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Title IV-E MSW/MSSW Tuition Assistance Program

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Title IV-E MSW/MSSW Tuition Assistance Program
Employee Graduate Tuition Reimbursement Program
Certification Program
Public Higher Education Fee Waiver l University Business Offices
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Program Overview
Eligibility Requirements
Program Guidelines
Important Dates
Frequently Asked Questions
Public Higher Education Fee Waiver
Forms and Information
Contact Information
Participating Universities


Program Overview

The Title IV-E Master of Social Work (MSW) / Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) Tuition Assistance Program provides financial support to DCS staff who have made a commitment to completing a master's-level graduate program in social work and strengthening DCS with the knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired over the course of their education.

The program provides part-time or full-time tuition and related fee payments as well as an expense allowance to assist with textbook, travel, and living expenses for up to two (2) academic years, which is defined as up to eight (8) semesters. In return, participants must work for DCS an additional 6 months per semester of aid received.

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Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for financial assistance through the Title IV-E MSW/MSSW Tuition Assistance Program, a DCS employee must:

  • be a full-time DCS employee. Priority consideration is given to team leaders (TLs) and team coordinators (TCs).
  • have been employed by DCS for at least two (2) consecutive years.
  • be in good-standing with the Department:
  • • not on probation at the time of application.
    • no current or pending disciplinary action.
    • no history of disciplinary action within the past three (3) years with any state agency.
    • have received a Performance Evaluation (PE) within the past 12 months with a score of at least '3.'
    • have been unconditionally accepted into an accredited or in-candidacy MSW/MSSW program (see participating universities below).

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Program Guidelines

To remain in good standing and receive aid for a given semester, program participants must:
• remain in good-standing at their university.
• complete the necessary university requirements for their graduate social work degree within eight (8) semesters.
• take at least two (2) courses totaling at least 4.0 credit hours each semester; students attending private universities can take 4.0 credit hours even if only taking one course (taking less will not disqualify you from the program, but you will be ineligible for aid).
• submit the Public Higher Education Fee Waiver to their university's Bursar each term to pay for one course (public universities only).
• personally pay for 3.0 hours of tuition/related fees each semester (private universities only)
• observe all important dates and deadlines (see below).
• submit to DCS all requested information and documentation (e.g., class schedules, grades, and status updates).

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Important Dates

To ensure good standing in the program and timely payment of tuition/related fees and expense payments, program participants should carefully observe the following deadlines. Failure to complete the following activities by these dates could result in disqualification from the program, administrative obstacles, and/or delayed payments:

April 20: All participants – Submit schedules to DCS (SUMMER)*
July 20: All participants –Submit schedules to DCS (FALL)*
November 15: All participants –Submit Schedules to DCS (SPRING)*

*Please note that these are guidelines for registration to be observed for your participation in the Title IV-E MSW/MSSW Tuition Assistance Program and they do not necessarily correspond to those of the university (which might be sooner or later than these listed). Please consult and abide by your university's academic calendar.

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Forms and Information

Applying for the Title IV-E MSW/MSSW Tuition Assistance Program

Approval of Participation –Title IV-E Tuition Assistance Program
Solicits approval of and authorization for employee’s participation in the program (to be submitted by April 1 each year)

Deferral Request –Title IV-E Tuition Assistance Program
For current program participants requesting a break in participation from a Title IV-E program (reviewed and granted only in extenuating circumstances)

Incident Report -Title IV-E Tuition Assistance Program
For current program participants to report an incident that has or could affect his or her time frame for completion or ability to successfully complete a Title IV-E program

Public Higher Education Fee Waiver Form
For current program participants attending a public university to submit to their university Bursar when they register for courses each semester

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Contact Information

You might find the following contact information for participating universities helpful--as either a current or a prospective participant of the Title IV-E MSW Tuition Assistance Program:

DCS Title IV-E Tuition Assistance Program Manager:
Department of Children’s Services
Title IV-E Tuition Assistance Program
c/o Sirena Bragg – Program Manager
Cordell Hull Building 7th Floor
436 6th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37234
Send Email

University Business Offices
University Financial Aid Offices

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Participating Universities

Austin Peay State University
East Tennessee State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University
Union University
University of Memphis
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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