Report: School Counselors Continue to Grapple with Large Caseloads

Media Contacts:
Shanda Ivory
NACAC Director of Communications

Kathleen Rakestraw
ASCA Director of Communications

Arlington, VA (Feb. 8, 2018) — School counselors in American 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. The uptick occurred despite efforts by both organizations to advocate for more state and federal funding to hire, train, and equip school counselors in public schools.

“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. “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-school counselor ratios included Arizona (924:1), Michigan (729:1), and Minnesota (729:1). States with the largest increase in student-to-school counselor ratios included Louisiana (114 percent), New York (47 percent), and Idaho (41 percent). States with the biggest reduction in student-to-school counselor ratios included the District of Columbia (53 percent), New Jersey (37 percent), Tennessee (30 percent), and 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.

View the report.


The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of more than 15,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association's Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.

About ASCA
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) supports school counselors' efforts to help students focus on academic, career and social/emotional development so they achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society. ASCA provides professional development, publications and other resources, research and advocacy to school counselors around the globe. Learn more at

Expand / Collapse All