Scholarships & Online Resources for Human Services Students

Whether you need help paying next semester’s tuition, understanding advanced course concepts, or finding student networking opportunities, this guide will connect you to the right college and career support resources.

A degree in human services can open the door to a wide variety of career options in community and social service occupations. From entry-level work as a human services or social services assistant to more advanced roles like a social worker or counselor with additional education and training, human services degree allows for a great deal of job flexibility.

But paying for your college education can feel daunting and knowing where to reach out for academic and career help isn’t always straightforward, either. That’s where this guide comes in, providing information on over 15 scholarships and grants, as well as other financial aid options. You’ll also find a list of valuable campus and online resources that can help you throughout your college and career journey. Keep reading to see where to get the help you deserve.

Scholarships and Grants for Human Services Students

Tuition and other college expenses can add up quickly. The good news is there’s likely one or more types of financial aid you’re eligible for that can help pay for school. Scholarships and grants are by far the most valuable of these options, as they do not have to be paid back. Let’s take a look at these coveted financial awards and where you can find them, as well as how you can stand out to the committees that reviews the applications.

School-based Scholarships in Human Services

Some schools go the extra mile for their students by providing scholarships specifically for a particular major or area of study, including human services. These scholarships are much less competitive, as they are open only to those who are accepted or enrolled in the school or program, and they tend to be rather generous – some schools will cover a nice chunk of tuition for students who show financial need, exceptional merit, or both.

To see if your school (or a school you’re thinking about attending) offers scholarships specifically for human services students, talk to the financial aid office, the director of the human services department, or do a quick search on the school’s website. To give you an idea of what might be available, check out these two schools, which offer outstanding scholarships for students.

Human Services Scholarship Spotlight:
East Central University

The Department of Professional Programs in Human Services offers scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in various areas of human services, from the general human services degree to those in social work, rehabilitation, counseling, and more. These scholarships are designed for those enrolled or accepted into the department. The numerous scholarship offerings help ensure that there is something for everyone to apply to, no matter what stage of their education they are in. To learn more, check out one of the scholarships below and visit the Professional Programs in Human Services Scholarships page.

Richard E. Baumgartner Memorial Scholarship

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Amount

Varies depending upon annual funding

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Deadline

2/1/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Undergrads must be juniors or seniors with a 3.0 GPA and at least 12 hours completed at ECU; graduate students must have at least nine hours completed, a 3.0 GPA, and show promise in the human services profession.

How to Apply

Visit the scholarships page for the application.

Human Services Scholarship Spotlight:
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Numerous awards are offered through the Department of Human Services and Counseling at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Scholarships for human services majors include those for any student pursuing the general degree, as well as those specializing in areas such as addiction studies, or plan to work with at-risk youth upon graduation. All scholarships can be applied for through the Scholarship Center, which also allows you to apply for general scholarships offered to all students at the school. To learn more, visit the Scholarships page at the Department of Human Services and Counseling, and check out of the scholarship awards we’ve highlighted below.

John Donohue Endowed Scholarship

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Amount

$2,500 – $20,000

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Deadline

3/1/2020 (Annual)

Eligibility

Full-time sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a 3.0 GPA and financial need are eligible. This is for those in Addiction Studies; those in recovery must be clean and sober for two years.

How to Apply

Apply through the Scholarship Center.

National and Regional Human Services Scholarships

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Organization

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)

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Amount

Varies

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Deadline

5/1/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

Applicant must be a member of the JACL, which is open to individuals of all ethnic backgrounds. Preference is given to applicants who demonstrate an interest in public service and social causes.

How to Apply

Obtain an application from the JACL headquarters or online. Completed applications must be mailed in.

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Organization

Pilot International

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Amount

Up to $9,000

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Deadline

Varies and depends on when enough applications are received

Eligibility

This scholarship is open to undergraduates (under 30 years of age) and graduate students (under 40 years of age) whose goal it is to “benefit mankind” and pursue a career with the purpose of “improving the human condition.”

