and be pursuing a career in behavioral sciences, social work, nursing, health care administration and management, or psychology. 

    Learn more about The Arc New York Scholarships and apply
  • Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship
    The Council on Social Work Education presents this scholarship to members of underrepresented ethnic/racial groups. Applicants must be graduating with a social work degree from a bachelor’s or master’s degree program accredited by CSWE.

    View details and apply for the Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship
  • Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship
    Sponsored by the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work, this award supports chapter members enrolled in accredited associate or bachelor of social work programs. Awards of up to $3,000 are presented each year. 

    Learn more about Phi Alpha and its scholarship programs.
  • Alice M. & Samuel Yarnold Scholarship Trust
    This scholarship is open to any students entering the fields of nursing, medicine or social work, who may not otherwise be able to attend college due to financial circumstances. Applicants must be New Hampshire residents and be able to demonstrate both financial need and academic excellence. 

    View more details about this scholarship for New Hampshire residents

Last updated May 2022.