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UHV counselor education program receives $2.5 million grant for student scholarships

Students who want to pursue a Master of Education in clinical mental health counseling at the University of Houston-Victoria could have the cost of their degree and other expenses paid for thanks to a federal grant.

The UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development recently was awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The grant is intended to help students from underrepresented populations earn their degrees. This includes minorities, students from low-income families or first-generation college students.

Katherine Bacon

The funds will be paid out in annual increments of up to $633,765 over four years and will be used to offer scholarships to full-time students pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. These scholarships will cover students’ entire cost of attendance for two years.

“We hope this will bring in new students who wanted to pursue a graduate degree but couldn’t afford it or were waiting to save up money,” said Katherine Bacon, a UHV assistant professor of graduate counselor education. “This grant will allow students to pursue their degrees full time and create more counselors.”

In addition to tuition and fees, the scholarships will cover books, living expenses, transportation and other costs of living for two years. The scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and distributed among two groups of students two years apart, Bacon said. The deadline to apply for the first group of scholarships is Aug. 1.

“We want to be sure that students understand this is a limited-time offer,” she said. “Students can’t apply for and receive this scholarship anytime. If they miss this deadline, they will have to wait until fall 2018 when the next group of scholarships become available.”

Because the scholarships are need-based, not everyone will receive the same amount, Bacon said. If a student receives financial aid from other sources, the scholarship will help fill the gaps. Students also can transfer up to 12 credit hours once the credits are reviewed and approved.

UHV offers the only school counseling degree in the Victoria and Houston area accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The clinical mental health counseling degree currently is in the process of receiving accreditation. In addition, UHV has partnered with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston to offer a paid internship for students in the program.

Fred Litton

“The graduate clinical mental health counseling program has helped train many area counselors,” said Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development. “This grant will help us continue offering an excellent education to even more students so they can make a difference in the area of mental health.”

To maintain eligibility for the grant, students must be enrolled full time, complete three semesters of a practicum or internship in an integrated behavioral health care field placement within a medically underserved community, and finish the clinical mental health counseling program within two years.

The masters in clinical mental health counseling prepares students for counseling positions in various clinical settings, including integrated behavioral health centers, hospitals, Veterans Affairs centers, private counseling agencies, drug abuse centers, centers for counseling the elderly, child protective services, family counseling centers, business and industry.

The graduate program is offered in both Victoria and Katy through face-to-face and online courses. For more information about the program or the scholarship, contact Bacon at 832-842-3049 or baconk@uhv.edu.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number T08HP0223, titled the University of Houston-Victoria Clinical Mental Health Counseling Scholarships for Disadvantage Students, and the current award amount is $633,765. This program is exclusively funded by HHS. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. government.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as a teaching center in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities, and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.