Counselor to Student Ratio

Understanding the Counselor to Student Ratio

  • As of January 2019, CAPS has 24 counselors. This creates a ratio of 1 counselor for every 2,098 students based upon fall 2018 enrollment data (50,351 MSU students).  We currently have funding to hire 4 additional counselor positions and are actively engaged in those searches, which include: (1) an international specialist/Mandarin-speaking counselor, (2) substance use counselor, (3) crisis counselor, and (4) an additional psychologist/counselor generalist.
  • At MSU, staff members counted in the Counselor to Student ratio include the total FTE (full-time equivalent) for those listed in the sections
    • Counselors, Psychologists, and Clinical Social Workers
    • Part-Time Contracted Clinical Staff
    • Intensive Clinical Services Unit
  •   “Counselor” is defined as a mental health professional (e.g., counselor, clinical social worker, psychologist) who provides therapeutic intervention to a unique caseload of students, and thus, by their employment, directly expands our capacity to offer student outpatient counseling services. CAPS has other mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, nurses, clinical coordinators, medical assistants, and trainees, all of whom play a critical role in serving students and coordinating care. However, under the definition used by most Big 10 schools, they are not considered "counselors". 
  • The idea of identifying and benchmarking this ratio is an aspect of IACS (International Accreditation of Counseling Services) Accreditation. MSU CAPS is currently accredited by IACS. For more information about IACS and their standards, please see:
  • This ratio is aspirational by nature, encouraging counseling centers to approximate the range in order to ensure that there is an adequate number of professional staff members to meet the clinical needs of the students, as well as the other service needs of the campus community.