Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the purpose of the 21st CCLC program?
- What is a community learning center?
- What is the relationship between the 21st CCLC and other Federal programs?
- What is the definition of “State” under the 21st CCLC program?
- Must the outlying areas run competitions for local communities?
- Are unitary districts required to hold a competition within the district to distribute funds?
- How and when does a State educational agency submit its application for 21st CCLC funds?
- What happens to a State’s allocation if it does not apply for, or is not approved for, 21st CCLC funds?
- May a State educational agency reserve a portion of its allocation for State use?
- What organizations are eligible to apply for 21st CCLC funds?
- Is a local applicant eligible to apply for a grant if it has no prior after-school experience?
- Are there any required priorities for awarding local grants?
- Can a State include other priorities in the local grant competition?
- What is the minimum amount of 21st CCLC funds that an SEA may provide to a grantee?
- What is the period of a local 21st CCLC award?
- Does the 21st CCLC program have a local matching requirement? If so, what is it and what organizations can provide the match?
- Is collaboration a requirement for Lead Education Agencies and other public or private organizations eligible to apply?
- May a community learning center be located or take place outside of a school?
- Are there any requirements for the hours of operation of a center or the number of students a local program must serve?
- Can SEAs award local grants to schools that already receive Federal 21st CCLC program funds?
- May 21st CCLC program funds support communities that are already implementing before- and after-school activities?
- May an SEA use 21st CCLC funds to award a planning grant to an organization that currently does not provide any out-of-school time activities?
- Are religious organizations, including entities such as religious private schools, eligible to receive 21st CCLC grants from the SEA?
- Are private school students eligible to participate in 21st CCLC activities carried out in public schools?
- May several organizations form a consortium to apply for 21st CCLC funds?
- How does the legislative requirement for a minimum award of $50,000 per grant apply to a consortium of organizations?
- Are public charter schools eligible to participate in the 21st CCLC program?
- May an intermediate unit within a State apply for 21st CCLC program funds on behalf of eligible schools for which it provides services?
- Can Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools apply to the State and the BIA?
- How flexible is the timing of the local grant competition?
- Does a State Education Agency (SEA) have discretion in selecting criteria for its local competition?
- Who may serve as peer reviewers for local competitions?
- Can a State opt to have the Department continue to administer its allocation of the funds?
- Can two or more States combine their grant review process?
- For what activities may a grantee use 21st CCLC program funds?
- Can 21st CCLC program funds support services to adults?
- Can 21st CCLC program funds support services for pre-kindergarten children?
- Several civil rights laws apply to recipients of Federal grants. Do these laws apply to private organizations that receive a grant under this program?
- Can 21st CCLC activities take place during the regular school day?
- Can 21st CCLC local grantees use funds from other Federal, State and local programs that have related purposes?
- How does 21st CCLC fit within the broader context of a school’s improvement plan?
- May LEAs or other organizations charge indirect costs to their 21st CCLC grant?
- May a grantee charge pre-award costs to the 21st CCLC grant?
- Can a local grantee charge the 21st CCLC grant for costs incurred after the grant period?
- How does the “carryover provision” apply to 21st CCLC funds at the local level?
- May a local grantee use 21st CCLC program funds to pay or reimburse a proposal-writing firm for developing its grant application?
- Must community learning centers provide services free of charge?
- What evidence is required from the States and local programs to determine whether 21st CCLC programs are research-based and effective?
- What is scientifically based research?
- When is scientifically based research appropriate for the 21st CCLC program?
- What are the State evaluation requirements?
- What are the evaluation requirements for local grantees?
- How does a State ensure that organizations other than LEAs will be able to provide academic enrichment and have access to student achievement data?
What is the purpose of the 21st CCLC program?The purpose of the program is to establish or expand community learning centers that provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with activities designed to complement the students’ regular academic program. Community learning centers must also offer families of these students literacy and related educational development. Centers – which can be located in elementary or secondary schools or other similarly accessible facilities – provide a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development, including tutoring and mentoring, homework help, academic enrichment (such as hands-on science or technology programs), and community service opportunities, as well as music, arts, sports and cultural activities. At the same time, centers help working parents by providing a safe environment for students during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session. Authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the law’s specific purposes are to: (1) provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students (particularly students in high-poverty areas and those who attend low-performing schools) meet State and local student performance standards in core academic subjects such as reading and mathematics; (2) offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, and recreation programs, technology education programs, and character education programs, that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and (3) offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for literacy and related educational development.
