This unique stipend grew out of the pressing demand for well-trained professionals in this high-need field. With a shortage of competent workers, a legislative and funding plan was introduced to incentivize sophisticated and experienced professionals to enter the area of child welfare. The funding particularly targeted the training of social workers, because these degree holders have the best skill sets, ethical sensibilities, and competencies for the job.

Title IV-E of the Social Security Act was part of the Child Welfare and Adoption Assistance Act of 1980, which supplies federal funds to states in exchange for offering foster care and adoption assistance programs. In this case, Title IV-E stipends and funds are made available through participating universities. Eligibility for the program varies by state and school, but generally it targets aspiring Bachelor’s of Social work (BSW) and MSW students who intend to specialize in child welfare.

The University of Houston has been entrusted with hosting a website for the Title IV-E program, and keeps an extremely useful (and frequently updated) matrix of stipend opportunities in all 50 states. You can view that matrix here. While eligibility, stipend amounts, and requirements vary tremendously from state to state and school to school, this guide might help you think outside of the box in terms of paying for your MSW education.

Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.