Student Affairs will expand its wellness resources for students across the five schools and campus locations and remove charges for certain resources.
The need for changes was a direct result of student mental and physical health needs, said Connie Horton, vice president for Student Affairs. A September 2021 article from Mayo Clinic found around 44% of college students reported symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The University hopes the new model will encourage students to utilize resources and remove the barrier of cost, Horton said.
“I hope throughout this period, you have experienced that we care for students holistically at Pepperdine,” Horton wrote in a March 21 email to students. “We want you to be successful academically, certainly, but we also care about your well-being spiritually, physically, emotionally.”
Horton explained the changes in three parts: An expansion of on-ground services, a new offering of telehealth services and the elimination of fees.
On campus, the Student Counseling Center will add to its staff, increasing workshops and appointments available to students.
Additionally, the Student Care Team and Title IX offices will expand its staff, specifically case managers, Horton said.
“Case managers on our Student Care Team also provide complimentary support to students facing additional challenges, and our RISE program offers individual and group resilience coaching to students,” Horton wrote. “Each of these important mental health services will expand and continue to be offered free of charge.”
The University’s telehealth services will grow, with 24/7 medical telehealth available to students from anywhere in the United States, Horton said. Students could receive medical attention and schedule appointments for weekends and late hours, something the Student Health Center did not offer prior.
The Counseling Center will also offer telehealth counseling on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The telehealth counseling will also expand the office’s diversity of counselors — students can request counselors of specific backgrounds, like LGBTQ+, Horton said.
Historically, Pepperdine charged students for various wellness services on campus. For example, an initial visit to the SHC cost $70 and between $15 and $50 for followups. Campus Recreation charged $75 a semester for group fitness classes. The Counseling Center provided psychiatric services for an additional fee as well.
Instead of paying for individual services on campus, students can expect a charge to their student accounts called “Wellness Fee” at the start of each term based on their school, location and credit hours.
Full-time Malibu Seaver students will pay $250 each semester, but will not pay during summer sessions. Students studying abroad or in Washington, D.C., will pay lower rates — $125 a semester.
A full list of available services from the Wellness Fee and locational factors can be found on the Student Affairs website.
Some things will still have an additional cost — the SHC will still charge for x-rays, labs, massages and other more complex needs like an ambulance. Students will also pay Campus Recreation’s club sport fees and, for outdoor trips and excursions separately.
Horton said the fee, as applied as a University charge, should be factored into financial aid packages students receive.
The Student Life fee remains an extra fee on top of tuition and housing, as that is related to Campus Activities, so Seaver students can expect their $126 charge to remain each semester.
“As we advance Pepperdine’s mission through best-in-class student wholeness and resilience programming across the University, we look forward to better serving you, our students, as we learn, live, and share life together,” Horton wrote.
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