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Discover the Best Human Services Degrees Online with Financial Aid

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A caregiver in blue scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck is caring for an elderly woman sitting on a couch. The caregiver is gently holding the elderly woman's arm and smiling. There are pink flowers in the foreground.

Are you interested in an online human services degree but have concerns about how you’ll pay for it? We understand and have prepared this guide to ease you into learning more about your financial aid options. As a prospective student, you know that an online human services degree will open the door to a variety of careers, including social work, advocacy, and crisis intervention. To prepare for this track, you’ll need to consider the cost of tuition and the other hidden expenses that come with pursuing an education, like books and transportation.

Fortunately, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 72% of undergraduate students received some type of financial aid in 2019-2020.

This guide walks you through the financial aid process, breaking it down into actionable steps and how you can make the most of it. You’ll learn more about the top schools that offer human services programs with substantial financial aid options. From finding field-specific scholarships to early submissions to reviewing terms and conditions, you’ll learn the fundamentals of financial aid and discover what works best for you. Keep reading so you can prepare yourself for a high-growth career.

Inside Online Financial Aid-Friendly Human Services Degrees

When making ends meet is your top priority, finding a human services program with plenty of financial aid is paramount. To help you in your search, we found three quality programs with generous aid options. Whether you want an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in human services, the three programs below will help you get started on a.

Colorado State University Global

The top-ratedonline bachelor’s in human services program at Colorado State University Global prepares students for crisis intervention and case management in nonprofit and private sectors. This 120-credit, accelerated program costs $350 per credit.

The university has various financial aid options that minimize tuition costs. The school accepts federal loans (subsidized and unsubsidized), federal grants, and employer reimbursement and education benefits for veterans, service members, and their qualified family members. The university also offers tuition discounts for alumni and military, including members of the National Guard.

Students may also apply for the university’s nine institutional scholarships. To support those who’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19, CSU Global disburses up to $1,000 of grant money per the while funds last. The school’s website also lists outside scholarships and aid resources that you can explore.

Columbia College

Logo of Columbia College featuring two interlocking circles on the left and the text "Columbia College est. 1851" on the right. The design is in shades of blue.

At Columbia College, students can begin their career by completing the online bachelor’s in human services program, which prepares them to work in social services, child welfare, public policy, advocacy, and rehabilitation. Program tuition is $375 per credit hour, and several financial aid options areavailable, including scholarships, grants for Florida and Missouri residents, and generous aid for members of the military and their dependents. Military members may receive $250 per credit hour, and their spouses and dependents may receive $318.75 per credit hour. Columbia College accepts federal aid and honors Employer Tuition Assistance, Military Tuition Assistance (MTA) and Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (MoVR). Incoming freshmen are eligible for several merit scholarships worth up to $13,000, as well as GPA-based scholarships and competitive scholarships that include the Presidential Scholarship, which covers 100% of tuition costs. The college also offers an e-scholarship specifically for online and nationwide students.

University of the Cumberlands

In Kentucky, the University of the Cumberlands has an associate in human services program that’s available online or on campus. This program consists of 33 core credits and 60 total credits and equips students to work with diverse populations and connect people in need with the appropriate local resources. Tuition costs $9,875, and financial aid options include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. These readily available financial resources allow 96% of students to receive aid, averaging over $13,000 annually.

The university accepts federal direct loans, federal direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) loans, as well as federal and state grants. If students wish, they can participate in the Federal Work-Study program to earn money in an on-campus job. Although online students aren’t eligible for the school’s institutional scholarships, the website does list many relevant external scholarships they can apply for. All students (including online students) receive free textbooks and course materials through the school’s One Price Promise Textbook Program.

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Most Common Types of Financial Aid for Human Services Students

Understanding how you can finance your education is a key step to your success. You’re at the right place. Below, we discuss the three most common types of financial aid and which ones are most related to the human services field. We also give examples of each financial aid type to help you familiarize with them and so you can choose the one that is best suited for your needs.


