For nearly two decades, a select group of Boise State students have achieved the nearly impossible: avoiding significant student debt while also carving out meaningful careers that start before graduation.
What’s the secret?
A federal funding program, known as Title IV-E, that makes available generous stipends for students embarking on social work degrees.
Through the Title IV-E training funding, state child welfare agencies partner with social work education programs to strengthen and professionalize the child welfare workforce. Since the late 1980s, program has been a major public funding source supporting staff training, and the opportunity for current and prospective employees to earn bachelor and master’s degrees in social work. Boise State has been part of the scholars stipend program since 2003; Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College also participate.
The program is unusual — and unusually effective — at offsetting the costs of education, training new social workers, building a workforce, educating rural residents and placing them in desirable jobs and supporting vulnerable populations, all at the same time.
Alyssa Reynolds, a Boise State alumni and clinical assistant professor, serves as the liaison and coordinator for Boise State students as they do their internships, many of them in child welfare with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Family Services. At any given time, she might be working with a dozen or more participants; her current cohort of participants represents $83,200 in stipend scholarships.