Recovery support in higher education as of February 2019

Research undertaken by Transforming Youth Recovery for the 2017 Census and Definitions for Recovery Support in Higher Education included activities intended to update definitions and descriptions for the services and resources that directly support students in recovery at institutions of higher education. A census was undertaken to ascertain the number of institutions offering services and resources in the U.S. along with detailed information on services and resources available to students on college campuses.

The specific research objectives were defined as:

  1. Substantiate the assumption that institutions of higher education are offering diverse types of recovery support services and resources for students in recovery from substance use disorders.
  2. Offer a definitional framework for the diverse types of recovery support services and resources in order to strengthen resource classification within the field and enhance accessibility by students and families in need.
  3. Update census data on collegiate recovery services and resources currently in the U.S.

The collegiate recovery census was sent to 249 contacts with responses received from 183 individuals. 127 responses were complete enough to include in the survey analysis and 118 unique institutions of higher education provided responses. These response rates make this the largest census in the history of the field.

The study substantiates the assumption that institutions of higher education are offering diverse types of recovery support services and resources, offers a definitional framework for those services and resources, and provides census data on services and resources currently being offered including area of focus, stage of development, department or group responsible, endorsement, institutionalization, scholarships, student involvement, application requirements, abstinence requirements, and space.

The data set for School-Based Recovery Support was updated on March 23, 2018 based on findings from the 2017 Census. Corresponding updates to classification terms (the taxonomy) were based on the expanded definitional framework for recovery support in secondary and higher education. Refined terms for recovery support in higher education now include:

  • Collegiate Recovery
  • Collegiate Recovery Community
  • Collegiate Recovery Program
  • Collegiate Recovery Program Residence
  • Community College Recovery Support
  • Outpatient Care and Education Program
  • Recovery Support Referral
  • Transitional/Recovery Residence and Education Program
  • Treatment and Education Program

In February 2019, the classification terms for recovery support in higher education were updated to better support emerging accreditation processes being consider by the national organization, the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE). The following refinements can now be found in the published Taxonomy of resource data types and services for the addiction field 

  • Collegiate Recovery – maintained as a service tag and used to identify all programs, groups and services that are represented by ARHE (SB-100)
  • Collegiate Recovery Community – removed as a distinct service tag and included as a census question for defining program, group, or service characteristics
  • Collegiate Recovery Program – maintained as a service tag and the principal designation for programs, services, and groups that directly serve and support students in recovery at institutions of higher education (SB-120)
  • Collegiate Recovery Program Residence – changed to be categorized as a Housing resource type with service tag, Recovery Housing and Education Program (H-205), and included as a census question for reporting student housing options
  • Community College Recovery Support - removed as a distinct service tag and included as a census question for defining program, group, or service setting
  • Outpatient Care and Education Program – changed to be categorized a Behavioral Health and Treatment resource type with service tag, Outpatient Care and Education Program (BH-485)
  • Recovery Support Referral – maintained as a service tag and the principal designation for programs, services, and departments that provide support services for students in recovery at institutions of higher education (SB-140)
  • Transitional/Recovery Residence and Education Program – changed to be categorized as a Housing resource type with service tag, Recovery Housing and Education Program (H-205)
  • Treatment and Education Program – changed to be categorized a Behavioral Health and Treatment resource type with service tag, Treatment and Education Program (BH-405)

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