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Free Scholarships for Graduate Students in Counseling

Pursuing higher education, such as graduate school, can be a costly affair. You have fees, textbooks, and living expenses to consider, which can quickly pile up. If you’re interested in the field of counseling, there are many free scholarships for graduate students in counseling that can help shoulder the financial burden.
These scholarships can open doors and provide amazing opportunities for passionate students striving to build a career in this profession. In this article, we shall comprehensively explore various aspects of scholarships for graduate students in counseling, and how one can go about procuring them.

Understanding Scholarships for Graduate Students in Counseling


A scholarship is a financial aid award that does not need to be repaid, making it an attractive option for many students. Scholarships for graduate students in counseling are specifically designed to support those who want to further their education in counseling-related fields. They vary in size and eligibility criteria, with some awarded based on financial need, others on academic merit, and some that consider both.

Locating Scholarships for Graduate Students in Counseling


There are many places to look for these scholarships. University financial aid offices are often a great source of information and may offer their scholarships. Professional counseling organizations, nonprofits, and other entities also offer them. Online scholarship databases can prove quite handy in locating suitable scholarships.

Recommended: DAAD Scholarships for International Students

15 Counseling Scholarships for Graduate Students

  1. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation Scholarships

Each year, the NBCC Foundation provides multiple scholarships worth up to $8,000 to graduate students studying for a career in counseling. To qualify, students must be currently enrolled in a CACREP-accredited counseling program and demonstrate a commitment to providing counseling services to underserved populations after graduation.

  1. American Psychological Association (APA) Scholarships

The APA offers numerous scholarships to graduate students studying psychology or counseling. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 and are awarded based on academic achievement, potential for leadership, and commitment to addressing mental health issues in underserved communities.

  1. Future Counselors of America Scholarship

This scholarship, provided by, awards $1,000 to an exceptional student pursuing a degree in psychology or counseling. Applicants are expected to write an essay detailing their academic achievements and their contributions to the mental health field.

  1. Dr. Alma S. Adams Scholarship

Funded by Truth Initiative, this scholarship awards $5,000 to graduate students committed to addressing tobacco and nicotine use, especially among racially and ethnically diverse communities. Applicants must be pursuing studies in behavioral health fields, including counseling.

  1. Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC) Scholarships

ALGBTIC provides scholarships, ranging from $500 to $1,000, to graduate counseling students committed to serving the LGBTQ+ community. Eligible students must hold ALGBTIC membership and demonstrate experience and future commitment to LGBTQ+ issues in counseling.

  1. ACES Research Grant

Endowed by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), this grant provides up to $1,000 for research projects conducted by graduate counseling students. Proposals demonstrating the potential to advance knowledge in counselor education and counseling supervision are encouraged.

  1. American Addiction Center’s Behavioral Health Academic Scholarship

AAC awards scholarships of $2,500 to $5,000 to counseling students committed to treating addiction and mental health disorders. Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic performance, reference letters, and a personal essay.

  1. NAJA Scholarship

The National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, Inc. (NAJA) provides annual scholarships to graduate students studying to work with children and youth.

  1. American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded to students who are enrolled tribal members and pursuing graduate studies, including counseling. The amount varies and is determined based on financial need.

  1. Point Foundation Scholarship

The Point Foundation Scholarship is available for LGBTQ+ students pursuing a graduate degree, including a counseling degree. Students are awarded based on their academic achievements, leadership skills, and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.

  1. The Melanie Foundation Scholarship

The Melanie Foundation offers a $2,500 scholarship for graduate students pursuing a degree in the field of mental health. Applicants must be enrolled in a counseling, psychology, or similar program.

  1. CACESF Scholarship

The Cal Aggie Camps Alumni Scholarship Foundation offers a scholarship to students pursuing a degree in counseling or counseling psychology. The amount varies each year.

  1. APF Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship

This scholarship supports graduate-level scholarly projects that aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

  1. SAMHSA Minority Fellowships

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers fellowships to students of underrepresented communities pursuing a counseling degree.

  1. Mitchell-LeCroy Scholarship

The East Tennessee Foundation offers the Mitchell-LeCroy Scholarship to students pursuing a master’s degree in counseling. The amount can be more than $5,000.

Standard for Acceptance and Requirements.

Securing Scholarships for Graduate Students in Counseling

Securing a scholarship can be a challenging process, but there’s no need to be disheartened. Here are some steps you can follow to stand a better chance.

  1. Start Early: Scholarship applications often require essays, letters of recommendation, and more. Starting early allows you ample time to create a compelling application.
  2. Understand the Criteria: Ensure you fully understand the eligibility requirements and the evaluation criteria for your desired scholarship.
  3. Tidy up your Resume: Update your resume or CV highlighting your unique skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
  4. Write a Compelling Essay: Craft your essay carefully. Showcase your passion for counseling, your academic and extracurricular achievements, and your career goals.
  5. Apply for many Scholarships: To increase your odds of receiving financial aid, apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for.
  6. Proofread: Before submitting, always proofread your application for errors. A well-polished application makes a positive impression.

In conclusion, pursuing a career in counseling is indeed a noble and rewarding journey, albeit not an easy one. Financial constraints are one the prevalent challenges that many graduates face, which at times, may hinder them from achieving their dreams. Yet, with the numerous free scholarships available for graduate students in counseling, that doesn’t have to be the case.

We have discussed a wealth of scholarship opportunities available, each with its criteria and benefits, so take the time to consider which best suits your circumstances. The process may be intimidating at first glance, but remember, each application is a step closer to your career dream. Applying might require some effort and patience, but the potential payoff — not just in monetary terms, but most importantly in securing your educational and professional future, can be monumental.


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