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50+ Scholarships & Resources for Counseling Master’s Students

Keep tuition costs in check while earning your master’s degree in counseling with this guide covering the 50 best scholarships for counseling graduate students in 2024.

Author: Quinn Dannies

Editor: Staff Editor

As an aspiring counselor, you likely have a deep drive to help people. Once you earn your degree, you will change people’s lives for the better. Graduate school is the only thing standing between you and a successful, fulfilling career in counseling. For many students, the cost of earning their master’s can feel like a massive challenge. You’ve got passion, brains, and skills — but how will you manage the tuition bills?

With over 1.7 million scholarships awarded each year, there’s no reason some of that money shouldn’t have your name on it. We’ve written this guide to help you learn about options to fund your education so you can focus your energy on helping others. In this guide, we’ll give you the rundown on top scholarships for graduate-level counseling students, answer your burning questions about funding, and offer some resources to help you in your future studies.

Scholarships for Addiction & Substance Abuse Counseling

Substance abuse counselors support clients as they fight to overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol. These counselors work to help people develop healthy coping mechanisms and maintain their sobriety.

APA Services for Transition Age Youth Fellowship

This grant from the American Psychological Association (APA) is funded through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This fellowship is granted to counseling students in master’s programs whose work focuses on providing addiction counseling and mental health care to transition-age clients between 16 and 25 years old.

  • Amount: $10,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time terminal master’s program at an institution with an APA-accredited doctoral program. Recipients must commit to seeking licensure immediately after graduation and working with communities of color for at least two years.

LCCNC Nancy Howell Scholarship

The Licensed Clinical Counselors of North Carolina professional association awards this scholarship to addiction counseling students who demonstrate the potential for excellence in leadership and advocacy. Along with a monetary award, scholarship recipients are invited to earn professional experience by working with the LCCNC board.

  • Amount: Varies based on available funding.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be North Carolina residents attending a CACREP-accredited counseling graduate program. Applicants must be student members of the LCCNC to be considered for this award.

Live for Lou Drug Counseling Scholarship

This scholarship supports future substance abuse counselors who are from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and plan to return there upon graduation. This award is administrated by The Cape Cod Foundation and honors the memory of Louie Lebart, who died from an overdose at the age of 24. The scholarship has awarded over $28,000 to students pursuing careers in addiction and substance abuse counseling.

  • Amount: $3,000-$5,000
  • Eligibility: This scholarship is open to students from Massachusetts pursuing a degree in addiction or substance abuse counseling. Preference is given to students from the Cape Cod area.

NAADAC William White Scholarship

This scholarship is designed to recognize exceptional student research in the addiction studies field. Applicants will be evaluated based on the strength of a 10–12-page research paper submission focusing on emerging topics in addiction or substance use disorders, ethics in substance abuse counseling, or addiction treatment.

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must have at least one year of coursework remaining, demonstrate a 2.7 or higher GPA, attend an accredited institution, and be a NAADAC member.

NBCC Minority Fellowship Program

This fellowship program from the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) provides financial aid to 40 master’s-level addiction and substance abuse counseling students who plan to work with underserved minority communities. Applicants should intend to focus on the needs of an underserved group during their studies in preparation to provide culturally informed care to their chosen population after graduation.

  • Amount: $15,000
  • Eligibility: Students must be enrolled in a CACREP-accredited graduate program and commit to working with underserved populations for at least two years after graduation.

Additional Addiction Counseling Scholarships & Aid Amount
Society of Addiction Psychology Student Grant Award
This grant is awarded annually to four graduate researchers whose work advances knowledge in addiction psychology. Funds from this grant must be dedicated to a specific research project.
$1,000
TAAP Aaron Rubin Scholarship
This scholarship supports Texas students who plan to become licensed addiction counselors after graduation. Recipients must commit to practicing in the state of Texas after graduation.
Varies
The Hale Family Annual Scholarship
This scholarship supports graduate students at Hofstra University pursuing a specialization in substance abuse counseling. Recipients receive $5,000 in funding each semester for up to five semesters.
$5,000

Scholarships for Marriage & Family Therapy

Marriage and family therapists help clients navigate conflicts and challenges between couples or larger family units. These therapists may work with individuals or multiple people at a time. You can learn more about training for this career in our guide to the best online marriage and family counselor degree programs.

