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Indiana has one school counselor for every 694 students

By Bente Bouthier, IPB News | Published on in Education, Statewide News
The American School Counsellor Association recommends a ratio of 250 students to one counselor. (ArmyStrongPA/Flickr)

Indiana has a school counselor-to-student ratio of 694 to 1, well above the national average. That’s according to a report from the American School Counselor Association published in January. 

It’s an increase from last year when the ratio was 475 to 1.

Julie Hill is a school counselor and member of the state association. She said counselor positions funded by the Lilly Endowment and COVID relief are ending.

“The other piece that we’re looking at is just the overall job climate in education in Indiana,” Hill said. “Indiana and the teacher pay, educator pay. We’re having to compete with neighboring states who have a little better situation.”

The national association recommends a ratio of 250 to 1.

Kendyl Weise is a school counselor and a chair of the state association’s advocacy committee. She says a ratio as large as Indiana’s has a negative effect of students.

“So students who are in crisis are not going to learn well,” Weise said. “So if you’re not learning, you’re going to fall further behind in your academic performance. Your state and your test scores are going to take a hit, which we’ve seen that as well.”

The associations says its research found that students in Indiana schools that met this ratio scored 16 to 18 points higher on individual sections of the SAT. 

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The American School Counselor Association has kept track of rates since 1986 and gets its data from The US Department of Education Center For Education Statistics.

The average ratio nationally for 2022 was 408 to 1, down slightly from the year before.