What is a community learning center?A community learning center offers academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities to students and their families during non-school hours (before or after school) or periods when school is not in session (including holidays, weekends or summer recess). According to section 4201(b)(1) of the program statute, a community learning center assists students in meeting State and local academic achievement standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and mathematics, by providing the students with opportunities for academic enrichment. Centers also provide students with a broad array of other activities – such as drug and violence prevention, counseling, art, music, recreation, technology, and character education programs – during periods when school is not in session. Community learning centers must also serve the families of participating students, e.g., through family literacy programs.
What is the relationship between the 21st CCLC and other Federal programs?The 21st CCLC serves as a supplementary program that can enhance State or local reform efforts to improve student academic achievement and to support their overall development. In particular, 21st CCLC funds will create and expand after-school programs that offer extended learning opportunities for children and their families. Once these programs have been established with 21st CCLC funds, other Federal, State, or local funds can also be used to provide activities and services in these centers. Some illustrative examples of how 21st CCLC programs can operate in conjunction with other Federal programs to meet mutual goals and provide additional resources to target populations are provided below.
What is the definition of “State” under the 21st CCLC program?For the purposes of this program, the definition of State (Section 4201(b)(4)) includes the 50 States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Must the outlying areas run competitions for local communities?Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands must hold a competition to distribute funds to local communities if they are going to use 21st CCLC funds for its statutory purposes. However, if these island entities choose to use their authority to consolidate their 21st CCLC funds under another applicable ESEA program -- and not spend their funding on after-school programs - a local 21st CCLC competition is not necessary.
Are unitary districts required to hold a competition within the district to distribute funds?Yes. Hawaii, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico must conduct a grant competition to ensure that all eligible organizations – including all public or private entities and not just public schools and districts – can have a chance to compete for 21st CCLC grants.
How and when does a State educational agency submit its application for 21st CCLC funds?A State educational agency may submit its application for 21st CCLC funds in either of two ways. The State may request 21st CCLC funds as part of a consolidated ESEA application (under Section 9302), or it may submit a separate 21st CCLC program application. The Outlying Areas have their own consolidated application to which different guidelines apply. The consolidated application allows the State to submit one application for up to 12 formula grant programs under ESEA. The Department has 120 days to approve the State application or request additional information as needed. SEAs are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible so they can receive funding on a timely basis and begin the process of awarding local grants to eligible organizations.
What happens to a State’s allocation if it does not apply for, or is not approved for, 21st CCLC funds?If a State does not apply for 21st CCLC funds, or if an SEA’s application is not approved, the Secretary of Education will reallocate those funds to participating States. A State’s decision not to participate in the 21st CCLC program will not have an effect on its receipt of other Federal resources. It is important to note that if a State does not apply for funds or its application is disapproved, eligible organizations from that State cannot apply to the U.S. Department of Education directly. A State that does not receive an allotment in any one year will still be eligible for funds the following year, provided that it submits an application that is subsequently approved by the Department.
May a State educational agency reserve a portion of its allocation for State use?Yes. The SEA may use up to 5 percent of the total amount available to it for State administration and activities. Specifically, an SEA may use up to 2 percent of the amount available to the State for the administrative costs of carrying out its responsibilities to establish and implement a peer review process for grant applications, and to supervise the awarding of funds to eligible organizations. An SEA may use up to 3 percent of its allocation for the following State level activities (1) monitoring and evaluating programs and activities; (2) providing capacity-building, training, and technical assistance specific to grantees; (3) comprehensively evaluating (directly or through a grant or contract) the effectiveness of programs and activities; and (4) providing training and technical assistance to eligible organizations that are applicants for, or recipients of, awards. State funds can be used for travel, personnel, and contracted support as necessary and reasonable to carry out a State’s monitoring, evaluation, technical assistance, and training functions.
What organizations are eligible to apply for 21st CCLC funds?Any public or private organization is now eligible to apply for a 21st CCLC grant. Examples of agencies and organizations now eligible under the 21st CCLC program include, but are not limited to: non-profit agencies, city or county government agencies, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, and for-profit corporations. The statute encourages eligible organizations applying for funds to collaborate with the schools the children attend. The statute also allows a consortium of two or more agencies, organizations or entities to apply.
