Campus Community / People of SU

U.S. Department of Education Awards $3.5 Million Grant to College of Education

April 21, 2023

The award, spanning five years, will offer support to students in school psychology and school counseling tackling youth mental health.

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has awarded a five-year, $3,518,981 competitive grant to Seattle University's College of Education. The grant, from the DOE’s Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program, will offer contingent scholarships and other support for students in the School Psychology and School Counseling programs. Additionally, Seattle University will partner with Highline College and local schools to recruit and train a diverse pool of students ready to address the mental health needs of students in high-needs schools and districts.

“There is a critical need to attend to the psychological, social and mental health needs in our schools, especially in the wake of a global pandemic and persistent racial inequities in education and in our school personnel,” says College of Education Dean Cynthia Dillard, PhD. “This federal grant will help Seattle University address this need by preparing diverse cadres of school psychologists and school counselors with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to provide culturally responsive services to young people and their families. We are thrilled for this opportunity and the resources it provides to address this need. We are equally thrilled to deepen our core mission of preparing educational professionals and leaders who are able to create a more just and humane world.”

Led by professors Jason Parkin, PhD, Mary Graham, PhD, and David Fainstein, PhD, the project—known as the Puget Sound Partnership to Expand and Diversify the Mental Health Professional Pipeline—aims to result in a reduction in the school-based mental health shortage in high-need schools through sustained recruitment of diverse students and training pipelines between institutions of higher education and local schools. In total, the program will result in 96 school psychologists and school counselors being trained and credentialed to service more than 5,200 students, further diversifying these two professions by recruiting and graduating students from diverse backgrounds and communities. 

This innovative partnership with Highline and area schools will recruit a diverse pool of students into Seattle University’s School of Psychology and School Counseling programs. In exchange for the commitment to work in high-needs schools after graduation, the College of Education will provide meaningful, need-based scholarships and stipends to lower barriers to attendance and subsidize partner practicum and internship costs. 

Learn more about the award at The Newsroom. For media inquiries, contact Lincoln Vander Veen at or 425-830-2448.