How to Apply

Download and print out a Request for an Application. If the applicant is eligible, then the Scholarship Committee will email a formal application to complete.

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Organization

Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin

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Amount

Varies

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Deadline

2/15/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

Open to graduating high school seniors from the D.C. Everest or Wausau school districts with plans to attend a Wisconsin institution of higher learning to study health or human services.

How to Apply

Create an online account at the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin website and apply online.

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Organization

Minnesota Social Service Association (MSSA)

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Amount

$1,500

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Deadline

1/15/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

Any undergraduate MSSA member with a plan to work in a human service field can apply for this scholarship.

How to Apply

Applications are available for completion online from the MSSA website.

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Organization

National Organizations for Human Services (NOHS)

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Amount

Varies

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Deadline

7/31/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

This award goes to a student who has made a notable contribution to the human services field. Applicants must be student members of the NOHS.

How to Apply

Application materials must be submitted via email.

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Organization

John Randolph Foundation

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

2/18/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

Major in a health-related field at a four-year institution as a full-time student, demonstrate financial need, and have at least a 3.0 GPA.

How to Apply

Create an online account, then complete and submit the application electronically.

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Organization

Stephanie Nicole Ross Foundation, Inc. (SNRF)

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Amount

$1,500

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Deadline

4/1/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

Applicants must be in graduate school in Florida and studying a field relating to psychology or behavioral science, such as human services.

How to Apply

Print out the online application form and submit it, along with a resume, via email.

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Organization

Turco Legal

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Amount

$1,000

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Deadline

8/15/2020 (annual)

Eligibility

Intended for students who are enrolled in either law school or a post-secondary program with a focus on a field of study that would allow them to help victims of domestic violence. Applicants must also have experience helping domestic violence survivors.

How to Apply

Apply directly through an electronic application form located on the Turco Legal’s website.

5 Keys to Winning Your Human Services Scholarship

When it comes to scholarships, especially the high-dollar and highly-competitive ones, it pays to ensure your application is top-notch. To do that, make sure to follow directions closely, provide exactly what the scholarship committee asks to see, present a compelling personal statement or essay that makes it clear how badly you want to work in the field, and mention something that stands out about you and your work in human services thus far. Remember, you get only one chance to impress, so make it count. The following tips can further help you succeed with the scholarship committee.

  • Key #1: Volunteer work matters.
    Those on scholarship committees want to give the money to someone they believe will make a difference after graduation. Having some volunteer experience is a great way to show them you’re truly interested in a human services career where you can make a positive impact.
  • Key #2: Get strong letters of recommendation.
    Letters of recommendation from those who are highly respected in the community and the human services field can go a long way toward convincing the decision-makers that you are worth taking a chance on.
  • Key #3: Take your time on the essay portion.
    Most of the application is filled with information that tells little about who you really are, such as GPA or a resume. The essay portion is where you can shine and break away from the pack. Take your time with this section and make sure it reflects who you really are.
  • Key #4: Use several sets of eyes to double-check.
    When scholarships are highly competitive, it takes just one small mistake to move your application to the bottom of the pile. Turn to friends and family to check over your application and essay to help ensure you’ve covered all the bases.
  • Key #5: Never miss a deadline.
    Following all of the previous tips and advice means nothing if you don’t submit your scholarship application by the deadline. Make sure you mark down the deadline as soon as you decide to apply for a scholarship, and give yourself plenty of time to get all of the materials in on time.

What to Do If You Still Need Help Paying for Your Human Services Degree

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to get a good amount of grants and land several scholarships, but it’s still not quite enough to cover the cost of tuition. There are other financial options, such as student loans, which can bridge the gap. Though student loans must be paid back, some don’t accrue interest as long as you are in school, and payments don’t start until six months after graduation.