Is a local applicant eligible to apply for a grant if it has no prior after-school experience?Organizations do not have to demonstrate prior experience in providing after-school programs to be eligible to apply for a grant. However, in its application to the SEA, an organization that does not have such experience must demonstrate promise of success in providing educational and related activities that will complement and enhance the academic performance, achievement, and positive youth development of the students.
Are there any required priorities for awarding local grants?Yes. States must give competitive priority to applications that both propose to serve students who attend schools identified for improvement (pursuant to Section 1116 of Title I) and that are submitted jointly between at least one LEA receiving funds under Title I, Part A and at least one public or private community organization. Although the statute provides an exception to this requirement for LEAs that do not have qualified community organizations within reasonable geographic proximity, such LEAs would still have to propose to serve students attending schools identified for improvement to qualify for the priority. In determining whether an application has been “submitted jointly,” States should look for evidence in the application that the LEA and at least one other organization collaborated in the planning and design of the program, each have substantial roles to play in the delivery of services, share grant resources to carry out those roles, and have significant ongoing involvement in the management and oversight of the program. States may want to consider what organization(s) wrote the application, what organization will be the fiscal agent, whether there is a history of these organizations working together, and whether there is evidence in the application of integration of the after-school program activities with the regular school day program. Letters of endorsement are not by themselves sufficient evidence that organizations or school districts have substantially been involved in the design of a program.
Can a State include other priorities in the local grant competition?Yes. The SEA is authorized in the statute to include additional priorities in the local competition so long as they are aligned with the statute’s requirements and priorities. For example, the State may give priority to novice grantees. However, States cannot establish priorities that would curtail eligibility under this program.
What is the minimum amount of 21st CCLC funds that an SEA may provide to a grantee?By statute, a grant may not be made in an amount that is less than $50,000. The Department interprets this to mean that grants must be for at least $50,000 per year. In addition, the statute requires SEAs to ensure that awards are of sufficient size and scope to support high-quality, effective programs. The Department encourages SEAs to consider awarding fewer but more substantial awards – large enough to fully implement comprehensive plans described in successful grant applications – rather than a larger number of small awards unlikely to have any measurable impact on student achievement. Regardless of the size of the grant, proposed costs must be reasonable and necessary to carry out the program’s purposes and objectives.
What is the period of a local 21st CCLC award?The legislation allows States to award grants for not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years. States can determine the appropriate length of the grants they award within the statutory parameters.
Does the 21st CCLC program have a local matching requirement? If so, what is it and what organizations can provide the match?States are permitted to require grantees to match their Federal funds. However, the State educational agency “shall not consider an eligible entity’s ability to match funds when determining which eligible organizations will receive awards…(section 4204(d)(4)).” In other words, States are prohibited from discriminating among applicants based on the extent to which they are able to match, but States may require all applicants to match at least at some minimal level. In addition, the amount of the required match may not exceed the amount of the grant award and cannot be derived from other Federal or State funds. If it decides to require matching, the State must establish a sliding scale that takes into account the relative poverty of the students and families targeted for services and the ability of the applicant to obtain matching funds. SEAs must permit applicants to provide all or any portion of the match in the form of in-kind contributions. The requirement to provide matching funds would apply to an entire grant, and should not be the sole responsibility of any individual collaborating partner.
Is collaboration a requirement for Lead Education Agencies and other public or private organizations eligible to apply?The legislation contains several provisions about the importance of collaboration. Section 4204(b)(2)(H) requires districts applying for local grants to provide a description of the partnership between a local educational agency, a community-based organization (CBO), and other public or private organizations, if appropriate. If the local applicant is another public or private organization, it must provide an assurance that its program was developed and will be carried out in active collaboration with the schools the students attend. In addition, Section 4204(i)(1)(B) requires that States give priority to applications submitted jointly by an LEA receiving Title I funds and a CBO or other agency proposing to serve students in schools in need of improvement under Section 1116. As noted in F-4, SEAs must provide the same priority to LEAs proposing to target schools in need of improvement but demonstrate an inability to partner with a CBO within reasonable geographic proximity and of sufficient quality. By bringing together community organizations with school districts, centers can take advantage of multiple resources in the community. Community learning centers can offer residents in the community an opportunity to volunteer their time and their expertise to help students achieve academic standards and master new skills. Collaboration can also ensure that the children attending a learning center benefit from the collective resources and expertise throughout the community.