AAMFT Diversity Scholarship for Emerging Leaders

This award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy offers financial support to minority students to promote the training and retention of minority marriage and family counselors. Recipients of this award must demonstrate commitment to the field and future potential and be from a marginalized group.

  • Amount: $3,000
  • Eligibility: Students must be current students or recent graduates of an accredited marriage and family therapy program and be nominated by an AAMFT member.

CAMFT Educational Foundation Scholarships and Grants

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists offers several scholarships to California graduate students pursuing careers in marriage and family therapy. The organization administers six awards targeted at diverse groups, including minority students, LGBTQ+ students, students with financial need, and students with a record of excellence.

  • Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be pursuing an advanced degree in marriage and family counseling from an accredited institution. Specific scholarships may have additional criteria.

Kenneth W. Morrison Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship recognizes graduate-level counseling students at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, advocacy, and leadership. Applicants are evaluated based on their academic achievement, counseling philosophy, and history of leadership and activism.

  • Amount: $600
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be a counseling graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grant

This research grant supports projects that address the unique challenges LGBTQIA+ individuals encounter in the process of defining, building, and maintaining family structures. Students of all gender identities and orientations are encouraged to apply, but applicants should demonstrate a record of research in the field and propose projects to advance the understanding and support of LGBTQIA+ families.

  • Amount: $9,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be graduate students of good standing who have demonstrated a commitment to LGBTQIA+ family issues in their previous research and coursework.

Additional Marriage & Family Therapy Scholarships Amount
Ned Gaylin Scholarship
The Ned Gaylin Scholarship recognizes talented couples and family therapy graduate students experiencing financial need.
Varies
Peggy Smith Scholarship

This scholarship is for San Francisco State University students studying family counseling at the graduate level. Recipients are selected based on academic merit.

Varies
Stella Harper McNeil Scholarship Endowment

This award recognizes counseling students at The University of Southern Mississippi focusing on marriage and family therapy. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need.

Varies

Scholarships for Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counselors typically work with individual clients to address emotional and behavioral challenges. These generalist counselors work with all types of clients, and their work can overlap with various counseling specialties. If you want to become a mental health counselor, visit our guide to the best online mental health counseling programs to begin your college search.

David H. and Beverly A. Barlow Grant

This grant funds graduate and early-career clinical research projects that deal specifically with the treatment of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. This award is designed to encourage innovative approaches to research and new sites of inquiry in the study of anxiety and its related conditions.

  • Amount: $8,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be affiliated with a credible research institution, demonstrate knowledge of the field, and demonstrate the capacity to complete their proposed work.

Jane Roiter Memorial Scholarship in Counseling

This scholarship supports students at National Louis University who demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, and a commitment to the field. This scholarship takes the form of tuition reimbursement and is only available to counseling graduate students in their final year of studies.

  • Amount: Varies
  • Eligibility: Students must demonstrate financial need and dedication to a career in counseling and be in their program’s final year.

The Melanie Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship honors the memory of Melanie Merola O’Donnell by supporting promising students specializing in mental health. Recipients of this scholarship demonstrate compassion, leadership, and a commitment to demonstrating the link between individual mental health and community issues. Awardees are expected to focus their work on the needs of victims of violence, emergency management professionals, and health care practitioners.

The Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

This scholarship supports graduate student work that applies academic research to the project of understanding and reducing the stigma of mental illness. This award aims to fund projects that demonstrably reduce social barriers to treatment and recovery.

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be graduate students with good academic standing at an accredited institution. Further, applicants should demonstrate a track record of commitment to issues related to the stigma of mental illness.

Vet Center Scholarship Program

This U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs scholarship seeks to recruit and train mental health providers for V.A. facilities. The award offers two years of funding for graduate-level mental health counseling students who will commit to working in V.A. facilities for six years following graduation.

  • Amount: Varies based on tuition costs.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be pursuing a graduate-level counseling degree in a field relevant to veteran care and commit to working in V.A. centers for six years following degree completion.

