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Child Welfare BSW Scholars Tuition Assistance Program

If you have the heart, the confidence, passion and the commitment it takes to pursue a career in child welfare, we have tuition assistance for you!

Our mandate, as the state’s child welfare agency, encompasses a wide range of services, including child protective services; assistance to help families stay safely together or be reunited; foster care and adoption services; and, support to youth and young adults transitioning from foster care to independence.

SCDSS works in partnership with local community-based services providers, family courts, and other public and private human services agencies to promote the safety, timely permanency, and well-being of children. Our child welfare services are directed toward these goals:

  • Preventing separation of children from their families
  • Protection of children alleged to be abused, neglected, or abandoned including provision of emergency and long-term alternate living arrangements
  • Reunification of families who have had children placed with relatives or in foster care
  • Establishment of permanent living arrangements for children who cannot be reunited with their families or when reunification would not be in the best interest of the child
  • Support services for young adults preparing to exit foster care to make successful transitions into adulthood

Program Overview

The South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) is looking to hire a well-educated, trained workforce to work with children and families served by the state's child welfare system. SCDSS has partnered with South Carolina State University, the University of South Carolina, and Winthrop University to recruit, educate, and prepare BSW students for future employment in our Child Welfare Services Program.

The DSS Child Welfare BSW Scholars Tuition Assistance Program provides financial tuition assistance to selected undergraduate-level social work majors who are committed to working with the children and families served by DSS for a minimum of two-years.

  • Non-employee students will receive tuition assistance up to $5000 per semester for the last full three semesters of social work coursework.
  • Employee students (who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree) will receive full tuition assistance and reimbursement for required books and course materials (not including notebooks, paper, folders, etc.) for the last 45 credit hours of social work coursework.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for the DSS BSW Scholars Tuition Assistance Program, students must:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Obtain acceptance into the Bachelor of Social Work program at:
    • South Carolina State University
    • University of South Carolina
    • Winthrop University
  • Must have a 3.0 GPA or higher in all Social Work coursework and a 2.5 GPA or higher in all coursework.
  • Attendance:
    • Non-employee students: Must attend the program full-time
    • Employee-students: Must attend the program part-time
  • Have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.
  • Apply to the CWSTAP Program
    • Non-employee students: During second semester sophomore year or first semester junior year for admission in program for remaining three semesters of the BSW program
    • Employee-students: Will have 45 credit hours of BSW course remaining to complete their degree

Program Guidelines and Student Commitment

  • To maintain good standing, student program participants must:

    • Must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in all Social Work coursework and a 2.5 GPA or higher in all coursework
    • Satisfactorily complete a DSS Child Welfare internship
    • Apply for employment up to 60 days prior to graduation, and no later than 30 days after graduation
    • Accept the first offer of employment from DSS Child Welfare within the timeframe outlined in the offer letter
    • Maintain employment with DSS Child Welfare for at least two years following graduation

    Learn more about the shared commitment and partnership between (you) the student, the university, and DSS by contacting your Child Welfare BSW Scholars’ Tuition Assistance Program Administrator.

Application Requirements

Note: All applicants must be in their first semester Junior year or have 3 semesters remaining before graduation. Applicants will be required to complete background checks during the interview process.

To apply to the Child Welfare Scholars Program, students must complete the following steps:

  • Gather
    1. The name and email address for the university internship faculty liaison. (NOTE: A portal link to complete a letter of reference will be sent to the internship faculty liaison)
    2. The name and email address for 3 references (2 academic and 1 professional to complete a letter of reference on their behalf. (NOTE: A portal link to complete a letter of reference will be sent to each person listed)
    3. Copy of the student’s official transcript.
  • Prepare a 500–750-word essay on why the student wants to pursue a career in child welfare with DSS.
    1. Go to the DSS Internship Portal.
    2. Click the "Create an Account" button in the top right corner of the page.
    3. Scroll down and click Proceed to Application.
    4. Complete and submit application.

Application Process for Employee-Students

  • Gather
    1. Admission documents to the University
    2. Current transcripts
    3. Prepare a Professional Statement that Includes how achieving a degree In social work will help you:
      • Achieve your personal and professional goals
      • Aide in your career in child welfare
      • Facilitate actualizing GPS practice when working with children and families
  • Apply
    1. Click this LINK to apply.
    2. Have your supervisor complete your letter of reference by clicking this LINK.
    3. Submit university admissions document to

Deadline for Application

Non-employee Students – September 30th

Employee-Students - October 31st

Priority Admission Criteria

  1. Position
    1. CWS Case Manager Assistants
    2. Other CWS staff
    3. Other DSS staff
  2. Personal Statement Score
  3. Seniority
  4. After all other considerations if there are still ties for admission, the order in which staff applied (first come, first served) will be a tie breaker for admission.


For more information, contact:

Michael Robbins
Workforce Developer, Human Resources
(803) 898-7371


BSW Tuition Assistance Program Brochure for Employee Students

BSW Tuition Assistance Program Brochure for Non-employee Students




Child Welfare Services Transformation

Best Outcomes for Children and Families

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.