Federal Programs


Rural public schools worry they will be left behind

 With a new administration in the White House that prefers  "school-choice” approaches — favoring charter schools and private-school vouchers so parents can opt out of public schools and bring taxpayer dollars with them — the nation’s rural schools are left to wonder about their fate.


U.S. Department of Education Reminds Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Grantees of Eligibility Requirements

The purpose of the Small, Rural School Achievement grant program is to provide financial assistance to rural districts to assist them in meeting their state's definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP). Applicants do not compete but rather are entitled to funds if they meet basic eligibility requirements.


Regional Education Laboratory Appalachia Co-hosts July 25 Event on Postsecondary Readiness in Rural Communities

Regional Education Laboratories (REL) invite practitioners and leaders from rural schools and districts, as well as rural education researchers are invited the attend the Cross-REL full-day event in Nashville, Tennessee.


Read for Success Report Addresses Summer Learning Loss in Poor and Rural Communities

In May 2015, Reading is Fundamental (RIF) released the report entitled, Read for Success: Combating the Summer Learning Slide. The study was designed by RIF to determine how schools and communities in the poorest and/or most rural areas could address summer learning loss, and ultimately the achievement gap, through access to opportunity, books, and learning resources.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Applications Due May 20, 2015

On March 16, 2015, the US Department of Agriculture released the Fiscal Year 2016 Farm to School Grant Applications. The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.


Read about the U.S. Department of Education's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request

Critical investments in preschool, K-12 and higher education are among the highlights of the Department of Education's 2016 budget request.


E-Rate Gets Big Funding Boost, New Rules

In December the FCC gave E-Rate — the federal program that provides funding to schools and libraries for technology and high-speed internet — a funding increase of $1.5 billion.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Agricultural Scientist Fellowships: Applications due February 11, 2015

On December 22, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of more than $15 million for fellowships to train and develop the next generation of scientists who will lead agriculture into the future by solving current and future challenges facing society.


Secure Rural Schools Program Defunded in Federal Spending Package

The federal program that has provided billions to rural timber counties to help support schools and roads received no funding in Congress’s recent funding agreement.


USDA's Farm to School Grant Program Enables Schools to Bring Healthy, Locally-grown Food to the School Cafeteria

Through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant Program, schools are able to incorporate fresh, local food into their school meals and teach students about healthy eating through hands-on experience in their own school gardens as well as nutrition education in the classroom.


Register Now for December 10 NCEEP Webinar: Issues, Challenges and Successes for GEAR UP Programs in Rural Areas

Throughout the United States, GEAR UP programs in rural communities face unique challenges trying to facilitate college readiness and access for low-income, first-generation students, ranging from transportation issues, teacher quality and turnover, and inadequate K-12 resources and rigor to lack of post-secondary education and economic development opportunities.

Schools May Still Apply to Offer Free Lunches to All Students

School districts still have time to apply to a federal program that allows high-poverty schools to offer free meals to all students.
Date: July 28, 2014
Related Categories: Administrator, Community Advocate, Parent, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Income Related Issues


WRM Briefing Prompts Floor Speech on Title I Equity

The Capitol Hill briefing of Why Rural Matters prompts Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson to call for reforms to Title I funding formulas.


Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Proposal Eliminates Impact Aid Section 8002 Funding

The Administration's Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal request recommends the elimination of funding for Impact Aid, Section 8002 (Federal Properties) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


USDA Announces FY 2014 Funds Availability for Household Water Well System Grants

On March 26, 2014, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced the available funding of $1,019,000 for the Household Water Well System grants for the fiscal year 2014.


U.S. Department of Education Announces Start of 2014 Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Competition

On March 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $134 million 2014 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition with the release of the program's invitation for pre-applications for the i3 Development grants (up to $3,000,000 each).


USDA Announces Request for Applications for FY 2015 Farm to School Grants

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School grants help eligible schools improve the health and well-being of their students and connect schools with local farmers, ranchers and food businesses. This grant program provides new economic opportunities to food producers and bring healthy, local offerings into school cafeterias.


Office of Civil Rights Guidance for Schools

Guidance issued earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights addresses what states and districts should do to ensure equal access to educational resources and opportunities.


Promise Zones Include Two Rural Areas

Earlier this month President Obama named the first five Promise Zones, including two multi-county rural regions.


There's Poverty...

Thoughts on what it means to talk about poverty and to address it in very distressed communities.


All Children Everywhere

The nation’s first rural Promise Neighborhood is entering its third year. In this issue of RPM we talk with some of its staff and hear about approaches, emerging successes, and opportunities.