Additional Mental Health Counseling Scholarships & Aid Amount
The Star Meadow Scholarship
This scholarship is one of a few funding opportunities available to Lewis & Clark College counseling students. The Star Meadow Scholarship funds students from marginalized communities with financial need in their pursuit of a mental health counseling degree.
Varies
Future Counselors of America Scholarship
This fun scholarship opportunity comes from a surprising source: Dating.com. Applicants are evaluated based on the strength of a 900-word essay on the psychology of online dating.
$1,000
Scott and Paul Pearsall Grant
This research grant supports work that increases public understanding of the relationship between visible disability and mental health.
$10,000

Scholarships for School Counseling

School mental health counselors work with students to address emotional or behavioral challenges they are experiencing either in the classroom or resulting from other circumstances. School counselors may also provide additional support to gifted and talented students or students with specialized educational needs. If you’re considering a career in school psychology and want to know more, visit our guide to online school psychology degrees.

Association of Illinois Township Committees on Youth

This scholarship recognizes counseling graduate students in Illinois who plan to work with youth populations after graduation. This award is open to a range of graduate students, including those studying social work, counseling, and prevention. Candidates are evaluated based on their experience and goals related to youth and social services and their history of leadership.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be Illinois residents who plan to work in youth services fields after graduation.

Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship

This fellowship aims to support graduate research and scholarship within the field of child psychology, including topics in school psychology. The language of this fellowship is worded quite broadly, creating opportunities for a vast range of research topics to be considered.

  • Amount: $25,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be affiliated with an accredited institution and demonstrate expertise in child psychology.

Esther Katz Rosen Fund Grants

This grant funds research into the psychology and development of gifted and talented students. Funds can be used to support research, pilot projects, and research-based programs that enhance the development of gifted students. Proposals should focus on innovative research that targets children and adolescents.

  • Amount: $50,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be graduate students at an accredited institution or university for research proposals.

Harry and Susanne Clay Scholarship for Graduate Study in School Counseling

This award, administered by the Michigan School Counselor Association, provides financial assistance for Michigan residents pursuing advanced degrees in school counseling. This scholarship is awarded to one student annually. Award funds are designated for tuition, fees, and materials only.

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be Michigan residents who are accepted to or enrolled in a graduate-level counseling program.

National Association of Junior Auxiliaries Scholarship

The National Association of Junior Auxiliaries (NAJA) is dedicated to funding promising graduate students from the southeastern U.S. whose work addresses the mental health or educational needs of children and young adults. The organization has awarded over $14 million in scholarships to nearly 580 graduate students. Applications are open to general mental health counseling students or those focusing specifically on school-aged children.

  • Amount: Varies based on funding availability.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be pursuing a degree related to children’s mental health or education and intend to work with children after graduation. Additionally, applicants must be Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, or Tennessee residents.

OSCA Graduate Student Scholarship

The Ohio School Counselor Association offers two scholarships to support future Ohio-based school counselors. The first is available to all graduate-level school psychology students in Ohio and is awarded to students who are committed to school leadership and advocacy. The second scholarship is focused on increasing diversity in the school counseling profession. This scholarship recognizes promising school counseling students from marginalized backgrounds.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in an Ohio-based accredited school counseling graduate program.

Additional School Counseling Scholarships & Aid Amount
AB Irvine Scholarship
This scholarship is for counseling students who plan to focus their work on students with special needs.
$2,000
Alan and Grace Tenn Scholarship Fund
This scholarship supports the education of graduate school psychology students in Hawai’i. Applicants should be Hawai’i residents who intend to work in school counseling in the state after graduation.
Varies
Tomorrow’s Counselors Essay Competition
This essay contest through the American Counseling Association recognizes the work of promising graduate students based on the strength of a short essay. The essay prompt changes annually but typically pertains to current conversations in the counseling community.
$1,000

More Counseling Scholarships for Master’s Students

A Dream Decided Scholarship

This scholarship offers one scholarship per year to an undocumented or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student working towards an advanced degree in counseling. This scholarship is designed to fund counseling master’s students with first-hand experience of immigration challenges who can go on to provide culturally informed care for undocumented and DACA populations.

  • Amount: $8,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be undocumented or DACA students enrolled full-time in a CACREP-accredited program. Applicants must commit to becoming board-certified and providing mental health care to underserved populations for at least two years after graduation.

APA Social Justice Task Force Research Grant

This niche grant from the American Psychological Association funds graduate student research projects that study the intersection between underrepresented populations and religion or spirituality. Preference is given to researchers from underrepresented groups. The APA awards this grant to four graduate students annually and includes $500 for travel on top of the grant amount.

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a masters-level mental health-related program at an accredited college or university.

