Department of Education Urges Colleges to Use American Rescue Plan Funds to Provide Mental Health Support to Students

Earlier this week, the Department of Education released new guidance regarding helping colleges and universities provide mental health support to students. According to the press release, the guidance will help colleges and universities support students as they navigate mental health challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. It also includes specific examples of how colleges can use Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) to invest in evidence-based mental health support for students and connect the campus community to providers and care. “If there is one thing I’ve heard while speaking with college students throughout the nation, it’s been the need for greater mental health supports on campus,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We must make sure our colleges and universities have the tools and resources to help students, faculty, and staff heal from the grief, trauma, and anxiety they endured amid the pandemic. Today’s guidance will equip higher education leaders with promising strategies for how they can use American Rescue Plan dollars to connect students to the services they need and to better support mental health and wellness throughout their campus communities.”

Last year CGS and the JED Foundation released a report, “Supporting Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-being: Evidence-Informed Recommendations for the Graduate Community,” which contextualized the urgency of this issue and includes results from a CGS member survey, priority areas for future research, and examples of programs aligned with key recommendations. To highlight CGS’s work in this area, CGS President Suzanne Ortega sent a letter to Members of Congress in April 2022.