This unique statewide summit brings together thought leaders and policymakers from across Texas and the nation to discuss opportunities to improve postsecondary mental health services for students and staff and address workforce shortages.

Trellis Foundation and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute are hosting the 2024 Higher Education Policy Summit in Austin on April 19.

The summit connects national and state thought leaders, policymakers, elected officials, and practitioners to discuss opportunities to improve the mental health and wellbeing of college students as a key strategy for improving student academic success and postsecondary persistence. Convening approximately three hundred postsecondary leaders, the summit will be the first event of its scale in Texas on the critical topic of mental health in higher education.

Programming will emphasize the intersections between education and the workforce, with a focus on the role that postsecondary mental health plays in ensuring students get “to and through” their higher education.

Key speakers include:

  • Kristin Boyer, Trellis Foundation Executive Director
  • Leilani Lamb, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
  • Harrison Keller, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  • Sunny Patel, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The role that mental health supports at the college level plays in student success cannot be overstated. A 2022 study from the Lumina Foundation and Gallup found that emotional stress and personal mental health were the top two reasons why students considered stopping their coursework, far eclipsing both cost and coursework difficulty. This held true for both 2- and 4-year students.

“The Trellis Foundation Board approved nearly $3 million in grant funding over the past two years to support institutions and projects that help us better understand student mental health needs and how to address them,” said Kristin Boyer, Executive Director of Trellis Foundation. “We’re excited to share what we’ve learned about the connection between mental health and student success with our colleagues and partners in Texas and across the nation.”

“The Meadows Institute is thrilled to partner with our friends at the Trellis Foundation to elevate the critical issue of mental health and wellbeing and the role it plays in ensuring students get to and through college,” said Michelle Harper, Executive Vice President at the Meadows Institute. “In collaboration with our partners across Texas, we want to work with our institutions of higher education to identify, promote, and scale promising practices across the state and the nation, especially around mental health workforce shortages.”

To learn more about the summit, visit the Trellis Foundation’s website.

About Trellis Foundation

Trellis Foundation advances equitable educational opportunities in Texas by supporting postsecondary programs, practices and systems that reduce disparities and lead to success for low-income students and students of color. More information is available at

About the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Independent and nonpartisan, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute works at the intersection of policy and programs to create equitable systemic changes so all people in Texas, the nation, and the world can obtain the health care they need.