Recognizing significant and documented levels of anxiety and depression among community college students due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Virginia’s State Board for Community Colleges has approved a policy change to allow VCCS colleges to contract with third-party providers to offer mental health services to students.
The action came during the Board’s meeting in Richmond on September 23rd and is effective immediately. State procurement laws will dictate how soon colleges will be able to contract with service providers.
Previous policy prohibited the offering of such services. Instead, it encouraged collaborations between the colleges and their local Community Service Boards (CSBs) to address the mental health needs of community college students.
The new policy comes in response to calls from some colleges who want to use available federal Covid-19 funding to offer mental health services. Members of the State Board noted these funds will be available for the next couple of years but warned the long-term sustainability of offering mental health services on the campuses of Virginia’s Community Colleges has yet to be determined. In fact, Virginia’s current state budget includes language prohibiting the usage of state tax dollars to continue programs started with federal COVID-19 relief funding.
Largely in response to those important funding realities, the new policy includes important limitations:
If you have questions, please contact the student services office at your college.