Strengthen the Graduate Psychology Education Program

FY 2014 Congressional Appropriations Request

Request: Provide $4.5 million for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program in the FY 2014 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill within the "Mental and Behavioral Health" budget activity of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Background

The GPE Program is the nation's only federal program dedicated solely to the education and training of doctoral-level psychologists. Funding for the competitive grant program — now in its twelfth year of operation — has been included in OMB budget requests since FY 2010.

Purpose

Established in 2002, the GPE Program provides grants to accredited psychology doctoral, internship and postdoctoral training programs. An exemplary "two-for-one" federal activity, the program supports the interdisciplinary training of psychology graduate students while they provide mental and behavioral health services. In rural and urban underserved communities, services are provided under supervision at no charge to underserved populations, such as older adults, children, the chronically ill, victims of abuse and trauma including veterans and their families, unemployed persons, and victims of natural disasters.

Authorization

GPE is specifically authorized at between $10 million and $12 million per year by the Public Health Service Act [Section 756(a)(2)]. Also Section 755 (b)(1)(J) provides broader additional authority under which the program began. HRSA receives appropriations for the program under HRSA's "Mental and Behavioral Health" account in the Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill.

New Grant Competition in 2013

A new national competition was initiated by HRSA in December 2012. Approximately $3.9 million will be awarded in FY 2013 to fund an estimated 25 grants at an average award of $134,200 per grant for the first year of a three-year cycle. Increasing GPE funding in FY 2014 to $4.5 million (the FY 2005 level) would continue the awarded grants while allowing HRSA to fund a total of 30 grants.

Funding History

Appropriations for GPE under the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution (P.L. 112-175) are equivalent to the FY 2012 level of $2,892,000. Previous funding:

  • FY 2010-12: $2.9 million per year.

  • FY 2006-09: $1.8 million per year.

  • FY 2003-05: $4.5 million per year.

  • FY 2002: $2 million.

Additional funding would allow for:

  • A special focus on veterans and their families.

  • Integration of doctoral-level psychology trainees at Federally Qualified Health Centers to provide behavioral and mental health services to underserved populations.

  • Geropsychology grants focusing on the needs of underserved older adults.

Without the GPE Program, the nation would lose its critical mechanism to ensure the interdisciplinary training and placement of psychologists who specialize in underserved populations in communities with shortages of mental and behavioral health providers. Providing $4.5 million in FY 2014 will enable HRSA to fund at least 30 GPE grants nationally. Approximately 900 accredited universities, professional schools and hospitals nationwide are eligible to compete for GPE funding.