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Marian University, Indiana Department of Education team up to strengthen school counselor pipeline with $10.6 million grant

With a $10.6 million five-year federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Marian University will collaborate with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to increase the number of qualified mental health service providers delivering school-based mental health services in Indiana.IDOE received a U.S. Department of Education School-Based Mental Health Services Grant and will work with Marian University to implement the Expanding Healthy Minds School-Based Mental Health Services Providers program.

IDOE and Marian’s collaboration will center around recruiting, training, and providing ongoing professional development to new school-based mental health providers, with the goal of increasing the number of school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals serving Indiana students. While working toward their degree, individuals enrolled in the Expanding Healthy Minds program will work at participating City Connects schools in Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis and South Bend.

The City Connects Midwest Technical Assistance Center is part of Marian University’s Center for Vibrant Schools.“The School Based Mental Health grant will provide Indiana schools with professional school counselors and social workers who will ensure students receive adequate interventions to enhance their academic success, career development and emotional growth,” said Dr. Michael Slavkin, director of the Master of Science in School Counseling program at Marian University. “Marian University’s School of Behavioral and Applied Social Sciences is excited to be partnering with the Indiana Department of Education and City Connects.”

The Expanding Healthy Minds program is open to both new and current students in Marian’s Master’s in Counseling program. They will receive hands-on experience serving students at a City Connects school while completing their degree.

“We know that up to two-thirds of disparities in academic achievement can be explained by out-of-school factors tied to inequities such as housing instability, food insecurity, and unequal access to health care and enrichment programs,” City Connects Midwest Director Jillian Lain said. “These issues are a lot for anyone to manage, let alone a child in school. Students should be able to focus on learning and being a kid, and that’s where City Connects comes in. Trained site coordinators work with students and families to provide resources that help address these issues and more.”

If you are interested in learning more about Marian’s Master’s in Counseling program, visit

If you are a current educator and interested in enrolling in the Expanding Healthy Minds School-Based Mental Health Services Providers program for the 2023-24 school year email Jillian Lain for more information.