APA/APAGS Award for Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology

This annual award recognizes outstanding graduate work that focuses on caring for underserved populations. Typically, this award is conferred to students doing fieldwork or researching innovations in delivering care to in-need populations. Applications are judged based on how a project identifies, evaluates, and addresses the needs of an underserved population.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Students must be studying any sub-specialty of psychology (including counseling) in a graduate-level program at an accredited institution. Applicants must be nominated or endorsed by the American Psychological Association member.

APF Queen-Nellie Evans Award

This annual award from the American Psychological Foundation funds a graduate student in the mental health field who wants to change the world. Award recipients are members of underrepresented groups who intend to devote their careers to addressing structural inequalities that disproportionately impact people of color.

  • Amount: $4,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be members of an underrepresented group and demonstrate financial need. Preference is given to applicants with experience serving marginalized communities who intend to dedicate their careers to the care of minority populations.

Courtland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award

This award recognizes counseling students whose work advances the diversity of the counseling profession. Previous awardees have engaged in various diversity-related activities, including publishing research, presenting on panels, developing programs, demonstrating leadership toward the cause, and actively serving diverse communities.

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Eligibility: Awardees must be enrolled in a graduate-level counseling program and be nominated by an American Counseling Association member.

NBCC Foundation Military Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to five students each year who are active-duty military, former service members, or military spouses. Applicants should intend to apply their lived experience and professional training to provide mental healthcare to service members, veterans, and their families. Successful applicants will demonstrate an interest in and experience with the unique factors that affect military personnel and those who support them.

  • Amount: $8,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be active-duty U.S. military members, military spouses, or honorably discharged veterans. Recipients must commit to earning their professional license and serving military populations for at least two years after graduation. All applicants must be enrolled full-time in a CACREP-accredited master’s program.

NBCC Foundation Rural Scholarship

The NBCC’s rural scholarship aims to increase the availability of mental health providers in rural areas by offering financial support to students interested in working with dispersed populations. The scholarship is awarded annually to five master’s-level counseling students who live in rural areas and intend to serve rural populations during their careers.

  • Amount: $8,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must live in a rural area as defined by the Health Resources and Services Administration and commit to serving rural populations for at least two years after graduation. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time in a CACREP-accredited counseling program.

Recovery Ways Mental Health and Healthcare Student Scholarship

This scholarship is designed to support counseling students whose treatment philosophy includes a holistic evaluation of a patient’s needs to provide individualized treatments. Strong candidates should be able to demonstrate how their work and goals directly improve mental health in their community.

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled in a mental health or healthcare-related field at an accredited institution.

The Stephanie Nicole Ross Graduate Student Scholarship

This scholarship is designed to support graduate-level counseling students earning their degrees in Florida. Recipients may be eligible for ongoing support based on their academic record and degree progress after the initial reward. Candidates are evaluated based on how their academic goals can positively benefit their communities.

  • Amount: $1,500
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be involved in a graduate-level counseling-related field at a Florida college or university.

U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship Program

This scholarship supports active-duty Army officers while they pursue healthcare careers, including counseling and clinical psychology. Recipients of this generous award receive total tuition funding, a monthly stipend, and reimbursement for books or other supplies. This award is granted to students accepted to an accredited advanced degree program and studying full-time.

  • Amount: Full tuition, $2,600 monthly stipend, funding for books and materials.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must have active-duty status in the U.S. Army and qualify as commissioned officers.

Counseling Scholarship FAQs

Are there other financial aid options available for counseling students?

Yes. Scholarships are great, but funding your degree solely through scholarships would be difficult. While considering how to pay for school, don’t overlook federal financial aid, employer tuition reimbursement, school-specific grants and scholarships, and graduate assistantships.

Earning your degree online can also be an excellent option for reducing costs. By studying remotely, you save on expenses like relocating, commuting, and student fees. Over time, these can add up.

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to paying for graduate school, so we created a comprehensive guide to financial aid to help. Give it a read before you start planning your tuition budget.

Do I need to obtain a license to practice counseling in my state?

Whether you need a license depends on where you live and what you plan to do. In some states, you only need a master’s degree to become a mental health provider. Other states require a more involved licensing processes that may include internship hours, exams, or other assessments.

Further, your master’s degree in counseling may qualify you to practice under certain conditions (e.g., as part of a larger institution), but to work independently, you may need to acquire additional licensing to become credentialed as a licensed clinical social worker, school counselor, or other specialty-specific certification. For more details about unique state licensing requirements, view our psychology state licensure map.

How do I decide which counseling specialty to pursue?

This is a very personal question that only you can answer, but we’re happy to offer some advice. Start by identifying your goals. Are there groups you want to work with? Topics that interest you? A certain amount of money you want to make?

Once you’ve outlined your goals, do some research on different specialties to learn what they involve. For example, you can consult our rankings of the best counseling psychology programs and see what types of classes students in different specialties take. You can also make a list of job titles you want and research what credentials you’ll need to have.

It’s okay if you’re not fully committed to a specialty when you start classes. It’s a good idea to have some plans in mind, but counseling students complete a set of core courses before declaring an emphasis in most programs. You’ll have some time to see where your interests take you.

Is earning a master’s degree in counseling expensive?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, graduate students paid $18,416 per semester for their programs in 2016. Over the course of a two-year counseling program, that adds up to $73,664. When you consider that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the 2022 median salary for mental health counselors as $49,701, the math starts to feel questionable.

Those numbers only tell part of the story. First, the BLS data is broad, and your starting salary can vary greatly based on your specialty and location. Researching job postings in your area and field is a great way to understand your earning potential better.

Second, there are plenty of ways to lower your tuition bill. Follow up on some of these scholarships and do your research when it comes to financial aid. Also, there can be substantial cost differences between public and private universities and in-state vs. out-of-state tuition. Finally, consider accelerated programs (there are many great online ones) to keep your costs in check.

Is it challenging to secure a counseling scholarship?

While not necessarily tricky, securing counseling scholarships can be competitive and time consuming. We’ve done some leg work for you with this guide because it can take hours of research just to find scholarships to apply for. Then, each award will have its own application that may require essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Plus, you’ll be competing with plenty of other students for that scholarship money.

We have some hot tips for you, though. First, start your research early. Second, stay organized by keeping a list of scholarships and important deadlines. Finally, and most importantly, get help. You probably have access to a writing center if you’re a current student. Take advantage of that resource and have the pros help you draft and revise your application documents.

Resources for Counseling Master’s Students

  • 10 Professional Counseling Organizations Every Counselor Should Know About
    Professional organizations can be significant resources when it comes to funding, networking, and professional development. This rundown from William & Mary School of Education offers a great overview of the major professional organizations that counseling students should have on their radar.
  • American Counseling Association
    This professional association offers a student membership that includes vital resources and support for counseling students. Students can obtain liability insurance, find internship opportunities, link up with volunteer experiences, and more.
  • Counseling Students’ Experiences and Interpretations of Purpose Development
    This fascinating 2023 research paper discusses how counseling students develop purpose during their studies and offers possibilities to help students cultivate purpose and personal wellness.
  • Counselor Education and Supervision Subreddit
    Social media shouldn’t be your first stop for professional advice or research, but it can be a great place to seek support from other people in your shoes. This subreddit is specifically for counseling students and educators and can be a great source of community.
  • The Ethics of Self-Care
    Counselors and counseling students are under a ton of pressure to be available to their patients and put personal needs on the back burner. This article argues that maintaining a self-care practice is an ethical responsibility for counselors since it helps ensure professional competence. The insights here may help you build sustainable boundaries and self-care practices during your program and beyond.
  • The Modern Therapist’s Survival Guide Podcast
    This podcast is by therapists for therapists (and therapists in training). Each episode features an interview with a counseling professional about current topics in the field and the challenges faced by mental health providers.
  • The National Grad Crisis Line
    Even future counselors experience mental health challenges. This 24-hour hotline connects graduate students to free counseling and crisis intervention services by counselors trained in the unique challenges that graduate students face.
  • There’s More to Graduate School – Personal & Professional Development Resources for Graduate Students & Graduate Student Mentors
    This guide from the American Counseling Association demystifies all the extras that come along with your program. This document is packed with helpful tips, from conference presentations to seeking mentorship.
  • Tips and Resources for First-Year Graduate Students in Clinical Psychology
    This helpful rundown from the Society of Clinical Psychology offers concrete advice to new counseling students to help them manage their workload and support their school-life balance.
  • What I Wish I Knew as a Counseling Graduate Student
    In this blog post, veteran counselor Noelle Benach reflects on her student years and offers advice to current counseling students to help them excel in their studies.