For Social Work Majors


Program Overview

The DCS Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) / Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) Tuition Assistance Program provides financial support for selected social work majors who have interests in and made a commitment to working with children and families immediately after graduation. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services administers this program to better meet the challenges of child welfare by professionalizing its workforce with frontline staff trained in social work.

The program provides full-time undergraduate students with tuition and financial assistance to aid with textbook, travel, and living expenses for up to four (4) semesters. In addition, DCS pays graduates of this program a higher starting salary than their non-participating counterparts. In return, participants must work for DCS for 18 to 24 months (depending on the amount of assistance received) immediately upon graduating with their BSW degree. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for admission to the DCS BSW/BSSW Tuition Assistance Program, students must:

  • be a U.S citizen or, if a qualified alien, provide documentation of their eligibility for work in the U.S. for the duration of their study and corresponding employment obligation to DCS prior to receiving DCS tuition assistance
  • possess a valid driver's license, automobile insurance, and reliable transportation
  • undergo a background check and fingerprinting
  • have been admitted into an accredited Social Work Program at a participating university
  • have no more than four but no less than three semesters remaining before graduating with an undergraduate social work degree
  • possess a strong desire and commitment to work as a front-line case manager with the Tennessee Department of Children's Services immediately upon graduation with a BSW degree.

Program Guidelines

To remain in good standing, program participants must:

  • remain in good-standing at their university
  • maintain and receive passing grades for the minimum number of courses required for full-time enrollment status for each semester of aid received
  • complete the necessary university requirements for their undergraduate social work degree within four (4) semesters
  • maintain an overall GPA of 2.6 in social work courses for each semester of aid received
  • successfully complete and receive a minimum grade of “B-” for the Child Welfare I & II courses offered by their university
  • successfully complete the university field placement requirement, which must include a field placement of a minimum of 370 hours in a Tennessee DCS Regional Office
  • observe all important dates and deadlines (see below)
  • submit to DCS all requested information and documentation (e.g., class schedules, grades, and status updates)

Participating Universities

  • Austin Peay State University
  • Freed-Hardeman University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Tennessee State University
  • Union University
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • University of Tennessee, Martin

Application Process

Please visit the DCS BSW/BSSW Tuition Assistance Program Application Process page for details.

Graduates Applying  for DCS Employment

Please consult the Applying for DCS Positions presentation for a guided tour through the application process. Students should contact the DCS Tuition Assistance Programs Specialist as soon as possible with questions or concerns.

Download a map of DCS regional offices.