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School of Social Work

MSW Scholarships

The MSW Scholarship application period is January 2 – February 15th each academic year. 

For information on applying for the four MSW Scholarships, please visit the  CSU, Chico Scholarships webpage. This site provides information regarding the application period, general eligibility, how to prepare the application, and guideline for the letter of recommendation.  

The link to the application will be at this site beginning January 2nd each academic year.

Please note that completing the one general application on this website makes a MSW student eligible to be considered for scholarships that do not require the Social Work major, but are based on other qualifications.

Gary Bess Associates Macro Scholarship

Gary Bess, Ph.D. is the owner of Gary Bess Associates (GBA), which provides grant writing, program evaluation, and consultation to nonprofit and government agencies (www. GBA specializes in public and private grant writing for the human services, including Federally Qualified Health Center applications.  Dr. Bess holds two masters’ degrees in social work and applied sociology from Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University respectively, and a doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California (USC). He has taught in graduate schools of social work at UCLA, USC, and at California State University (CSU) in Long Beach and Chico. For several years, Dr. Bess directed free medical clinic in southern California, including the South Bay Free Clinic in Manhattan Beach and the LA Free Clinic, before opening GBA in 1991.


**Preference is given to:

  • Students interested in macro social work practices including community organizing and planning, grant writing, program evaluation, or health and human services management.

 Award amount varies

Froilan Frias Master of Social Work Memorial Scholarship

Froilan Frias graduated with a BA in Sociology in 2011, and was a graduate student in the School of Social Work when he passed away August 1, 2013. He was 36. Frias is remembered as a kind and generous man who overcame a life of drugs and legal trouble to become a highly engaged and successful student. He was active in Gamma Zeta Alpha, volunteered for CAVE, and attended trainings at the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center. He is survived by parents Froilan and Maria, three brothers, and three sisters.


** Preference given to students that meets all of the following criteria. If no applicant meets all criteria, then the award is provided to the most qualified:

  • Reentry student (Reentry defined as having returned to school after a significant break of 5 years of more in formal education)
  • Bilingual in Spanish
  • Demonstrates an interest in studying or pursuing a career in mental health or substance use recovery

Award amount varies

Lois McDonald Master of Social Work Scholarship Endowment

Social Work studies in Chico began in 1956. Due to a growing need for trained social workers throughout northern California, Chico State College established a program to deliver undergraduate and graduate degrees in social welfare. To develop the social welfare program, Chico State College hired the late Dr. Archie McDonald in 1958 as the coordinator. In 1959 the program in social welfare was established with Dr. McDonald as its sole full-time faculty member. McDonald was the chair of the program until 1969 and retired as a teaching faculty member in 1987. He established 3 scholarships to assist students in their studies. To honor his wife, Lois McDonald, Dr. McDonald created the Master of Social Work (MSW) Scholarship.


  • Student to begin MSW Concentration Year next academic year
  • Continuing graduate student
  • Recipient is not receiving a stipend from another Social Work source, including paid internships or support through stipends.

Award amount varies

Jan O’Donnell MSW Scholarship

Professor O'Donnell joined the School of Social Work in 1974. Her practice experience included work in the field of developmental disabilities, public mental health, and clinical services for families whose members experienced severe neglect, sexual, or physical abuse. Professor O'Donnell taught all of the undergraduate social work courses at CSU, Chico and was the Chair of the School of Social Work from 1994 to 2005. Through her partnerships with agencies in the region, including child welfare and behavioral health, Professor O'Donnell was instrumental in the development of the MSW program that commenced in 2001.


The intent of the Jan O’Donnell MSW Scholarship is to support a MSW re-entry students majoring within the School of Social Work.

**Preference is given to students who has at least one year of experience employed in social work or a related field.

  • Current MSW student
  • First-time, transfer, or continuing graduate student
  • Minimum overall GPA 3.0
  • Financial need

Award amount varies