$1.95 Million in Grants Awarded to the University

Friday, November 20, 2020


ORANGEBURG, S.C. – SC State University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program has been awarded educational grants totaling $1.95 million. Awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Rehabilitation Services Administration training (RSA) grant totals $1 million over five years. The university received the Substance Use Disorder Expansion of Practitioner Education (SUD-Prac-Ed) grant, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and totals $199, 397. Additionally, the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention grant for $750,000 is also funded by the U.S. Department of Education. All grants will provide resources for students enrolled in SC State’s graduate rehabilitation counseling program.


24FD67DB-DB76-486D-8E89-212933FE4971The program aims to relieve the practitioner shortage in rehabilitation counseling through the RSA training grant, especially within the addictions and trauma arenas. With hands-on training, students will be more equipped to serve those suffering from substance abuse and other afflictions.


The SUD-Prac-Ed grant will help expand substance use disorder education into the standard curriculum of rehabilitation counseling courses, which will allow students to deliver high-quality, evidence-based substance use disorder treatment in the field.


Another component of the project is to develop a fully online certificate program in addiction and trauma. In year two of the project, 10 graduate students enrolled in the certificate program will be awarded a $3,000 scholarship.


Dr. Michelle Priester, rehabilitation counseling professor, and Dr. Bridget Hollis-Staten will serve as co-project directors. They will also partner with community organizations on the project.


“The Rehabilitation Counseling faculty are very grateful for the opportunity to continue to assist our students in their educational endeavors, even more so with their financial needs,” Priester said. “We also look forward to our continued partnership with the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drugs and other key stakeholders. The grant will support students interested in working with clients with disabilities, substance abuse challenges, trauma and vocational placement issues. Additionally, grant recipients will receive free tuition, a stipend and other professional development opportunities.”


Priester also received the SUD-Prac-Ed award from SAMHSA.


Dr. Cassandra Sligh-Conway, rehabilitation counseling professor, will lead the project funded by the Disaster Preparedness and Prevention grant. She is partnering with Dr. Timothy Tansey at the University of Wisconsin for the project, which will fund a program for students that will help them enhance communications between emergency management agencies during health emergencies, manmade disasters and natural disasters.


The Rehabilitation Counseling program at SC State University and the Health Ministry of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church have deemed health emergency response and disaster relief as areas of concern. This project will develop a network of local coordinators who will serve as liaisons between AME Churches in South Carolina and local emergency management agencies.


SC State’s Rehabilitation Counseling program has received national recognition for its prestigious, award-winning degree program. For the past 16 years, more than $15.95 million in federal funding has been awarded to the program. The motivation to seek funding comes from the program’s faculty who have a desire to ensure their graduate students receive the highest quality education. So far, federally funded grants have benefited over 170 SC State graduate students who received full scholarships, monthly stipends and professional development.


The Rehabilitation Counseling program seeks scholars who are willing to devote a minimum of two years of graduate preparation to develop a mastery of knowledge and skills. The program is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2020 semester.


Rehabilitation Services Administration Scholarship applicants must submit: (1) evidence of a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.25 (2) three letters of recommendation from professionals in the field (3) a completed scholarship application with documentation of full admission into the SC State Graduate School and Rehabilitation Counseling program. This is a highly competitive scholarship and selected finalists must interview with the scholarship committee prior to being awarded.


For more information about the grants and scholarships, contact SC State’s Rehabilitation Counseling program at (803) 536-8576 or (803) 536-8908. For more information about Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center-Quality Employment, contact Dr. Cassandra Sligh-Conway at (803)-536-7075.