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Counseling services at Iowa struggle to keep up with demand

The University of Iowa Student Counseling Service has increased its student-to-counselor ratio in the past two years, but the nearly 4,500 incoming students could lead to further requests for a program renovation.

“The need and demand for services are on the increase,” said Sam Cochran, the director of the Counseling Service. “Students and their parents are more savvy consumers of all health services, including mental health.”

Though the increase in the number of freshmen may not affect counselors’ ability to meet demand, Cochran predicted the service would see more effects as the students progress through college and if class sizes continue to rise. In that case, more counselors would be essential, he said.

A 2008 state Board of Regents audit of safety and security led to one more counselor being made available at the Counseling Service, bringing the total to 12 counselors and three interns.

The additional staff member improved the UI’s student to counselor ratio — now at 1:2,100 from 1:2,700 — but the ratio is still worse than the national standard.

The International Association of Counseling Service recommends a university as large as the UI to have a counselor to student ratio of around 1:1,500.

Read the full story at the Daily Iowan.

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