Nazareth College has been awarded its largest federal grant in the institution’s history.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Nazareth $2.6 million to support graduate students pursuing careers as school mental health professionals.

The grant will fund six social work and two art therapy graduate students each year for the next five years in collaboration with the Greece Central School District.

It aims to give these students first-hand experience by working in one of the Greece schools and supporting school-aged students and families dealing with mental health issues

"The pandemic greatly increased the number of children who are struggling with anxiety and depression and other mental health conditions,” Cathy Rasmussen, interim dean of Nazareth's School of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. “The grant provides for Nazareth graduate students in social work and art therapy significant tuition assistance that will support their preparation for mental health careers working in schools, and it will allow these students to go to work immediately in a high-needs school district to work with children and support their mental health. (So, this is a great benefit both to Nazareth students and the communities that they will serve.)" 

Each student receiving the scholarship will be required to work two years in a high-need school district after graduation.