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Bachelor of Social Work Program

Department of Social Work

Financial Opportunities

Found below is a list of scholarships and funding opportunities offered to Social Work BSW students:

Virginia Child Welfare Stipend Program for BSW students

The Child Welfare Stipend Program (CWSP) is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Social Services and five public state universities in Virginia, including the ETSU Abingdon Cohort.

This specialized training program, funded through title IV-E of the Social Security Act, prepares BSW students for a career in public child welfare.

Students accepted into this program receive a $10,000 stipend per academic year. In exchange for the stipend and extensive child welfare training, the stipend recipient must commit to work at a Local Department of Social Services (LDSS) within the state of Virginia in foster care or adoption, repaying each academic year of funding with one calendar year of work. This employment obligation must begin within six (6) months of graduation.

Click here for more information or contact Dr. Duncan-Daston at

Davis Murphy Scholarship

Barbara Murphy Brooks, in honor of her parents, Rush W. and Celma Davis Murphy, has generously set up a fund for the ETSU Department of Social Work to award one or two annual scholarships to BSW students. The amount and number of scholarships vary, depending on funds, but generally the scholarship is $500-1000 per year, awarded over two semesters.

Barbara was a social worker who worked in the areas of child welfare, public assistance, and adoption. She also taught social work at the University of Georgia from 1970 to 1982. In 1982 she returned to the field of social work in the area of mental health, and later she retired. Through the course of her mother's terminal illness in the 1990's, she was reminded of the importance of social services in people's lives, particularly the baccalaureate social workers who were so helpful to her during the period of her mother's illness. In 1998, she set up the scholarship for the BSW Program, and we are most pleased to be able to offer this scholarship to our students every spring for the following academic year.

Criteria to apply for the scholarship include:

  • Student must have been formally admitted to the social work major.
  • Preference is given to students from TN.
  • Student must show financial need (to be determined by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Student must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Applications and Financial Aid Release forms are available in the Department of Social Work located at Lyle House. For the application deadline each spring (generally it is March 15), contact Dr. Heather Dye, the BSW Program Director, at .

The application form for the Davis Murphy Scholarship is available for download here.

Applications include a short essay that addresses the following topics:

  • Human service experience to date and what you learned from those experiences.
  • Your long-term and short-term goals following graduation with your BSW degree.
  • Any financial need information that you feel would be helpful for us to consider when we review your application.

 Wahlberg National Scholarship

Dr. Patty Gibbs Wahlberg, ETSU's BSW Program Director, in cooperation with the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD), established a student scholar award in honor of her late husband, Dr. Jim Wahlberg, the former MSW Program Director at ETSU who gave longstanding service to and leadership in social work and social work education at local, regional, and national levels before his untimely death in 1999.

The award includes round trip airfare to the BPD annual spring conference so the recipient can present his or her essay on Social Justice, Equality, and Empowerment. The award recipient also receives a one night hotel stay at the conference, a $250 honorarium, and recognition with a plaque at the Annual Recognition Luncheon held during the conference.

In addition to the scholar award to present the essay, the recipient is eligible for a full scholarship to pursue the master's degree in social work at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. To be chosen for this award is a prestigious honor, as well as an opportunity for full funding to pursue an MSW degree. Additional information and applications are available on the BPD website. To navigate to the information select the "About" section, then "Awards" (located on the left navigational menu).


 Lakeway Area Scholarship

This $500 scholarship supports students in their senior year who are from the Lakeway area (including the counties of Hamblen, Jefferson, Cocke, Grainger, Hawkins, Claiborne, Greene, or Hancock counties) and who are committed to pursuing a career in social work. Recipients should be willing to attend at least two SWLA meetings (1 st Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in Morristown) and commit to be present to receive the scholarship, which is awarded on the 1 st Thursday night in January at the monthly SWLA meeting). The deadline for the scholarship is generally November 1, but call the Department of Social Work to confirm the due date (439-6006).

In order to be considered for the award, students must be in good academic standing and submit the scholarship application (available from the Social Work Department Main Office), as well as the following documents.

  • A recommendation from a social work instructor that addresses the applicant's scholastic abilities and enthusiasm for a career in social work
  • A letter of recommendation from the applicant's field instructor or an employer that addresses the applicant's work ethic and contribution to the agency/workplace (volunteer work is acceptable)
  • A 250 to 500 word essay that addresses the following points:
      • Statement of financial need
      • Why you chose the field of social work
      • Your career plans/goals
      • Brief biographical sketch


 Ellyn Lancaster Scholarship

Purpose and History: This scholarship was established in 2013 to assist non-traditional aged "women in transition" to pursue a Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) or a Masters of Social Work (MSW)

Scholarship Amount: $1,500 one-time award for 1 year

Eligibility Requirements:

Residency Requirement: Washington, Greene or Sullivan counties

  • Education Requirement: Returning adult student: high school graduate, GED recipient, or current college student
  • Field of Study: Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) or Masters of Social Work (MSW)
  • GPA Minimum: Not applicable
  • College/Enrollment Requirement: Full-time enrollment at East Tennessee State University pursuing a Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) degree or a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree
  • Must demonstrate financial need

More information about the scholarship and application process, please go to the East Tennessee Foundation's website, selecting Receive and then under scholarships listed by name.


Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship 

Patty Gibbs-Wahlberg Scholarship recognizes student scholarship, service and leadership. Awards of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 are presented each year. The first place winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to present her or his work during the Student Session of the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors conference held each Spring. This scholarship is sponsored by Phi Alpha National Honor Society; more information regarding the scholarship and application process can be found on their website.



 Barbara G. Kirkpatrick Scholarship


East Tennessee Foundation Scholarship Opportunities

520 W. Summit Hill Dr., Suite 1101 - Knoxville, TN - 37902 – Toll Free Phone: (877) 524-1223 - Fax: (865) 637-6039

Scholarship Information & Applications available online at


Please Note: All scholarship award amounts are subject to change.

Purpose: Established to assist single parent students pursuing a four-year undergraduate degree at East Tennessee State University.
Scholarship Amount: $2,000 per year for one year.

Eligibility Requirements:

Residency Requirement: East Tennessee Foundation 25-county service areaOR Bristol, TN/VA  Education requirement: Graduating high school seniors OR current college students OR GED recipients OR returning adult students.
GPA: 2.5
College: East Tennessee State University
Enrollment Requirement: Full-time enrollment  
Must demonstrate financial need
Additional Requirements:

  • Single Parent
  • U.S. Citizen

Application Process and Guide


ETSU Scholarship Office 

Click here to visit the ETSU Scholarship Office.

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