MPath, will address shortages in school-based mental health services professionals (MHSPs) available in high-need schools. The MPath project focuses on developing a multidisciplinary training model to increase the number of highly qualified school based MHSPs serving high need areas of Iowa. Special emphasis will be to increase the number of MHSPs from underrepresented, nontraditional, and minoritized backgrounds.

Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Education - Office of Special Education as part of the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Programs

Years: April 2023 - Dec. 2027

Funded Amount: $5.388 mil


The grant will fund 72 graduate students over the course of five years. This project will result in the enhancement of innovative practical learning experiences and more accessible pathways to prepare school-based MHSPs to serve in high-need schools located in Keystone and Mississippi Bend AEA.

Ann Santos, Clinical Associate Professor in School Psychology, will serve as the project director. Co-project directors include:

  • Enedina Vazquez, School Psychology Clinical Professor
  • Gerta Bardhoshi, School Counseling Professor and Scanlan Center for School Mental Health Director of Research and Training
  • Sarah Witry, Social Work Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Ebonee Johnson, Public Health Assistant Professor

Partner Area Education Agencies include Keystone (AEA1) and Mississippi Bend AEA (AEA9).

Graduate Funding Opportunity

Students pursuing either (a) a EdS in school psychology (College of Education), (b) master's degree in school counseling (College of Education), (c) master's degree in social work (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), or (d) master's degree in public health (College of Public Health) will acquire the expertise and practical experience necessary to  address the broad range of mental health concerns encountered by high-need LEAs within our partner AEAs (Keystone and Mississippi Bend AEA).

MPath will address the MHSP shortage and gaps in training in Iowa by expanding practicum placements of UI graduate students in high-need LEAs and creating hybrid coursework and workshops for master’s students in school psychology, school counseling, school social work, and public health focused on offering content and skills not covered in the existing graduate-level programming. MPath candidates will also receive the following:

  • Access to workshops/seminars on specific mental health topics
  • Placement in high-need school settings that often have more complex presentations
  • Exposure to community partners
  • MPath trainees will receive practicum supervision from qualified credentialed professionals in their respective degree programs along with practicum hours necessary for licensure/certification

Students in school psychology, school counseling, social work, and public health will have access to the following funds:

  • $5,000 one-time stipend for living/program expenses
  • Two semesters of tuition for school psychology students during a beginning and advanced practicum
  • Two semester of tuition for students in practicum for school counseling
  • Two semesters of tuition for students in specialist practicum for social work
  • Two semesters of tuition for students in practicum for public health
  • Six first-year tuition scholarships per MPath cohort are available to students who meet specific under-represented minority criteria, or those who meet recruitment criteria from partner AEAs.

Potential applicants meeting the following criteria are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • Interest or current enrollment in programs for an EdS in School Psychology OR an MA in School Counseling, Social Work, OR Public Health
  • Undergraduate GPA 3.0 or above
  • Other program specific requirements
  • U.S. citizen

Contact your program of interest


Old Capitol Building

College of Education faculty awarded $5.3 million national mental health grant

Monday, May 1, 2023
Faculty from the University of Iowa College of Education School Counseling and School Psychology programs were awarded a $5.388 million grant to address shortages in the number of school-based mental health services professionals (MHSPs) available in high-need schools. Faculty from the UI College of Public Health and School of Social Work will also collaborate on the grant.