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Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program - Helping students work through issues, support healthy development, and improve educational outcomes

Apr 7

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Monday, April 7, 2014  RssIcon

Since 2000, ESSCP grants have supported a broad range of counseling programs that tackle student achievement and self esteem to mental health and family services. This year’s program includes priorities for school engagement, environment, and safety, as well as for military-connected students. (Photo: David Sacks, Getty Images)



Although these grants are primarily focused on mental health counseling, and school mental health counseling staff are the most actively engaged participants in funded activities, the Department of Education expects the results to extend to many other areas of students’ well-being, academic and social competency, and personal development. Therefore, a broader team of administrators, faculty, and staff should be involved in developing the program concept, identifying students who might benefit from counseling, and conducting ongoing evaluation of the program’s effectiveness for participating students.

The objectives that you define in your application should also align with the grade level(s) of the schools at which the counseling programs are being established or expanded. Most of the funding is going for elementary programs this year, but many districts have multiple facilities serving different elementary grade levels.     

Further, there is a small amount of additional funding that may be used to establish counseling programs in higher grade levels as well, provided you can demonstrate the need for it in your district.

More Details on the Opportunity 

This program provides funding to local educational agencies (LEAs) to establish or expand elementary and secondary school counseling programs, with special consideration given to applicants that can:

  • Demonstrate the greatest need for counseling services in the schools to be served
  • Propose the most innovative and promising approaches, and
  • Show the greatest potential for replication and dissemination

Projects should:

  • Use a developmental, preventive approach
  • Expand the inventory of effective counseling programs
  • Include in-service training, and
  • Involve parents and community groups

Competitive Preference Priority 1—Improving School Engagement, School Environment, and School Safety and Improving Family and Community Engagement

Under this priority, the Department of Education gives priority to applications for projects that are designed to improve student outcomes through one or both of the following priority areas:

  • Improving the school environment, which may include improving the school setting related to student learning, safety, and health
  • Improving school safety, which may include decreasing the incidence of harassment, bullying, violence, and substance use

Competitive Preference Priority 2—Support for Military Families

Under this priority, the Department of Education gives priority to applications for projects that are designed to address the needs of military-connected students


Local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are considered LEAs under State law, that do not have an active grant under this program, and consortia of LEAs are eligible to apply for funding under this program.

Award Information 

2014 funding of $14,779,760 will fund an estimated  42 awards averaging $350,000. 

History of Funding 

Previous awards under the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program are available at:

For more information, visit:


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