School of Social Work

Mental Health Stipend Program


California has recognized a scarcity of well trained qualified social workers to address the growing needs of individuals, families and communities living with behavioral health challenges. In the effort to ease this shortage, the CSU, Chico School of Social Work, the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), and the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) have made a commitment to offer enhanced training, education, and financial assistance to qualified students.

Second year, full-time MSW students who are committed to working in the field of community mental health may apply for the MH Stipend. The stipend:

  • Provides financial assistance of $18,500 for the second (concentration) year in the MSW program

  • Requires internship in a MHSA funded or contracted agency

  • Requires attendance in specialized trainings

  • Requires graduate to be employed in an approved behavioral health agency for a period equivalent to one year following graduation.

During the first five years (2005-2010) of implementation, 1,000 Mental Health (MH) Stipend students have graduated in California. Since 2005, 57 students from 10 counties have graduated through CSU, Chico's MH Stipend Program. The MH Stipend program has proven very successful in meeting the goal of training culturally competent social workers versed in public mental health. As of 2010, 94% of MH stipend graduates statewide have completed the required payback.

We anticipate funding for the 2017-18 academic year and are awaiting confirmation from CalSWEC.

Please see the link for information on applying to the Mental Health Stipend Program. The 2017-18 application materials will be posted March 2017. The deadline for applications will be May 19, 2017.

For more information, contact:

Jean Schuldberg, EdD
Mental Health Stipend Coordinator
California State University, Chico

Apply to the Mental Health Program


Requirements and Eligibility

  • The Mental Health Stipend Program is available to full time, MSW Students completing their Concentration Year Field Practicum with a Mental Health focus. Students are expected to graduate in the academic year the stipend is awarded.

  • Student maintains good standing per University and School of Social Work requirements.

  • Commitment to employment in county public mental health services.

  • Application and interview process.

  • Internship in county mental health agency or community-based organization under contract to a county public mental health agency that serves voluntary mental health consumers.

  • Incorporate public mental health competencies into practicum learning contract.

  • Student agrees to obtain full-time employment (2080 hours) in an approved behavioral health agency for a period of one-year after graduation for payback obligation.

  • Monetary payback requirement if student does not complete employment commitment in the State of California.

  • Student agrees to complete required criminal background screening procedures as required by county mental health regulations.

  • Student will attest that he or she has never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime that would disqualify him or her from employment in a county public mental health agency, or a community-based organization under contract to a county public mental health agency.

  • Priority will be given to applicants who reflect the diverse client populations currently served by mental health agencies in California.

  • Priority will be given to applicants who possess second language capabilities.

  • Priority will be given to applicants who are current employees of a county, public mental health program, or volunteer at a mental health and/or drug and alcohol services program.

Apply to the Mental Health Program