May a community learning center be located or take place outside of a school?Yes. The SEA may approve an application for a community learning center to be located in a facility other than an elementary or secondary school. However, the alternate facility must be at least as available and accessible to the participants as if the program were located in an elementary or secondary school. Each State will determine the evidence an applicant will need to demonstrate that the program will be available and accessible. (Note: “elementary school” and “secondary school” are defined in ESEA as any “nonprofit institutional day or residential school, including a public charter school…”) Whether the program takes place in a school building or other facility, the applicant must address how students will travel safely to and from the community learning center and home.
Are there any requirements for the hours of operation of a center or the number of students a local program must serve?No. The statute does not mention specific hours of operation or minimum or maximum numbers of students a center must serve. The statute does, however, specify that community learning centers must offer services during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session. In addition to after-school, that definition can include before school, evenings, weekends, holidays, summers, or other school vacation periods. Each community should base its application on the needs of its students and their families.
Can SEAs award local grants to schools that already receive Federal 21st CCLC program funds?Yes. Communities that presently have a grant from the Department are eligible to receive additional funds under the SEA-administered program. However, local applicants and SEAs should be aware that new funds must be used in a manner consistent with all the requirements of the new statute and must be used only to supplement, not supplant, any Federal, State or local dollars available to support activities allowable under the 21st CCLC program. Funds may be used to expand or enhance current activities, or to establish programs in nonparticipating schools within an LEA that has a 21st CCLC grant. School districts that have received 21st CCLC awards that have ended, or are ending this year, may apply to the SEA for funds to continue those programs. The supplanting provision does not prohibit Federal funds from being used to continue programs where a previous Federal grant has ended and other Federal, State or local funds would not have been available.
May 21st CCLC program funds support communities that are already implementing before- and after-school activities?Yes. 21st CCLC funds may be used to expand and enhance current activities provided in existing after-school programs, whether supported by public or private funds. For example, a grantee may use funds to align activities to help students meet local and State academic standards if those services are not part of the current after-school program. Again, grantees must bear in mind that 21st CCLC funds can be used only to supplement and not supplant any Federal or non-Federal funds used to support current programs.
May an SEA use 21st CCLC funds to award a planning grant to an organization that currently does not provide any out-of-school time activities?No. Funds under this program must be used to provide services and cannot exclusively support planning. The legislation requires a local applicant to demonstrate prior experience or promise of success in providing educational or related activities. To assist communities in planning and implementing programs, the SEA is authorized to use up to 3 percent of the funds for State level activities, including training and capacity building for both applicants and recipients of grants. Local applicants should plan for implementation prior to applying for the grant. However, grantees may use funds for ongoing planning throughout the grant period to strengthen the program based on evaluation results.
Are religious organizations, including entities such as religious private schools, eligible to receive 21st CCLC grants from the SEA?Yes. Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) are eligible to apply for local grants provided they meet all statutory and regulatory requirements of this program. In order to ensure that a local grantee, including a FBO, meets the program’s purposes and criteria, it should not discriminate against beneficiaries on the basis of religion. In matters of program eligibility, the SEA may not discriminate against grant applicants with regard to religion. Thus, faith-based and community-based organizations are encouraged to apply for local grants on the same basis as other applicants. Funds shall be used solely for the purposes set forth in this grant program. No funds provided pursuant to this program shall be expended to support religious practices, such as religious instruction, worship, or prayer. FBOs may offer such practices, but not as part of the program receiving assistance, and FBOs should comply with generally applicable cost accounting requirements to ensure that funds are not used to support these activities. For example, FBOs may wish to keep grant funds in a separate account or accounts to ensure that they are not used inappropriately. OMB Circulars A-21 (for educational institutions) and A-122 (for non-profit organizations) provide further guidance regarding these accounting requirements.
