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Vet Center Scholarship Program

VA Creates Scholarship Program to Help Aspiring Vet Center Mental Health Professionals

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will establish a Vet Center Scholarship Program to assist individuals pursuing graduate degrees in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, or mental health counseling.

VA expects scholarship applications to be available by March 2023, and provide funding to cover up to two years of graduate studies for individuals pursuing these degrees. Recipients will be selected and their scholarships awarded by the end of April 2023. Upon completion of their degrees, these mental health professionals will then serve full time for a period of six years at one of VA’s 300 Vet Centers across the country, specifically, in underserved areas and in states with a per-capita population of more than 5% Veterans.

“In 300 communities across the country, Vet Centers provide Veterans, service members, and their families with quick and easy access to the mental health care they need and deserve,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “These scholarships will help VA ensure all Veterans and service members — including those in historically underserved areas — have access to Vet Centers with highly-qualified, trained and compassionate staff.”

Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional counseling to eligible Veterans, service members, including National Guard and Reserve components and their families. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.

In Fiscal Year 2022, 286,907 Veterans, service members (including members of the National Guard and Reserves) and their families received counseling at VA’s 300 Vet Centers, totaling nearly 1.34 million visits and outreach contacts.

On Nov 21, 2022, VA posted a final rule for public inspection in the Federal Register (86 FR 81094) to create this scholarship program. The rule originates from the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 which created the scholarship program as an incentive to train more individuals in psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy or mental health counseling.

Application Process

The application process is currently being developed and will be posted here when available, or please visit the VA Scholarship Program page.

This page was updated on January 10, 2023 to include the estimated availability of scholarships by March 2023, with recipients selected and scholarships awarded by the end of April 2023.