EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Utah is lacking school guidance counselors

Jun 1, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: 4:15 pm

Utah has one of the nation's highest ratios of students to school guidance counselors. Officials be...

Utah has one of the nation's highest ratios of students to school guidance counselors. Officials believe more funding would help lower this rate. (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has the sixth highest ratio of students to guidance counselors, which is not a promising number. 

Every school guidance counselor in Utah is responsible for an estimated 500 students. That’s double the suggested rate. According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the ideal rate is 250 students to one counselor. 

According to the ASCA, the only states with worse rates compared to Utah are:

  1. Arizona (667)
  2. Michigan (598)
  3. Minnesota (544)
  4. Indiana (519)
  5. Illinois (501)

The importance of school guidance counselors

School counselors help students through their college or career decisions, as well as provide mental health support.

“But also in that individual planning process, it’s helping our students be prepared to be citizens in our community, both from a social and emotional standpoint, but also from a standpoint of planning for college and career preparation,” said Scott Bell, Director of College and Career Readiness for the Granite School District

State officials have recently focused on controversial social media restrictions to address youth mental health issues, like suing TikTok. However, counseling services are still under-resourced.

Bell says increased funding to hire more counselors would greatly help.

“Granite School District is a minority-majority school district. The majority of our students fall in that category of being minority, or also high poverty rate,” Bell said. 

Bell hopes the state will provide more funding to help bring Utah in line with the national average.

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Utah is lacking school guidance counselors