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Monthly archive: April 2018

How do I pay for my education?

How do I pay for my education? You’ve likely asked yourself this question if you are applying for graduate school. The answer can seem elusive at times.

As someone who works as a Director of Admissions, I wish paying for graduate school was an easy and obvious process. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every student’s situation is unique. However, I do know that we are ready to help—you don’t have to figure out the finances on your own.

For many people, the idea of taking out (or taking on more) student loans can be crippling. I have seen the fear of loans keep people from pursuing the career they have felt called to for decades. That fear is normal. The fear of being responsible for debt is often a fairly healthy thing. We are a culture reacting against a recession we witnessed that exhibited the effects of unjustified or irresponsible debt.

However, we also have a responsibility to be good stewards of not just our financial resources, but also our talents and skills. Your talents are worth the investment. There’s a proven return on investment for those who complete graduate school.

How are we to feel if we neglect our skill or ability to be of service to others who are hurting just because we are fearful of student loans? Student loans are not monsters waiting to devour us. If we are responsible enough to research and understand our loans, then we may be able to use them as tools and resources to fulfill our own careers and callings.

At Richmont, our Admissions and Enrollment team works to inform you about all the resources available to you before you start your graduate school education. We offer three forms of financial aids for students:

With these three forms of aid, we have been able to help thousands of counselors and ministers fulfill their calling to do God’s work of healing, restoration, and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches, and communities.

We feel very fortunate to be able to provide private scholarships to our students. We recognize that not many graduate programs are able to offer their own scholarships or even help their students qualify for financial aid. Occasionally, we hear of students from other programs who were awarded their graduate or terminal degree on a “full ride.”

However, awards known as “full rides” are rarely fully explained or understood. Typically, the recipient of a full ride will have a job or two on campus as part of their “fellowship award.” Richmont departs from these types of awards. Instead, we offer our students scholarships that do not require them to work or serve any purpose other than being a student. This is not typical of graduate universities. We want our students to be able to have time with their families and friends, to even pursue a part-time job.

The Graduate Assistant (GA) jobs that Richmont offers are part-time positions for students to help the school serve other students by operating the Atlanta and the Chattanooga campuses. The positions range from 5 hours to 20 hours per week, and the student receives a competitive hourly wage. Work schedules for GA jobs automatically fit students’ class schedules—they are logistically more convenient than working off-campus jobs.

Applying for GA jobs on each campus is competitive, and pursuing one of these positions is similar to applying for a real job. Prospective students should inquire with their Admissions Counselors early in the process if they’re interested in GA jobs. The more counselors know incoming students, the better the counselor can recommend them for certain jobs, like the records office, the library, or assisting faculty.

Unfortunately, most of the public grants, foundations, lottery scholarships, or “free money” that assisted you in your undergraduate education are not available for your graduate education. Instead, we seek to provide federal financial aid resources and services to all of our students, especially those who may not be familiar with FAFSA or Federal Student Aid.

The Admissions and Finance staff works to create open and transparent conversations about how to use and plan for student loans and to not default on them. Richmont is ranked first overall with a 0.00% default rate, listed on The Student Loan Report’s 2017 Default Rates. And for students who want to pay for their education independently, we help them create realistic payment plans.

Talk to someone. That’s the first step in understanding the financial aid resources available to you. I always recommend that you meet with school staff, current students, or alumni who have experienced what you are about to experience. Talking to them can help you normalize the anxiety you have about new financial responsibilities. You are not alone in what you are feeling, and it is fine to feel that way!

And more than just talking to people, try to learn from them. Chat with people who have been able to pay off their student loans, listen to their experiences, and learn how you can achieve your goals. There is no one universal solution to paying for graduate school or student loans. But don’t forget you have people around you with stories and experiences that can speak into your own understanding and preparation for graduate school.


Students and Faculty Present at CAPS Conference

CAPS Conference 2018

The Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) encourages in-depth consideration of therapeutic, research, theoretical, and theological issues. The association is a forum for creative new ideas.  CAPS members serve as psychologists, counselors, educators, marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, professional and lay counselors, researchers, pastoral counselors, and students.

Each year at the CAPS Annual Conference, hundreds of professionals gather to share ideas, present research, and learn from each other.  This year’s conference was held in Norfolk, Virginia April 12th – 14th.

Richmont was proud to be well represented by faculty members and students at this year’s conference.  The following is a list of Richmont presenters along with their research topics:

Kelsie Bowman McGlothin (student)

Promoting Healthy Spiritual Development in Children Through Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

Sonja Sutherland, Ph.D. (faculty)

Cultural Competence Development in Christian Counselors-In-Training

Daimi Shirck (student) *3rd Place Winner, Student Category

Clergy’s Perceptions of Their Training and Competence in Regards to Pastoral Counseling Compared to Professional Counselors

Amy Kenney (student) and Amanda Blackburn, Psy.D. (faculty)

Perception, Value, & Practice of Wellness in CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

Amanda Hindson (student) and Mary Plisco, Ph.D. (faculty)

Mental Health Treatment for Refugees: Exploring Ways to Address Barriers and Enhance Therapeutic Care

Dan Sartor, Ph.D. (faculty) and Jama White, Psy.D. (faculty)

Beyond Bracketing: Exploring Alternative Paradigms in Values Conflicts

Amanda Blackburn, Psy.D. (faculty), Jama White, Psy.D. (faculty), and Mary Plisco, Ph.D. (faculty)

Promoting Wellness in Graduate Students: Evidence-Based Interactive Activities to Engage Students

Social & Cultural Diversity Ethics: Justice for All?

