Minnesota ranks second lowest for recovery resources among Big Ten schools

The University of Minnesota was graded near the bottom – ranking 13th out of the 14 Big Ten schools – for how it provides resources and support to students in recovery.

AccessU: Addiction spent the past several weeks surveying how well each of the schools supported the needs of students in recovery. The factors included housing, peer groups, support groups, university resources and whether the school was a member of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE).

The methodology and rubric, which are included below, was reviewed by an official with the ARHE. The ratings were calculated by the students at AccessU: Addiction based on multiple interviews with staff at the Big Ten campuses to determine their actual offerings.

The university received an overall grade of C- and the second-lowest overall GPA of 1.5,   narrowly beating the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which received a D+ and an overall GPA of 1.25.

Penn State, Rutgers and Ohio State all received As and overall GPAs of 4.0 earned from robust programs offered to students in recovery.

To receive full credit, a school had to provide designated housing for students in recovery from substance use, comprehensive drug and alcohol counseling, peer groups with steady attendance, support groups with steady attendance.  All schools had to be a member of the ARHE, which sets standards for colleges and universities to provide a welcoming campus community for students in recovery.

Partial credit was awarded if a school had active plans for recovery housing, limited resources for drug and alcohol counseling and active peer and support groups with sporadic attendance.  

Grades below that threshold, excluding Fs, were given for housing if a school had only a substance-free living community, which is not geared specifically toward students seeking support to maintain sobriety. Schools also got lower grades in other categories if campus groups had lapsed or were not yet in place.

Report cards for all schools are shown below from highest to lowest rank.


Each of the Big 10 schools were given between one and four points for each category. The points were totaled, and each school was given an overall grade using these scores on an A/F scale. Categories are as follows:

    1. Housing. Does the university provide a housing space that is designated exclusively for students in recovery? Partial credit was awarded if the university had a substance-free living community, or if it had made an attempt at creating recovery housing within the past year.
    2. University Resources. What does the university provide in the name of addiction counseling? Full points were given for the presence of full-scale, university health service departments with designated counselors that specialize in addiction. Partial credit was given if the university offered minimal services such as drug and alcohol assessments or a website that directed students to off campus resources,
    3. Peer Groups. A social group focused on creating relationships and connections without the pressure of drug and alcohol use. A group that had met within the past year, but may have recently lapsed, got the school partial credit
    4. Support Groups. These differ from peer groups because they provide resources and structure to help maintain sobriety. Regular 12-step, SMART or meditation-based recovery groups on campus, for example, fall into this category.
    5. ARHE Membership. “The Association of Recovery in Higher Education is the only association exclusively representing collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) and collegiate recovery communities (CRCs), the faculty and staff who support them, and the students who represent them,” claims the organization’s official website. Schools that are members must pay a membership fee and have a recovery program on campus that meets ARHE requirements. This is the only category to be graded on a pass/fail level and which does not count towards the school’s final grade.

Advised by Patrice Salmeri, past president of ARHE.