Standards and Recommendations

The evolution of the collegiate recovery movement has, over the past several years, paralleled the rapid growth of the larger recovery advocacy movement in the United States. Recovery support services have been added to the spectrum of student services on an increasing number of campuses. Now, more than ever, there are many pathways to recovery and ARHE remains open to ever-changing recovery models as more and more young people enter recovery. Services and programs on college campuses for students with current and past alcohol and other drug problems are varied and influenced by many factors including funding, campus environment and surrounding community treatment and recovery resources.

ARHE believes that there is no one-size-fits-all model for collegiate recovery – there are many ways to effectively support students in recovery. ARHE is dedicated to ensuring the integrity of its institutional members. ARHE provides clear information and offers guidelines so that students and family members can make informed decisions about the programs that best fit their needs. With that goal in mind ARHE has established seven standards for its member programs. ARHE understands meeting these standards for CRPs is a developmental process. ARHE is committed to helping developing CRPs in this process to meet these standards. We recognize that individual CRPs may offer additional services to students with behavioral/process addictions, mental health issues, and/or students who support recovery and live a recovering lifestyle.


CRPs embrace abstinence-based recovery as the standards of our fields.

ARHE recognizes that in community populations, alcohol and drug problems are frequently managed in ways that do not include abstinence. ARHE also recognizes that replacement therapy is increasingly becoming the standard of care for some addictions. ARHE is aware that there is a need to support alternatives to excessive alcohol and other drug use for the general student population on college campuses. ARHE encourages all interventions and pathways that lead to problem reduction, health and wellness for individuals and communities. However, ARHE believes that supporting abstinence-based recovery, in an environment that is hostile to abstinence and to abstinence-based recovery, is essential, and that CRPs need specialized programing and services for this specific, vulnerable, underserved population.

CRPs are housed within an Institution of Higher Education that confers academic degrees (e.g., associates, bachelors, masters, and/or doctorate degrees).

Students who are in recovery as well as the campus culture gain the most benefit when academic institutions take ownership of recovery on their campuses. Therefore, CRPs should be entrenched within the structure of the college or university and not provided by an outside entity.

CRPs are non-profit entities

A non-profit organization status promotes the ability to keep the mission and structure above the personal interests of individuals and other for-profit entities.  We believe in an educational model, not a business model.

CRPs have paid qualified, trained, ethical, and dedicated professionals who support students in recovery

The primary mission of professionals in the collegiate recovery field is to support students who are in recovery in higher education settings. This mission is best accomplished by professionals who have proper training, continuing education, secure employment status, ongoing supervision and collegial support.

CRPs provide a variety of recovery support services to assist students in maintaining and protecting their recovery

Recovery protective programming is vital to the mission of CRPs. Seminars related to recovery or relapse prevention, mutual aid meetings, case management, advising and team building activities are all examples of services that are provided on many campuses. Concise and intentional efforts by CRPs to cultivate pathways to meet the needs of the students they serve, either internally, or through external entities, should be a consistent programming goal.

CRPs have within them a collegiate recovery community with students from their alcoholism and/or drug addiction as the primary focus

Recovering students are at the core of a thriving CRP. Peer support and community are crucial in supporting students who are in recovery, normalizing recovery and fighting stigma. ARHE recognizes the prevalence of co-occurring disorders and encourages CRPs to develop appropriate programming and referrals for students who are in multiple forms of recovery.  ARHE also recognizes that many students face other primary issues for which recovery is indicated, such as eating disorders, sex addiction, and gambling. ARHE asserts that CRPs should have a community specific to students who identify as being in recovery from addiction and/ or alcoholism.  ARHE encourages individual CRPs to develop additional programing should the need arise, and also recognizes that these programing decisions are best left to the individual CRP efforts.

CRPs do best with a dedicated physical space for students in recovery to gather and offer peer support to one another.

Dedicated space is vital to the mission of supporting students in recovery on a college campus. Students need safe spaces to gather, meet, support each other and find respite from the dominant narrative around drinking and drug use. Dedicated space communicates pride and belief in the value of the recovering identity. It additionally promotes taking ownership and responsibility for the space, the identity and the legacy of being in recovery in college. Most underserved identities on college campuses have such spaces and accommodations, and ARHE embraces the community-building power of such spaces.

© 2019 Association of Recovery in Higher Education, All Rights Reserved.

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1541
Kennesaw, GA 30156

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A collegiate recovery program (CRP) is a College or University-provided, supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance use. It is designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other.