Social & Cultural Diversity Ethics: Justice for All?

Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions

Friday, July 13, 2018

Richmont Graduate University

1900 The Exchange, Building 100, Atlanta, GA 30339

9:00am – 4:30pm

Presented by

Sonja A. Sutherland, Ph.D. LPC, NCC, CPCS, DCC

Dr. Sutherland is an Assistant Professor of Counseling and Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Georgia, an NBCC Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC), an NBCC Approved Counselor Supervisor (ACS), and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Therapist and Trainer. Dr. Sutherland is also the Founder and CEO of The Legacy Consortium, Inc (TLC), Executive Director of the Legacy Changers Counseling Centers, a division of the TLC, and also hosts a local Atlanta radio show focusing on family relationships and mental wellness. In the field of counseling since 1998, and licensed since 2001, Dr. Sutherland has provided therapeutic services in the private practice, psychiatric residential, in-home, and outpatient mental health settings, for adolescents and adults, through individual, group, couples, and family therapy. Dr. Sutherland has specialized in working with adolescents and families for the last 15 years. During the last decade Dr. Sutherland has also served as a Director of Mental Health and Clinical Services for mid – large sized outpatient mental health organizations providing therapeutic intervention in the Cobb, Atlanta, and Stone Mountain areas. Dr. Sutherland’s areas of research interest include counselor supervision & cultural competence development, and evidence-based treatment & residential models of care for at-risk adolescents (commercially sexually exploited youth, family relationship restoration, and integration of spirituality in treatment).

Course Description:

How should clinicians respond when confronted with ethical dilemmas in the field? How are the ethical codes best used for guiding and informing decisions? When separate culturally diverse groups’ attempts to protect their rights, results in a conflict of interest (i.e. for the rights of one group to be upheld, the rights of the second group must be compromised), how should clinicians address the subsequent ethical questions regarding one form of diversity taking priority/supremacy over another form of diversity? How can spiritual/religious diversity and sexual diversity co-exist and be treated respectfully (even when not always in agreement)? How can clinicians determine answers to questions surrounding beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice in our interactions with all individuals regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and gender? Some of the biggest issues facing clinicians surround ethical practice. Knowing the codes is not enough. Many times we are put in such complex positions with clients that decision-making can provoke varying levels of anxiety. A highly interactive group format and thought-provoking case vignettes will challenge clinicians to think through diversity-related ethical dilemmas that are occurring in the field today. Related sections of the 2014 ACA Codes of Ethics will be incorporated.

Course Objectives: Within the context of this 6 hour workshop, participants will:

  • Define cultural diversity
  • Develop and demonstrate cultural self-and-other awareness
  • List components involved in worldview development
  • Apply understanding of worldview development to clinical case conceptualization
  • List ethical considerations for working with culturally diverse clients
  • Explain use of ethical decision-making models in working with culturally diverse others.
  • List and discuss components of multicultural counseling and social justice counseling and apply using case vignettes

Target audience: Psychologists, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists

Basic Schedule:


9am – 10:30am

  • Defining cultural diversity and promoting of cultural self-and-other awareness
  • Respecting diversity despite value differences
10:30am – 10:45am Break
10:45am – 12:15pm
  • Providing services to diverse others
  • Ethical considerations for working with culturally diverse clients (race, religion, sexual orientation and gender)
12:15pm – 1:15pm Lunch
1:15pm – 2:45pm
  • Case vignettes based on current diversity related conflicts towards assessing and clarifying how various combinations of factors can arise creating complex ethical situations
2:45 – 3:00pm Break
3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Practice use of the ACA Codes of Ethics, along with an evidence-based decision-making model towards demonstrating beneficent and justice-driven applications of ethical guidelines in counseling.

Continuing Education: Six ethics CE clock hours awarded.


  • Richmont Graduate University Legacy and Founding Alumni Association Members, Hope/Henegar Supervisors, Faculty, & Staff: FREE
  • Richmont Students: $25.00
  • Basic Alumni Association Members: $50.00
  • Nonmembers/Friends of Alumni: $125.00
  • Have Lunch with us on campus! Lunch includes sandwich, chips, cookie, and drink. $8.00 (optional)

Registration: Click Here

For questions, please contact Martha Busby at
Refunds will only be issued if requested prior to July 9..

Richmont Graduate University has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 4534. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identifited. RGU is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.  

Richmont Graduate University is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Richmont Graduate University maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The New Richmont App

The new Richmont App is available today on both Apple and Andriod app stores (search for Richmont).
You can also text “rgu app” to 77977 to download.

The new Richmont App has the following capabilities:
  • Sections for Admissions, Alumni, Current Students and Continuing Education
  • Make a donation to Richmont Graduate University
  • Prospective students can complete the application process and register for Preview Day
  • Current students can access forms, current schedules, and the student portal
  • Alumni and Professionals can register for continuing education courses (discount rates available)

Download the Richmont App today to stay connected with all of the great things going on at Richmont Graduate University.