Other financial aid options include employment tuition reimbursement, if you work for an employer that provides that benefit, as well as work-study programs, which you can apply for through the school itself. Depending upon where you work upon graduation, loan forgiveness programs might also be available. To learn more about the options for financial aid, visit our financial aid and student loans pages.

Academic and Professional Support Resources for Human Services Students

Finding support resources for your college education and career can start before you’ve even taken your first class. From student support centers at the school you intend to enroll in to professional organizations dedicated to human services, there are numerous places that can provide tutoring, networking opportunities, continuing education, and other support services. Let’s take a look at where you can find the support you need, starting with your school.

Human Services Student Support Centers and Services

Whether you’re just starting your human services degree, a graduating student looking for internship opportunities, or simply looking for help with online courses or how to pay for college, the student support center at your college can help. Every school has a general student support center, but some schools also have student support in individual departments, such as human services. Let’s take a look at a one school that goes above and beyond in its support for students in human services and related majors.

Columbia University

The Columbia School of Social Work provides nine individual offices that are ready to help students achieve their educational goals, and serves as a strong example of how a college can truly reach out and help those enrolled. These offices include academic affairs, enrollment and student services, field education, computing services (especially helpful for online students), advising, career services and leadership management, financial aid, the writing center, and a social work library. To learn more, visit Student Support Services at the Columbia School of Social Work.

Resources for Online Human Services Students

As online and hybrid learning becomes the new normal, students need more support than ever. That’s where resources like the ones we’ve listed below come in, helping students make the move to the online classroom and find quality information about online human services degrees.

Student Organizations and Professional Associations

  • American Counseling Association
    Human services students interested in working in counseling can look into the ACA’s resources, which include continuing education, public policy issues, a national conference, career help, and more.
  • American Public Human Services Association
    The APHSA can help students find human services groups that are specific to their career path or interest, such as those who want to work with child welfare or government assistance programs.
  • National Association of Social Workers
    The NASW is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world. Students will find resources that are designed for both social workers and human services professionals working in other areas that relate to social work.
  • National Council on Family Relations
    This professional association focuses on strengthening families. Members can take part in discussion groups, a professional journal, conferences, earning CFLE credentials, and more.
  • National Organization for Human Services
    The NOHS offers conferences, regional branches to join, an honor society, publications of note, and scholarships for members, among other resources.

Online Communities, Networking Sites, and Other Social Groups

  • Human Service Forum
    This website allows members to explore a variety of topics under the human services umbrella, attend events, network with other members, and more.
  • Human Services Community Group
    This newly-launched group is dedicated to expanding the horizons of human services workers, including those who are still earning their degree in the hopes of working in the field.
  • Human Services Network
    This collaborative effort brings together human services professionals for networking opportunities, member meetings, advocacy, an awards program, and more.
  • Human Services Network of Colorado
    Many states have networks like this one, that bring together human services professionals in that state to allow for discussion, networking, and keeping up to date on state and local changes in the profession.
  • Tau Upsilon Alpha National Human Services Honor Society Facebook Group
    This group allows honor society members to network with others across the nation, ask questions about points of human services work, and organize events.

Articles, Videos, Books and Podcasts

  • 6 Public Health Services Impacted by Coronavirus
    This website allows members to explore a variety of topics under the human services umbrella, attend events, network with other members, and more.
  • 10 Qualities of Great Community Leaders
    Do you have what it takes to give the utmost to your human services career and the people you help? This list of qualities can give you an ideal to strive for when embarking on your career.
  • Self-Care Resources for Counselors
    Those who use their human services degree to work in counseling will be grateful for these resources, which can help counselors handle the rigors of the job. After all, sometimes the helpers need some help, too.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Not sure what career you want to move into upon graduation? This government website is a strong overview of all the things a human services degree can lead to. Perusing it can give you an idea of where you want your career to go.
  • Why Work in Human Services?
    Curious about why you’d want to work in human services? This detailed article from Wake Forest University gives the reasons why this degree matters so much.