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TCNJ News Releases

TCNJ receives $4.25 million in grants to launch new online mental health counseling program, lower education costs for future professionals

Amid a shortage of mental health professionals nationwide, The College of New Jersey has launched a new online Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling program to bolster diversity within the workforce. This new offering is funded by a $3 million grant from The Tepper Foundation and a $1.25 million grant from Accelerate the Future.

The program, which is open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree, will intentionally recruit and train paraprofessionals working in mental health, particularly those from historically underrepresented populations working in New Jersey counties that have been designated mental health professional shortage areas.

“The primary mission of this program is to provide a high-quality education grounded in the principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion to those working in mental health agencies in New Jersey,” said Sandy Gibson, program coordinator and professor of online counselor education at TCNJ. “We believe we can provide a national model for institutions to deliver counselor preparation in an accessible, affordable, exceptional, and flexible manner.”

“To address the mental health epidemic, it is crucial to invest in a strong and equipped mental healthcare workforce,” said Randi Tepper, CEO of The Tepper Foundation. “Many paraprofessionals in our mental health system want to further their education, and reducing the cost of degree attainment will be essential to more individuals reaching that milestone. At The Tepper Foundation, we collaborate with organizations who are working on the frontlines of this issue to meet this growing need. We are excited to support TCNJ’s new program that will expand and diversify the mental healthcare system in New Jersey and nationwide.”

“Accelerate the Future is proud to be supporting TCNJ’s work to make mental health counseling degrees more efficient, affordable, and accessible to hard working paraprofessionals in the behavioral health field,” said Ross Lohr, managing director of Accelerate The Future. “We’re not going to address critical shortages of mental health clinicians without some really innovative new programs, and Sandy Gibson is a perfect example of someone willing to push the boundaries of what’s possible to fix a broken system of mental healthcare in this country.” 

There are two tracks available for the program:

  • Generalist practice track: This option offers students customizable electives that provide broad clinical experiences.
  • Addiction counseling track: This track prepares students to work across the addiction treatment spectrum and provides a strong foundation in harm reduction strategies.

TCNJ is partnering with several community agencies to collectively support paraprofessional staff to secure their degree, while also working full-time. Through some agencies, this involves tuition support, while others will allow course attendance during work time. This partnership can help build the workforce pipeline for behavioral health, and areas facing substantive workforce shortages.

“The unique structure of our academic calendar allows students to attend the program full-time, never taking more than two courses at a time, and completing their MA in counseling in only two years,” Gibson said. “No longer will this degree feel out of reach for working paraprofessionals.”

The program consists of three 15-week terms a year, each of which is divided into two carefully curated seven-week sessions. The practicum/field experience will span a full term, and the internship will span two terms.

Students will use cutting-edge technology to enhance the learning experience and gain essential skills for future counseling practices through interactive virtual classrooms, practical skills labs integrated into every course, multimedia resources, and real-time collaboration tools.

For all students, tuition for the program will be discounted from TCNJ’s standard rate. Paraprofessionals working in HPSA communities and HBCU graduates are eligible for additional reductions in cost.

For more information, please visit the program’s website.


TCNJ earns high praise from Money

TCNJ earned a strong 4.5-star rating (out of five) on Money’s 2024 list of Best Colleges, sponsored by SoFi. Money’s Best Colleges rating offers a practical analysis of more than 700 four-year colleges. The publication considers dozens of data points related to quality, affordability, and student outcomes to determine their ratings. “The College of New Jersey… Continue Reading

TCNJ hosts ASL Fun Day for students who use sign language

Last month, The College of New Jersey’s School of Education gathered over 100 members of the hearing and deaf communities including local high school students and members of the college’s Deaf Hearing Connection student group, for the first-ever ASL Fun Day.  The event featured various activities, including a deaf business fair, scavenger hunt, a challenge… Continue Reading

Michael A. Bernstein named TCNJ’s 17th president

Michael A. Bernstein has been appointed The College of New Jersey’s 17th president, following a vote this afternoon by the school’s Board of Trustees. Bernstein has served as TCNJ’s interim president since July 1, 2023. The appointment is effective immediately. “Dr. Bernstein is an extremely accomplished educator and a transformational leader,” said Rebecca Ostrov, chair… Continue Reading

TCNJ holds 168th commencement ceremonies on May 16–17

The College of New Jersey held its 168th commencement celebration on May 16–17, 2024 at Lions Stadium on campus with school-specific ceremonies that served as the culmination of the TCNJ experience for the 1,785 undergraduates and 299 graduate students in TCNJ’s Class of 2024. TCNJ Interim President Michael A. Bernstein presided over his first commencement at the… Continue Reading

What’s next for the Class of 2024?

The Class of 2024 is ready to turn their tassels. From their unprecedented start as the “COVID class,” starting their studies behind computer screens and masks, to walking across the commencement stage in their caps and gowns, here’s a sampling of what some of TCNJ’s newest grads are up to next: Benjamin Winkler, electrical engineering… Continue Reading

TCNJ celebrates Earth Week by setting sights on achieving carbon neutrality

The College of New Jersey kicked off Earth Week 2024 by announcing plans to develop a comprehensive energy plan called “TCNJ 2040: The Carbon Neutral Journey.” The plan will establish a roadmap for converting fossil fuel-consuming equipment so the campus will ultimately be served entirely by carbon-free energy sources such as renewables and nuclear power.… Continue Reading

TCNJ’s “baby lab” is looking for new recruits

It’s never too early to start a love of learning, and TCNJ’s Cognitive Development Lab is looking for new recruits. The lab — colloquially called “the baby lab” — is located on campus in the Social Sciences Building. It is run by Aimee Stahl, associate professor of psychology, whose research focuses on how infants and… Continue Reading

TCNJ offers summer pre-college programs for high school students

Want to give your student an edge on their studies this summer? Check out TCNJ’s programs for high-achieving high schoolers looking to explore careers in an intellectually stimulating environment. Experience learning on a beautiful college campus with peers interested in academic and community challenges. Summer 2024 offerings include:   Continue Reading


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