BISMARCK, N.D (KXNET) — $6 million has now been awarded to help the mental health and education of rural K-12 students in the state.

The last North Dakota Legislature realized the need for counselors in its rural state by mandating each public K-12 school have one counselor for every 300 students. 

However, many of our rural schools do not meet that threshold, leaving them with no counselors at all, so many schools have lost hope of finding a counselor.

During the current school year, rural administrators feared losing more students to suicide, due to the lack of help and support.

But, the University of Mary’s Dr. Lamb had an idea that can help our communities.

“We have a masters program and K12 counseling it’s online which is key that provides our potential K12 counselors who live on ranches and farms and reservations and opportunity to actually do the training to become a counselor and stay at home, stay in their communities, stay on their ranches, stay on their farms, stay with other tribal members for support while they’re pursuing this degree,” said Associate Dean, Dr. Carmelita Lamb.

It’s building and fostering counselors straight from these towns and rural cities.

From Williston all the way to the Turtle Mountains, Dr.Lamb says her email has been full of interest. 

Out of 185 applicants to the department of education, only 67 grants were awarded, and the University of Mary was one of the highest.

If you would like to look into training or more into the program visit the University of Mary’s website.