Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

SB 5525

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning veterans' mental health services at institutions of higher education.

Sponsors: Senators Wilson, Palumbo, Cleveland, Baumgartner, Zeiger, O'Ban, Liias, Frockt, Schoesler, Hobbs, Kuderer, Conway and Bailey.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the public four-year higher education institutions to employ at least one full-time mental health counselor to work with veterans and their dependents.

Hearing Date: 2/20/18

Staff: Megan Mulvihill (786-7304).


Resources for Veterans in Public Institutions of Higher Education.

Applications for admission to an institution of higher education (IHE) must provide the opportunity for applicants to indicate if they are veterans who need assistance. The IHEs must also participate in outreach activities to increase the number of veterans who receive institutional waivers of tuition and fees. Each IHE has a center for veterans and their families, typically called a veteran resource center. The centers generally provide information regarding federal and state education benefits, specialized advising and tutoring services, referrals to support services, and social activities.

Licensing for Mental Health Counselors.

The Department of Health licenses mental health counselors. Requirements for receiving licensure include:Ÿ

Licenses for mental health counseling must be renewed every year, and every two years 36 hours of continuing education must be completed for renewal.

Summary of Bill:

Subject to appropriation, each public four-year IHE must employ at least one full-time licensed mental health counselor who has experience working with active members of the military or military veterans. The counselor will work with student, faculty and staff veterans, as well as their spouses and dependents, through each institution's veteran resource center.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.