School counselors in US public schools currently serve an average of 482 students, a caseload nearly twice the recommended maximum of 250.
That finding is highlighted in a new report from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) showing that the average student-to-school counselor ratio has increased by 1 percent over the past decade.
“Our intention in producing this data is to shed light on the often-unmanageable caseloads that public school counselors must serve,” said Joyce Smith, NACAC CEO, said in a press release. “Access to a school counselor increases the likelihood that students stay in school and go on to pursue higher education. To realize such results, school counselors must operate in an environment free of overwhelmingly large student caseloads.”
The report, which includes state-by-state data, was released in conjunction with National School Counseling Week(#NSCW18).
States with the highest student-to-counselor ratios included:
- Arizona (924:1)
- Michigan (729:1)
- Minnesota (729:1)
States with the largest increase in student-to-counselor ratios included:
- Louisiana (114 percent)
- New York (47 percent)
- Idaho (41 percent).
States with the biggest reduction in student-to-counselor ratios included:
- District of Columbia (53 percent)
- New Jersey (37 percent)
- Tennessee (30 percent)
- Colorado (30 percent).
Research shows that students who meet one-on-one with a school counselor are significantly more likely to attend college and apply for federal financial aid. A 2016 NACAC report showed that 12th graders who talked about their future plans with a school counselor were nearly seven times more likely to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and three times more likely to attend college.
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