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The Integrated Behavioral Health Stipend Program

We are currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 academic year.


The Department of Social Work at CSUSM is participating in the Integrated Behavioral Health Stipend (IBH) program, a statewide training program designed to prepare MSW-level students to meet the critical demand for a diverse, skilled social work workforce for the public behavioral health service arena.

Mission and History of the IBH Stipend Program:

The mission of the Integrated Behavioral Health Stipend program is to develop a workforce of professionally trained and culturally competent social workers that meets the personnel needs of California’s public mental health system.  With funding from the Mental Health Services Act, California Proposition 63, the program provides stipends to selected MSW students in their advanced year of study.  The IBH Program operates under a contract with California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD), and UC Berkeley’s California Social Work Education Center (CALSWEC).  

Rooted in the Mental Health Recovery Philosophy, the Mental Health Services Act seeks to support a Strengths-based behavioral health service delivery model that embodies the principles of wellness, recovery and resilience which will enable individuals to live, work, learn, and fully participate in the communities of their choice.  Behavioral Health Program stipend recipients graduate with knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to begin a professional social work career in agencies that provide recovery-oriented services to people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders and their families.

CSUSM IBH Program Overview and Requirements:

Students selected to participate in their advanced year of study receive an $18,500 stipend if enrolled full time or a $9,250 stipend if enrolled part time. Selected students must be accepted into a field internship in a county run or county contracted behavioral health program in their advanced year, and participate in specialized behavioral health electives and other trainings and colloquia that focus on the behavioral health recovery model. 


Upon graduation, students will "pay back" this stipend through work service in a county run or county contracted behavioral health program, for a period of at least 6 months if they received a part-time stipend, or one year if they received a full-time stipend. 

Responsibilities and Commitment While an MSW Student

The Student will:

  1. Agree to complete and graduate from the MSW program at CSUSM within the required timelines established for each program cohort.
  2. Agree to enroll in all required classes, including behavioral health field internship placements, approved behavioral health elective(s), and participate in selected workshops and colloquia on issues related to behavioral health services and policy.
  3. Continue to perform satisfactorily in the MSW program and remain in good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or better).
  4. Pass a security clearance/Livescan to show eligibility to work in county mental health.
  5. Uphold the NASW Code of Ethics.

Student Responsibilities and Commitment after Graduation

The following employment requirements must be met:

1. Full-time student stipend recipients will render at least one calendar year of continuous and satisfactory full-time employment at a county mental health agency within the State of California, or at an agency that contracts with a county mental health agency within the State of California.

2. Part-time student stipend recipients will render at least 6 months of continuous and satisfactory full-time employment at a county mental health agency within the State of California, or at an agency that contracts with a county mental health agency within the State of California.

3. The student will secure employment within four (4) months of graduation in a county or county- funded agency in the State of California. If no county or county-funded agency position is available within a 75-mile radius from home within the aforementioned time period, the student agrees to seek employment within the State of California in a county or county-funded mental health agency.

4.  If the student is unable to obtain employment and has made a "good faith" effort, a request to postpone payback for up to one year can be made. The request must be submitted in writing to the IBH  Project Coordinator, with documentation attached of all efforts made to secure employment.

Payback Agreement

Students are responsible for monetary payback of the IBH stipend and any costs of collection under any of the following conditions:

  • Failure to maintain satisfactory academic standing, which is defined as upholding a GPA of 3.0 or better every semester;
  • Failure to complete the MSW program within the required time period;
  • Failure to procure appropriate employment following graduation;
  • Failure to qualify for employment as a result of failing an interview, medical, or psychological exam, or criminal clearance;
  • Conviction of any crime that disqualifies employment in a county public mental health agency or contracted agency which would then render the student ineligible for, or cause termination from, the Program;
  • Voluntary termination of employment before completion of the work requirement;
  • Termination of employment before completion of the work requirement due to poor work or misconduct;

Student Selection Criteria:

  • Student must be in their advanced year of study in the CSUSM MSW Program.
  • Student must be in good academic standing in the CSUSM MSW program (3.0 GPA or greater). 
  • Student must demonstrate an interest in, and commitment to, mental health services as described in the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). 
  • Student agrees to complete and pass required criminal background screening procedures as required by county mental health regulations.
  • Student 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 populations currently served by mental health agencies in California 
  • Show proficiency in a second language  
  • Are a current employee of county public mental health program

Application Procedure and Deadline:

The Application for the 2018-2019 program year is due by September 26, 2018. Please click on the links to the right to open the IBH Application and the Supplemental Application Questions.

Interviews and Selection:

All complete applications will be reviewed and students whose applications are considered exemplary will be invited for an in-person panel interview sometime between October 10th and October 15th, 2018.

Candidates selected for an interview will show a deep commitment to working in public behavioral health settings, be in good academic standing in the MSW Program at CSUSM, and confirm that they have been accepted to an eligible behavioral health internship. Other desirable candidate qualities include diversity, experience as a consumer of behavioral health services, and ability to speak a language other than English.

Selected students will be notified in person and will be required to attend an IBH Program Orientation and Contract Signing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Eligible applicants must be accepted into a County or County contracted mental health agency internship to be considered for the stipend. Please review the IPT database for all eligible internship sites.

Contact Us:

Jeannine Guarino, MSW, LCSW
IBH Program Coordinator

IBH Links:

IBH Application:

Students must complete BOTH the Supplemental Application Questions and the Program Application form below. Submit to by September 26th!

IBH Program Supplemental Application Questions

IBH Program Application - updated application coming soon- check back next week!