Webinar Helps Colleges Learn More About Using Federal Relief Dollars to Support Student Mental Health
May 31, 2022

ACE, in collaboration with the Department of Education (ED), hosted a webinar May 25 to learn more about how federal relief dollars can help colleges and universities expand mental health resources for their students. The recording of the webinar is now available to watch here

Earlier this month, ED released new guidance on how colleges and universities can use Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) from the American Rescue Plan to invest in student mental health. On the webinar, ACE President Ted Mitchell and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education Michelle Asha Cooper were joined by representatives from the University at Albany, State University of New York, Denison University, and Sinclair Community College to discuss the guidance and how those institutions have been successfully using COVID-19 relief funds to improve support services for student mental health and well-being. 

“Mental health is overwhelmingly the top concern we hear from presidents,” Jon Fansmith, ACE assistant vice president of government relations, told Inside Higher Ed.

“It’s a very challenging environment for institutions, and these things are expensive to do. So the ability to use some of these higher education relief funds that the federal government provided for those purposes is hugely helpful," he said.

The mental health of students has been a serious concern for college leaders since before March 2020, but studies conducted earlier in the pandemic showed COVID-19 exacerbated mental health conditions among students.

In a series of Pulse Point surveys conducted since the start of the pandemic, “mental health of students" was the pressing issue cited most frequently by presidents in almost all surveys through the fall term 2021. As The Chronicle of Higher Education noted, 73 percent of presidents said in ACE’s fall 2021 survey that student mental health was a “pressing concern.”​