Maximizing Grant Funding for Technology Access

Today’s schools face significant challenges in funding access to technology that supports student learning. When a school’s local dollars only stretch so far, school leaders must understand how to find and leverage sources of funding, especially grant funds from the federal government.

Government Money for Schools

The most significant source of money for schools from the federal government comes from Title grants. Title I, III, and IV grant funds were established by the federal government as a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to support academic achievement. Funding flows from the federal government to state departments of education to the local schools and districts. The following is a general overview of Title grants and how they can support technology access in your school.

Title I Grants

Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides money to schools to further the education of students from low-income families so that these students can reach the same high academic expectations as their peers. Funds are allocated based on the number of qualifying students in the school. Private school students who qualify as low-income are also eligible to receive support.

Funds must be expended to support the academic achievement of qualifying students. Allowable costs include things like instructional materials and salaries, as well as technical equipment like Chromebooks, computers, and tablets and software licensing. Any Title I expenditure must be tied explicitly to increase the academic achievement of qualifying students; school leaders must be prepared to explain how the money spent will benefit students. Funds may only be expended on qualifying students. However, if 40% or more of the total student population qualifies as low-income, then the school can apply for schoolwide Title I status. Being a schoolwide Title I, the school provides significant flexibility because then all students within the school are considered Title I students and can benefit from the expenditures from the grant.

Lumos Learning meets Title I grant goals because it supports the academic achievement of students. Lumos Learning’s flexible design assesses each student’s unique learning needs and strengths and adapts to best support them. The teacher dashboard provides insights to teachers and school leaders about student usage and progress.

For more information about Title I grants, see the Department of Education’s website or reach out to your state department of education for guidance.

Title III Grants

Title III, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides money to schools to support the academic achievement of English Language Learners. The goal of grant expenditures is to accelerate the learning of English Language Learners and close the achievement gap with their peers. Allowable uses of Title III grants include a wide range of things, from curriculum and instruction to technology, and from parent engagement to professional learning.

Similar to Title I, any Title III expenditure has to be tied explicitly to increase the academic achievement of students. Lumos Learning supports Title III grant goals as it works to diagnose student strengths and gaps in student learning and provide personalized support.

For more information about Title III grants, see the Department of Education’s website or reach out to your state department of education for guidance.

Title IV Grants

A newer stream of funding is Title IV, Part A, which was introduced in 2015 as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The goals of this grant program are broad and include providing all students with a well-rounded education, improving safe and healthy school conditions, and expanding access to technology and digital literacy.

Lumos Learning fits two of the three stated goals of Title IV grants – providing a well-rounded education and expanding access to technology and digital literacy. This grant can also be used to purchase devices for students to access digital tools like Lumos Learning.

For more information about Title IV grants, see the Department of Education’s website or reach out to your state department of education for guidance.

Lumos Learning Can Stretch Your Funds

Lumos Learning understands that your school funds are stretched thin. Services provide a high return on investment to boost student achievement. Solutions are flexible and can be customized to meet the needs of your students, whether you’re giving remediation to small groups of Title I or English Language Learners or enriching instruction for your entire school. For more information or to arrange for a demonstration, please reach out to us.

5 Helpful Tips When Applying for Title Grants

The title grant application process can be a daunting task. As an experienced Title grant administrator, here are five tips I’ve found to be most helpful.

  1. Understand the Rules
  2. When writing the grant, you will explain your school’s particular needs and goals in a comprehensive needs analysis. Be sure to involve multiple stakeholders in planning for those goals. You will be asked in the grant application how you have involved stakeholders in the planning process. Your budget must align with your needs and your goals.

  3. Involve Stakeholders When Writing Your Plan
  4. When writing the grant, you will explain your school’s particular needs and goals in a comprehensive needs analysis. Be sure to involve multiple stakeholders in planning for those goals. You will be asked in the grant application how you have involved stakeholders in the planning process. Your budget must align with your needs and your goals.

  5. Supplement, not Supplant
  6. One of the most significant rules of the Title grants is the “supplement, not supplant” rule. In plain English, this means that anything purchased with grants funds must supplement your local funds, not replace your local funds. For instance, if you paid for a piece of technology, software license, basic skills instructor salary, or any other allowable cost in Year 1 with your school’s local funds, you cannot then pay for it from Title funds in Year 2. When you replace local funding for something you’d budgeted for or purchases with Title funds, that’s supplanting and is a direct violation of Title I regulations. Title I funds are to be used to enhance the basic educational services provided by the school.

  7. Use It or Lose It
  8. Unexpended Title grant funds do not all rollover into the next year. Schools with unexpended funds are required to return a portion of the funds to the state department of education. Keep track of your expenditure timelines and follow them carefully. Remember that grant funding follows a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30.

  9. Make Peace with Amendments
  10. When you complete your application and submit it for review by the state department of education, be prepared to make amendments. It’s not punitive and just a part of the process.

Dr. Amy Lynn Mount

Dr. Amy Lynn Mount

Dr. Amy Mount is a PreK-12 Director of Curriculum and Instruction in Southern New Jersey. Her professional interests include design thinking, educating the whole child, and integrating college and career readiness across the curriculum. Amy is an ASCD Emerging Leader, a Learning Forward Academy Fellow, and a TAGT Rising Star. Amy is the proud mom of two adorable kids, David Kaiden and Avonlea Grace. In her spare time, Amy bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie.