School counselors play an essential role in helping students prepare and plan for postsecondary education.
A NACAC report found that students who meet one-on-one with a school counselor are 6.8 times more likely to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 3.2 times more likely to attend college, and 2 times more likely to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program.
Unfortunately, too many students lack access to a school counselor who has the time and support needed to adequately advise each student.
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and NACAC recommend a student-to-counselor ratio of 250:1.
In the 2018-19 academic year, the national average ratio was 430:1 — nearly double the recommended ratio.
The lower the student-to-counselor ratio, the more likely it is that school counselors will be able to spend an appropriate amount of time working with each student to create and follow a plan for postsecondary success. This time is especially crucial for under-served students, many of whom may be the first in their families to pursue a postsecondary education.
The Bottom Line
School counselors are important resources for helping students to identify college options, navigate the application process, and explore financial aid.
Take action now in support of school counselors! Send a NACAC Action Alert message to your Congressional representatives.
NACAC In Action
This issue is a policy priority for NACAC. On behalf of the membership, the association recently took the following actions to advocate for major policy changes in support of school counselors and college advising.
- In March 2021, NACAC sent a letter to Rep. Linda Sánchez in support of the Put School Counselors Where They Are Needed Act, HR 614.
- NACAC publicly supported increased funding for Title IV-Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
- NACAC publicly supported school counselor access to professional development opportunities funded by the Every Student Succeeds Act.
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State-by-State Student-to-Counselor Ratio Report
This report shows the 10-year trends in student-to-counselor ratios in each state from 2004-05 to 2014-15.Learn More
Step by Step: College Awareness
This robust guide to college planning for families, counselors, and communities include curricula for elementary school, middle school, and early and late high school, as well as parent/guardian workshops.Download the guide
Explore financial aid options, get FAFSA updates, and access tools from trusted sources.Read More