$90M in new PA grants open to expand in-school mental health counselors and resources

11 January 2024- Pennsylvania schools are eligible for $155 million for safety and security – including $90 million in new investments for mental health counselors and resources, a top priority proposed by Governor Josh Shapiro and enacted in the 23-24 state budget – through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).

“I believe our kids deserve to be safe, feel safe, and have critical mental health support in school – that’s why the bipartisan budget that I signed into law includes real help for students all across Pennsylvania,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “The resources my Administration secured in the 2023-24 budget will give students better access to mental health supports in school over the next five years and help us train more mental health professionals to work these critical jobs. My Administration will continue to bring people together to get stuff done for our schools, and to help students across Pennsylvania stay healthy, both mentally and physically.”

PCCD’s School Safety and Security Committee approved a funding framework to utilize more than $155 million in federal and state school safety funding appropriated in the FY2023-24 budget for a wide range of investments, including:  

$90 million for noncompetitive 2023-24 School Mental Health Grants

Grants available for eligible school entities to support school-based mental health counselors and resources for students. This funding was part of $100 million in School Mental Health investments proposed by Gov. Josh Shapiro and approved by the General Assembly. 

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will receive $5 million for the training of school-based mental health professionals and to establish certification pathways, and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) will receive $5 million for the School Mental Health Internship Grant Program established in 2022.

$18.6 million for formula-based School Safety and Security Meritorious Grants 

Provided to all Pennsylvania school districts for physical security and mental/behavioral health enhancements.

$32.2 million for Competitive School Safety and Security Grants 

Blended funding from the traditional School Safety and Security Grant Program and the Targeted School Safety Grant Program previously administered by PDE to create a single funding opportunity for school safety funding for eligible applicants (e.g., school entities as well as municipalities, law enforcement agencies, and approved vendors).

$14.5 million for Targeted School Safety Grants for Nonpublic Schools

Grants to support programs addressing school violence and improving school safety and security through grants to Intermediate Units (IUs) and approved vendors on behalf of nonpublic schools. 

Funds will advance the School Safety and Security Committee’s goal of ensuring that all Pennsylvania students can learn in safe, healthy school environments by helping school entities address basic safety needs and mental health services identified in the Committee’s recently adopted Revised Baseline Criteria Standards. School entities are required to use School Mental Health Grant funds to address ‘Level 1’ Behavioral Health Baseline Criteria gaps, and priority consideration will be given to applicants who request funding to address Physical Security and Behavioral Health Baseline needs in competitive applications.