College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Become a school psychologist while improving equity-centered mental health services in our schools

School psychologists create learning environments where students, families and school staff feel safe, welcome, and supported. Our program approaches school psychology from a scientific-practitioner orientation and will prepare you to become a leader, innovator, and change agent.

Projects AWARE and LIME partners with local school systems to provide equity-centered school mental health services and supports while providing funding and resources to school psychology graduate students to contribute to school-based teams in delivery of services.

Through these projects, we have funding for 28 graduate assistantships per year for the duration of the grant. As a Project scholar, you’ll receive a graduate assistantship to provide equity-centered mental health services and supports in our partner districts and schools in collaboration with site personnel under the supervision of program faculty for Projects AWARE and LIME. You’ll also have access to a variety of other funding resources to support your engagement in the project and school psychology program.

Learn more about the background for this important initiative and the supports provided to project scholars, as well as the field of school psychology and the program here. If you are interested in connecting with a current student or faculty member, please email for more information. In the meantime, check out this video replay from our recent informational session at the Psychology Graduate School Virtual Fair.

Project background and objectives

    Project background

    There is currently a critical need for high quality, trained mental health service providers in local schools. Our School Psychology program was recently awarded more than $11 million by the U.S. Department of Education to build capacity to support research-based equity-centered mental health supports in our schools. Through Project LIME (Leading Improvements in Mental Health and Equity) and Project AWARE (Advancing Well-Being and Reifying Equity), we aim to address this need through enhanced recruitment, training, and employment of school psychology graduate students.

    Through these projects, our graduate students are able to provide mental health services in high-need schools as they work toward their degrees. Students will be assisted by a range of supports and services while also receiving a stipend for their work. This partnership with local schools increases capacity for equitable services while supporting culturally and linguistically inclusive and identity-safe environments for students. These efforts will ultimately help create critical infrastructure and capacity to support student mental health and inclusive environments within our communities.

    In total, over 65,000 hours of school based mental health services will be provided in high-need LEAs over the life of the grants, thus expanding the availability of mental health service providers in each partner site.

    Project objectives

    The Project goals are to alleviate school mental health personnel shortages and increase LEA capacity to provide equitable, inclusive mental health services to improve K12 student outcomes. Accordingly, the objectives of the projects are to:

    Objective 1: Increase the number of fully qualified school psychologists in Minnesota
    Objective 2: Increase the diversity of fully qualified school psychologists in Minnesota
    Objective 3: Increase the capacity of high-need LEAs to support student mental health through equity-centered multi-tiered system of support (MTSS)
    Objective 4: Increase the number of skilled supervisors
    Objective 5: Improve student outcomes

    Project overview and partnerships

    Project LIME

    With funding from the US Department of Education, Project LIME (S184X230013) addresses the need to improve and expand school-based mental health services. Project LIME lends aid to the critical shortages in the provision of school mental health services within our high-need LEAs by increasing the number of school-based providers who are uniquely positioned to build out prevention-focused MTSS structures to support students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs. This project utilizes the partnership between the University of Minnesota School Psychology Program and Saint Paul Public Schools.

    Check out our Project LIME district partner, Saint Paul Public Schools.

    Project AWARE

    With funding from the US Department of Education, Project AWARE (S148X220008) addresses the critical need for high-quality, trained mental health service providers (MHSP) in high-need educational settings through enhanced recruitment, training, and employment of school psychology graduate students in high-need schools to promote evidence-based, culturally-responsive mental health services. This project utilizes the partnership between the University of Minnesota School Psychology Program and Minneapolis Public Schools and South St. Paul Public Schools.

    Check out our Project AWARE district partners, Minneapolis Public Schools and South St. Paul Public Schools.

    Student training and benefits

      Student trainee role and responsibilities

      School psychologists serve a unique role in supporting youth mental health as they contribute expertise in the application of psychological science to mental health, learning, and behavior in schools. As a trainee, your responsibilities will include scaffolded direct intervention and assessment services, individual and system consultation, collaboration, and research.

      Each funded trainee will:

      • Complete 430 or 860 hours of paid practica providing school-based mental health services each year;
      • Engage in both direct and indirect school-based mental health service through enhanced implementation of multi-tiered system of support (MTSS);
      • Conduct Intervention Case Studies, comprehensive Evaluations, and needs assessments for students;
      • Utilize School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation System (SHAPE), a web-based platform, that provides workspace and targeted resources to support school mental health quality improvement through MTSS; 
      • Support strategic planning and systems change efforts within LEAs;
      • Integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities);
      • Complete a Projects LIME and AWARE Mentoring Map and Individual Development Plan (IDP); and
      • Engage in expanded, comprehensive mentoring and networking programming.

      Student trainee benefits

      Graduate students employed on the projects are provided a range of benefits:

      • Graduate assistantship with a stipend of at least $26.38/hour pay rate (academic year salary = $20,575 for a 20 hour/week position), plus GA tuition and health benefits;
      • Partner site background check fees;
      • Minnesota School Psychology Association membership and conference registration fees;

      In addition, for students from economically minoritized backgrounds, we have:

      • A limited number of laptops available;
      • Compensation for transportation costs such as rideshare or public transit in order to provide access to your assigned site; and
      • Praxis exam and MN or NCSP credentialing fees (up to $400/person through 2027).

      How to apply

      All current and prospective students in the school psychology program are welcome to apply. A student must be enrolled in the school psychology program to work on the projects. Prospective students may apply to the program and Projects LIME and AWARE at the same time, but Projects LIME and AWARE acceptance will be contingent on acceptance into an applicable graduate program. Upload and submit all application materials, including transcripts, directly to the graduate application. For additional information on how to apply, visit the Graduate School website