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Graduate scholarships aim to strengthen local behavioral health work force

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Students pursuing graduate degrees in clinical psychology, social work, counseling, or school counseling may be eligible for scholarships at University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Working to address the shortage of mental health care workers in the region, Scharbauer Foundation and Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP) have partnered with UTPB to provide scholarships to graduate students pursuing careers in mental health care. The competitive scholarships cover tuition and mandatory fees and are renewable for up to three years.

“Our goal is to grow the next generation of behavioral health providers in the Permian Basin,” said UT Permian Basin President Dr. Sandra Woodley, announcing the new program. “This funding will allow so many students the opportunity to earn a high-quality master’s degree – with little to no debt! Thanks to the support of PSP and the Scharbauer Foundation, we can now remove the financial burden so students can focus on having a significant impact in this region by becoming excellent counselors, psychologists, or social workers.”

Scholarship recipients must agree to remain in the Permian Basin as a working mental health professional for at least three years, a caveat that will help to curb the long-standing deficiency in the area. The profound lack of mental health care access in Midland has been a priority for the Scharbauer Foundation since a 2016 assessment by Meadows Mental Health Institute revealed the immense disparity between the need for mental health care and the current available resources. Demand for mental health care professionals takes on an even greater urgency with the upcoming construction of a 200-bed inpatient and outpatient behavioral health facility located between Midland and Odessa.

“The need for trained behavioral health professionals has never been greater, and our region is greatly blessed to be building the new Permian Basin Behavioral Health Center. Scharbauer Foundation is proud to partner with the Permian Strategic Partnership and UTPB in providing these graduate-level scholarships so that we might have the right counselors in the right place at the right time,” Scharbauer Foundation President and CEO Grant Billingsley said.

The first cohort of scholarship recipients began in fall 2023. For more information, click here.


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