Graduate students in the University of Georgia School of Social Work who face financial challenges while earning a degree are receiving help, thanks to the re-establishment of a federally funded scholarship program.
The school was recently awarded $2.6 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration, as part of its Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program. The funds will be distributed to students in need over the next four years, contingent upon the program's annual review by the federal agency. The award is the largest to be received by the school for the program. The school had previously received four years of funding for the scholarships that ended in June 2016.
The school, which began distributing the grant money in August, will continue to award the scholarships to students who are enrolled full time in the clinical practice concentration of the social work graduate degree program. Scholarship applicants must also demonstrate they come from a disadvantaged background and intend to serve in primary care settings with underserved populations. Award amounts vary and are determined based on the level of demonstrated need for each applicant. Awards may be for up to $30,000 per year and cover at least half the cost of tuition.
"This scholarship should help at least 50 students each year through 2020," said David Okech, director of the social work master's degree program and the scholarship program. "This is a good thing, because there is a great need for clinical social workers in the state of Georgia and in the country as a whole." This year 52 of 63 applicants were awarded the scholarship.