Scholarships, especially healthcare scholarships, can significantly benefit human services students both during and after college by providing valuable mentoring and internship opportunities, enhancing their resume, and reducing education costs, and the need for taking student loans and repaying them at a high interest rate. Additionally, private scholarships, which typically come from corporations, nonprofit organizations, and foundations, often focus on specific niches and signal to employers that the recipient has high potential.

Institutional scholarships come directly from individual schools and often include mentoring and increased access to seminars, workshops, and campus resources. Scholarships offered by the state or federal government reduce stress with predictable funding and provide additional recognition of qualities valued by employers in the human services field.


Individual colleges, the state or federal government, or outside organizations may offer grants. Institutional grants motivate students to maintain high grades, which indicates their high level of commitment to potential employers.

Nonprofit organizations may offer grants for individual areas in the human services field, such as mental health, which can be helpful for those who want to focus their education and services on a specialty. Other private grants may include mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as internships. Government grants provide substantial amounts of aid that enable human services students to attend a higher quality school and receive a better education.


Student loans are funded through the state, federal, and private governments. Because federal loans typically have lower interest rates and subsidized loans don’t accrue interest while students are in college, they are preferred to private loans, which usually have much higher interest rates.

Subsidized federal loans offer students peace of mind during school. However, if federal loans don’t fully cover the costs, private loans can fill in the gaps. Loans provide a way to earn a human services degree, but they may influence future job choices if students focus on paying off their debt more than advancing their skills.

6 Steps Get the Most from Financial Aid

Although each form of financial aid has its own specific requirements, some general steps apply to the most common types. To help you navigate the process, we created the checklist below to give you an overview of what’s needed, along with some tips to make securing your funding as stress-free as possible.

Complete the FAFSA Early

As you know, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a critical (and often the first) step in applying for financial aid. It allows you to receive federal aid and enables colleges to determine if you qualify for any scholarships or grants. If it feels like there’s too many forms to fill, we hear you and encourage you to take a little break and get back on track! To help you get ready, we’ve shared this checklist to guide you through the process. Refer to the checklist before you start to prepare filling in your FAFSA form.

According to the College Board, $234.6 billion was the total aid awarded to undergraduate and graduate students through FAFSA in 2021-22. That averages out to $15,330 per undergraduate student and $27,300 per graduate student.

Did you know that according to the NCES, about 18 million college students complete the FAFSA each year, out of which, 87% of first-time undergraduate students got financial aid.

Thoroughly Review Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

Each scholarship and grant have their own eligibility and application requirements. You must submit specific documentation and, in some cases, maintain a minimum grade average and/or courseload to continue receiving aid. Note that a failure to thoroughly review and understand the terms may result in losing your financial aid in the middle of school. So, review the aid packages carefully to take advantage of every available financial option.

Check Deadlines and Apply Early

Scholarship application deadlines may coincide with other school-related tasks, and applying early helps you avoid the stress of a last-minute rush to get everything in on time. Submitting applications early shows that you are conscientious and proactive about your education, and it may increase your chances of being the recipient. Some funding operates on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earliest applicants have the greatest chance of getting aid.

Gather All Necessary Documents

Applying for financial aid typically involves submitting several different types of documentation, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, a statement of purpose essay, financial information, and standardized test scores. Human services scholarships may ask for some type of portfolio showcasing any social work you’ve done in the past. You can streamline the process and avoid mistakes by gathering all the necessary paperwork beforehand.

Receive Feedback on Supplemental Materials

To stand out from other applicants, make sure your application highlights your strengths. It’s helpful to have a mentor or teacher review your essays and other written material before submission. They can advise you on how to emphasize your needs, skills, and experience, illustrating how they’re relevant to earning a human services degree. By using persuasive, on-point language, you can present yourself as a top candidate for scholarships and other types of financial aid.

Review Award Letters

As a financial aid recipient, you’ll get an award letter from the school containing important details about the aid package. These letters specify the type of aid, the amount, the terms and conditions of keeping the aid, and directions to accept or decline it. It’s important to carefully read these letters to make sure you can meet all the requirements and to determine which school has the best offer.