Partnership to promote mental health resources and access on college campuses
The Princeton Review, one of the nation’s leading and best-known education services companies, recently announced a new partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, an internationally recognized organization that works to end the stigma associated with mental health and aims to increase awareness of—and the availability of—mental health services on college campuses.
The new partnership will identify important mental health resources available at colleges across the country. The initiative aims to highlight how mental health is being addressed on different college campuses, raise awareness of the importance of mental health of students, and expand services that are being provided to promote the overall mental health of the student body.
Through the partnership, The Princeton Review will expand its surveys of college administrators at more than 2,800 colleges in 2023–24 and 2024–25 to collect data on the availability of mental health services and resources for students at their schools. The company will also expand its surveys of college students in 2023–24 and 2024–25 to collect data on their level of awareness of such resources on their campuses.
Following the data collection phase, The Princeton Review will analyze and output the information on PrincetonReview.com and feature articles and resource leads for students to learn more about health services available to them on campus. The company will also include information it has collected about school-based mental health resources in the profiles of the colleges it features on PrincetonReview.com as well as in its popular “Best Colleges” guidebook.
“Given the continually rising mental health-related challenges that college students are grappling with across the US, it is essential that prospective students and their parents are equipped with comprehensive knowledge and data points about the availability of the services and forms of mental health support that they may need on campus,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “Yet to date, this crucial information has been glaringly absent for families when they are researching their options. Consistent with our mission to identify and fill gaps in mental health resources and programs in the higher education community, the Ruderman Family Foundation is pleased to launch this partnership with The Princeton Review. Our goal is to show prospective students which mental health resources would be available to them on the campuses where they choose to enroll. We hope that this project will also contribute to shaping the way schools address the issue of mental health on their campuses.”
This initiative is one of many the Ruderman Family Foundation is supporting as part of its commitment to promoting mental health resources and programs in the high school and higher education communities. Other initiatives include partnering with the Kevin Love Fund to bring a free mental health curriculum to youth development programs and after school programs for Massachusetts high school students; bringing vital mental health services to nearly all 437 public high schools in Massachusetts in collaboration with the Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT) program; and working with Boston University to release a first-of-its-kind set of manuals to establish best practices for college campus leave-of-absence policies.
“We are delighted to have the Ruderman Family Foundation’s support for this vitally important project,” said Rob Franek, Editor-in-Chief, The Princeton Review. “The Foundation’s extraordinary record of strategic philanthropy displays a deep commitment to educational initiatives and advocacy for people facing adversity. We share the Foundation’s concern about the dramatic increase in stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues among college students, particularly in this post-pandemic era. We look forward to applying our experience in the higher education community to collect and disseminate information that can connect students with the mental health resources they need and to promote the expansion of such resources by the colleges.”
A white paper study, commissioned and released by the Ruderman Family Foundation, found that of all age groups feeling the mental health effect of the pandemic in the US, adults aged 18–29 reported the highest rates of distress, with college shutdowns and pivots to remote learning a notable factor for students in this age group. The study found that in this population, the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder and depression remained nearly as high as they were in the first year of the pandemic, at almost 40% for anxiety disorder and almost 35% for depression.
Mental health issues continue to impact a high percentage of college students in this post-pandemic era. The Lumina Foundation/Gallup study, The State of Higher Education 2023, which reports on pressing issues facing higher education, offered significant indicators of this in the study’s May 2023 findings report. One section of the study that looked at barriers to student enrollment and retention in post-secondary programs revealed that 41% of 6,008 students surveyed reported it was “very difficult” or “difficult” to remain in school and they were considering dropping out. Among that 41%, the top two reasons students cited were “emotional stress” indicated by 55% of them and “personal mental health” indicated by 47% of them.
The partnership will include the establishment of a project advisory board comprised of college administrators, staff, and other professionals with experience in the field of student mental health. Board members will provide input on the project surveys, analyses, and content development. The Princeton Review will survey college administrators about their student mental health services and resources of their schools and survey college students about mental health services available on their campuses. From this data collection and research, The Princeton Review will develop a content hub on its website dedicated to student mental health and wellness. It will present school-specific information (as provided by the colleges) that will also be included in the company’s profiles of the schools that are freely accessible at PrincetonReview.com, and in the profiles of schools in The Princeton Review’s annual “Best Colleges” guide.
Note: The Princeton Review, which is widely known for its dozens of categories of annual college rankings based on data from its institutional and student surveys, will not use data collected for this project to create a ranking list of colleges or to score the schools based on their mental health resources.
The Princeton Review has helped students choose, gain admission to, and succeed at their best-fit colleges for more than four decades. Its resources for college applicants and college students include its test preparation and academic tutoring services, website, school profiles, books, and other products. Among its current health-related resources are The College Wellness Guide, a book for college students the company published in 2021, which includes a section on mental health. In the recently published 2024 edition of The Best 389 Colleges, two of The Princeton Review’s 50 categories of college ranking lists focus on health-related services. One names the top 25 colleges for Best Health Services. The other names the top 25 colleges for Best Student Support and Counseling Services.
Information about the methodology for these ranking lists is available at: https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings/ranking-methodology.