EMPOWER MSWs Scholarship: Expanding the Mental health PrOfessional WorkforcE in Rural NC

UNCP awarded $3.1M grant to provide scholarships for MSW students


Program Goals:

1. Increase number of graduates practicing clinical social work in primary care and in or with medically underserved communities
2. Increase recruitment and retention of students from educationally, environmentally, and economically disadvantaged backgrounds

Application Cycle: 

Applications for the 2021-22 academic year are open now through July 30, 2021. See application information below. Students must be accepted and enrolled in the MSW program to apply for the scholarship.

Program Summary:

The EMPOWER MSWs Scholarship Program is funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program. This program provides scholarships to full‐time students from disadvantaged backgrounds who also have a financial need enrolled in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at UNCP. For most students, the amount of the award covers their graduate tuition and fees plus some living expenses. Applicants should be advised that student loans will be reduced to accommodate these awards. Awards can be applied to Summer, Fall and/or Spring terms. No financial aid awards may exceed the estimated cost of attendance. Eligibility for a scholarship award does not guarantee full funding, as funding is limited.

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible, you must have financial need AND come from either an economically OR environmentally/educationally disadvantaged background.

Economically Disadvantaged: Applicants who come from a family with an annual income below low‐income levels according to family size based on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' poverty guidelines will be considered to be from an economically disadvantaged background. See: Low-Income Levels Based on the 2019 Poverty Guidelines

Environmentally/Educationally Disadvantaged: Applicants who meet two or more of the following criteria will be considered to be from an environmentally/educationally disadvantaged background.

  1. First generation college student
  2. Graduated from or last attended a high school that meets one of the following criteria: has a low overall student average SAT score; OR has a low percentage of seniors receiving a high school diploma; OR has a low percentage of graduates who go to college during the first year; OR has low per capita funding; OR has a high number of students who are are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches (all based on the latest available data)
  3. Belong to an underrepresented minority in higher education defined as those identifying as Native American (NA), African American (AA), Hispanic (H), or multiracial (M).                                                                                                 

Application Requirements:

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fasfa.gov.

Parental income will be used to determine a student’s eligibility for economically disadvantaged in all cases except when the student is considered independent (at least 24 years old and not listed as a dependent on parents’ Federal income tax for three (3) or more years).

If considered dependent, students must submit three (3) years of their parents’ Federal tax returns and/or statements from the IRS that he or she was not required to file taxes. If considered independent according to the definition above, students must submit three (3) years of their own Federal tax returns.

Students must provide documentation of their age.

Students must be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States.

Students must be enrolled full time (9+ credits per term) in the UNCP MSW Program.

Students must make satisfactory academic progress in accordance with University policy.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2021-2022 Academic Year!

Submit an online application: https://forms.gle/JQRmrZNjQ2Rsoc5t5

Required Attachment: One page statement double-spaced statement in PDF format that explains 1) why you believe you should be awarded the EMPOWER MSWs scholarship; 2) what your career goals are following graduation with your MSW degree and; 3) where you plan to reside following graduation.

Applications received after the due date and time will not be considered (no exceptions for technical issues unless the online application is not working properly)

Advanced Standing Students – Applications Due May 14, 2021 by 11:59pm

Traditional Program Students – Applications Due July 30, 2021 by 11:59pm

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of social work faculty. Award amounts for qualified applicants will be based on financial need and the total number of qualified applicants. Notification of award will be made via Bravemail by 5/21/2021 for advanced standing students and 8/6/2021 for traditional program students. 

See the information session presentation linked below.

Contact Dr. Cindy Locklear with questions - cindy.locklear@uncp.edu