TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler announced on Thursday they have been awarded more than $1.3 million from the Department of Education.

In a release, the university said the money from the U.S. Department of Education’s Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration (DoED) program will be used to support the mental health needs of students.

“No parent should fear for the safety of their student when they drop them off at school, and no
student should be afraid when they walk into the classroom,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, who recently authorized the program, said about the funding. “In the aftermath of the tragedy in Uvalde, I’m grateful that meaningful solutions are starting to be delivered through this funding to prevent violence, provide training to school personnel and students, and hire additional mental health professionals in Texas schools.”

The university said through the five-year grant, they will partner with the Brownsboro, Tyler and Winona ISDs in a “Mental Health Matters” project to enhance their capacity to provide mental health services to their students.

“Each year, the project will place UT Tyler graduate-level school counseling and clinical mental health counseling students or counselors in training, or CITs, at 15 high-need schools within the three partnering local education agencies,” the university said in a release. “The collaborative project will meet the DoED program’s absolute priority of increasing the number of high quality and diverse mental health professionals to address the lack mental health services in schools.”

Members of the UT Tyler Department of Psychology and Counseling faculty said the project will support required fieldwork for UT Tyler counseling program students and place more qualified practitioners in high-need schools.

The university said they expect the benefits of the program to expand across the region and its grant funding period.