Recovery in Higher Education

The Seeds of Hope grant program provides funding, technical assistance, and mentorship for early stage collegiate recovery efforts at 4-year institutions of higher education. For 2-year colleges, the Bridging the Gap grant program supports pilot campus programs to give more students access to recovery support in higher education settings.


In 2012, nearly 23% of all college students met the criteria for a substance use disorder. But, only 34 out of 4,500 4-year colleges had known support services for students in recovery. As a result, families were left with a painful choice—send their student back to campus with zero support, or not allow them to return due to the risk of relapse.

Recognizing a critically important need, Transforming Youth Recovery developed a higher education initiative to focus on the creation and expansion of on-campus collegiate recovery programs. To date, TYR has provided 124 grants to universities and colleges across the U.S. to establish collegiate recovery programs. We will award 38 additional grants this year. This includes 6 grants for pilot programs on community colleges campuses. Each grant is accompanied by 3 years of technical assistance and mentorship to assist with early stage growth and student recruitment. Assistance is based on the research TYR pioneered into the assets that can help build collegiate recovery capacity at institutions of higher education.

The 2015 Collegiate Recovery Asset Survey completed by 91 collegiate recovery programs on 4-year campuses in the U.S. identified the following 9 assets as critical to starting any collegiate recovery effort:
  • Individuals available for 1:1 recovery support (coaching, guiding, supporting, mentoring).
  • Individuals who are dedicated staff for a collegiate recovery program (faculty, staff, students; full or part-time).
  • Individuals who are influential within the University and/or in the broader community and are interested in advocating for students in recovery.
  • Mutual aid support groups near or on campus for students in recovery (i.e. AA, NA, GA, and other 12-Step meetings in addition to groups such as Celebrate Recovery, SMART Recovery, eating disorder recovery, Teen Challenge, etc.).
  • Physical space for students to get together socially, soberly, and safely (organized meals, dances, bowling, or other age appropriate activities).
  • Physical space that is dedicated for students in recovery to gather and meet.
  • Organizations, departments, and services that a collegiate recovery program can refer students who need outside services (treatment centers, mental health professionals, counselors, psychologists, etc).
  • Organizations, departments, and services that can refer students to a collegiate recovery program (judicial affairs, academic counselors, mental health counselors, treatment centers, etc.)
  • Students in recovery who are interested in growing the recovery community on-campus.

Importantly, from 2013-2016, TYR provided direct support to stabilize and reinvigorate the Association of Recovery Schools, the nationally recognized resource for recovery high schools in the U.S. This support included assistance for the development of a national accreditation process for high schools serving students in recovery. Today, Recovery High Schools play a critical role in the pathway to emerging and established collegiate recovery programs.

Through these efforts, approximately 2.5 million students now have access to the recovery supports they need. Our goal is to ensure that no individual will have to choose between their recovery and their educational goals.

Our current grant cycle is closed, however we encourage you to contact us if you are interested in starting a collegiate recovery program on your campus.

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Capacitype™ Map for School-Based Recovery Support Programs and Services

Community mapping tools from Capacitype have been designed to directly support school-based recovery support efforts across the U.S. The Capacitype platform makes data and mapping services available to groups and institutions in order to help students better find and access care and support on or near their campus. This Capacitype map tool shows known programs and services for recovery support in secondary and higher education based on census data reported March 2018. You can search for resources in areas of interest using the map tool or launch full online application from any map point.

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Call to Action

Give and Help A Student in Recovery

Resources from both private and public sectors are essential to funding our initiatives and accelerating the rate of change in how we support youth recovery in the United States.


Download the Collegiate Recovery Toolkit

Our Second Edition asset-based community development field guide for early stage collegiate recovery efforts at institutions of higher education is now available!

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