Scholarships and Grants for Masters in Counseling Programs
Many states now require you to hold at least a master’s degree in counseling if you want to be licensed to work independently as a counselor. Getting this advanced degree can open a number of career doors and help you qualify for an increased salary, but many decide not to go back to school because of the high costs of education. Luckily, scholarships and grants are readily available to help counseling students pay for school.
Scholarships versus Grants
Scholarships and grants are very similar in that they are both provide students with money for school and do not need to be repaid after graduation. However, while scholarships are given based on merit, grants are given based on financial need. There is some overlap here, but typically scholarships require you to write an essay or provide information about your undergraduate GPA and skills, while grants require you to prove that you actually need the money to be able to afford school. At the graduate degree level, most scholarships are given in the form of fellowships, which come attached to responsibilities to serve as a teaching assistant or research assistant. Grants can be given for general education purposes or can be used to fund a specific research project that you pursue while earning your degree.
Scholarships (or fellowships) for counseling students are most readily available directly from colleges, but some outside organizations offer them to students as well. Some of the places you can start your search for counseling scholarships are with the following organizations: the American School Counselor Association, the American Counseling Association, Zeta Phi Beta, and the U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration.
Like scholarships, college grants for counseling students at the master’s degree level are most commonly available directly from colleges and universities for their students. You can check with your school’s financial aid department to see what funds are available and learn how to apply. As an undergraduate student, you likely receive money from the Pell Grant, a federal grant available to all students in need, regardless of major. Even though this money will no longer be available to you as a graduate student, there are some outside organizations where you can find grants, including the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the U.S. Department of Education.