Family Engagement: Lasting Positive Impact

Family engagement is the one of the pillars of the work Partners for Education is building in the Promise Neighborhood. We explore some of the ways the Berea initiative builds relationships across schools and communities.


Promise Neighborhoods: Promising, Challenging, Exhilarating

Three rural Promise Neighborhood grant recipients offer perspective on the work.


Rural Education Summit at Berea College

A national Rural Education Summit spotlights the need for investment in rural communities and schools and some of the rewards those investments bring.


Impact Aid School Districts Bear Brunt of Federal Budget Cuts

When the across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as the Sequester, took effect on March 1, 2013, school districts receiving federal Impact Aid experienced an immediate reduction of funds for the 2012-2013 school year, because funding for the Impact Aid Program is used the same school year it is appropriated.


USDA Farm to School Census Results Released

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Nationwide Census on Farm to School Activities shows promising results. The census indicates that there were over 38,000 schools with 21 million students serving over $350 million in local food in the 2011-2012 school year.


U.S. Department of Education Invites Districts to Apply for $120 Million in Race to the Top

On July 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support bold, locally directed improvements in learning and teaching that will directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness.


Some Rural Schools Among First to Face Sequester Cuts

While most cuts in federal education spending forced by sequestration — the across-the-board federal spending cuts that went into effect in March — will occur in the 2013–14 school year, states and districts that receive funding through the Secure Rural Schools Act must return a portion of funding already received.


White House Education Budget Unveiled

The White House budget for fiscal year 2014 includes a 4.6% increase in discretionary federal education spending, most of which is in pre-kindergarten programs and competitive grants.


The President's 2014 Budget Proposal for Education: Early Learning Is a Key Investment

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget highlights key education investments in early learning, furthering the K-12 reform agenda, college affordability and quality, school safety and expanded opportunities for both middle- and low-income communities, while protecting formula programs for at-risk populations overall.


"Impact Aid" School Districts Brace for Sequester

Because most districts have already received their federal funding for the current school year, any impact from the federal sequester would affect the next school year. However, for those school districts which receive Impact Aid funding, the effects may be more immediate.


ED Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Applications due Jan. 29, 2013

The applications for 2013-2014 U.S. Department of Education Washington, DC, and Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellowship are now available. The application period will close on January 29, 2013.


Arizona Forced to Adopt Better Practices for Identifying English Language Learners

Arizona must provide instruction for English Language learners until students have tested proficient in all areas.
Date: September 26, 2012
Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: English Language Learners (ELL), Federal Programs


Ten Highly Rated i3 Pre-Applicants Focus on Rural Education

Among the 124 highly rated pre-applicants for i3 Development grants, ten selected Rural Education as an Absolute Priority.
Date: July 27, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Investing in Innovation


i3 Development Grant Preapplication Deadline

April 9 is the deadline for i3 Preapplications for the U.S. Department of Education's 2012 Investing in Innovation grant competition.


Don't Miss Upcoming i3 Deadlines!

Investing in Innovation Development Grant pre-applications must be submitted by April 9, and the deadline to apply to be a peer reviewer has been extended.
Date: March 30, 2012
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Investing in Innovation, School Finance/Funding


Department of Education Launches Pre-Application for 2012 i3 Program

The U.S. Department of Education announced the third year of the Investing in Innovation grant competition for local educational agencies, groups of schools and non-profit organizations to improve student results through innovative practices.


ACE Act Would Ease Title I Inequities

A bill introduced this month in the U.S. House of Representatives aims to alter the Title I formulas that are unfair to students in poorer, smaller school districts.
Date: July 29, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Community Organizing, Federal Programs, Formula Fairness Campaign, Title I


New i3 Guidelines Better for Rural Schools

The deadline to apply for 2011 Investing in Innovation grants is August 2. New guidelines make rural schools one of five Absolute Priorities, and other changes could make the i3 program more responsive to the unique needs of rural students and their schools.
Date: June 26, 2011
Related Categories: Investing in Innovation, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Investing in Innovation, Research


Peer Reviewers Needed to Assess i3 Applications

Reviewers with experience in and knowledge about rural education are needed to help rate applications for the federal Investing in Innovation (i3) competitive grant program. Peer reviewer applications will be accepted through July 8.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: Investing in Innovation, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Investing in Innovation, Research


No Rural Cachet

Rural communities and problems get less attention from resesearchers than other commuities.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: Investing in Innovation, Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Research, School Location


Number-Weighting Bill Drafted

A bill that deals with the impact of number weighting in the Title I formulas has been drafted in the U.S. Congress. The Formula Fairness Campaign gains momentum.
Date: June 25, 2011
Related Categories: Rural Policy Matters
Related Tags: Federal Programs, Formula Fairness Campaign, Title I