Are private school students eligible to participate in 21st CCLC activities carried out in public schools?Yes. Students, teachers, and other educational personnel are eligible to participate in 21st CCLC programs on an equitable basis. A public school or other public or private organization that is awarded a grant must provide equitable services to private school students, and their families. In designing a program that meets this requirement, grantees must provide comparable opportunities for the participation of both public- and private-school students in the area served by the grant. Grantees must consult with private school officials during the design and development of the 21st CCLC program on issues such as how the children's needs will be identified and what services will be offered. Services and benefits provided to private school students must be secular, neutral, and non-ideological.
May several organizations form a consortium to apply for 21st CCLC funds?Yes. Communities or organizations may apply together to share resources, so long as statutory requirements are met. States can determine what constitutes an eligible consortium so long as the State’s determination is consistent with program requirements.
How does the legislative requirement for a minimum award of $50,000 per grant apply to a consortium of organizations?The minimum grant award is $50,000 per year regardless of how many organizations take part in the consortium. However, one organization must be designated as the fiscal agent on behalf of all members of the consortium.
Are public charter schools eligible to participate in the 21st CCLC program?Yes. Under State law, a public charter school is generally either an LEA or a public school within an LEA. As such, public charter schools are eligible to be considered for support on the same basis as other schools or LEAs in the State. Regardless of a charter school’s status as an LEA or a public school, it is eligible to apply for a grant because any public or private entity may apply. Even if a charter school does not apply for or receive a grant, its students may participate in 21st CCLC programs established through an application submitted by other organizations.
May an intermediate unit within a State apply for 21st CCLC program funds on behalf of eligible schools for which it provides services?Yes. An intermediate unit within a State (e.g., a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (a BOCES) or an Intermediate Service District (an ISD)) may apply for and receive a grant. States may award funds to such agencies to coordinate and carry out activities for LEAs, other participating organizations, or consortia of organizations.
Can Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools apply to the State and the BIA?Yes. Schools within the BIA may apply to both the State and the BIA. However, the school may only accept one grant (a school cannot receive two grants for the same purpose).
How flexible is the timing of the local grant competition?States may hold a local grant competition at any time in which funds are available for obligation. However, the earlier the SEA makes its local awards, the longer the period of time the grantees will have to implement their programs and obligate their funds. The SEA application to the Department should provide specific information regarding the timing of the local competition. The Department encourages SEAs to allow communities sufficient planning time in which to design a high-quality program and prepare their application.
Does a State Education Agency (SEA) have discretion in selecting criteria for its local competition?Yes. SEAs have the discretion to determine criteria by which to judge applications so long as the criteria are consistent with the purpose, requirements, and priorities in the legislation. In addition, the legislation allows SEAs to require State-specific information and assurances.
Who may serve as peer reviewers for local competitions?
A State Education Agency (SEA) must, through a peer review process or other objective method, ensure that quality applications are selected for funding. The Department encourages SEAs to seek qualified individuals with diverse expertise, geographic location, gender, racial, and ethnic representation to review applications. In addition, the Department encourages SEAs to consider soliciting potential reviewers from a large array of organizations, including educational and non-educational entities. By drawing widely, States are most likely to develop a pool of highly qualified reviewers and thereby ensure that quality applicants are chosen as grantees. In soliciting reviewers for its national competitions, the Department sought representatives from groups that included, but were not limited to: teachers and principals, experts in expanded learning and after-school programs, representatives from community education, researchers and evaluators with methodological expertise, content area specialists, representatives from community service agencies and faith-based organizations, private-sector individuals involved in education, representatives from school-age child care alliances, local and civic leaders, representatives from foundations and charitable organizations, and representatives from institutions of higher education.
SEAs should also be mindful of potential conflicts of interest that may arise in selecting peer reviewers, especially among grant writers, evaluators, and technical assistance providers. A conflict of interest is generally defined as a situation in which a peer reviewer has a direct financial interest in the outcome of a competition. A conflict of interest situation could exist, for instance, if a peer reviewer (or a member of her immediate family) is named as an evaluation contractor in an application she may review.
Can a State opt to have the Department continue to administer its allocation of the funds?No. The State must administer the program. The Department will provide technical assistance regarding administration of the program but it cannot administer the program on behalf of a State.
Can two or more States combine their grant review process?Yes. However, this approach is likely to be successful only when States decide to use the same competitive processes and selection criteria. Otherwise, reviewers will have to make judgments about application quality using varying standards and criteria, which is likely to result in an unreliable process even if high-quality training is provided to reviewers. If States do decide to hold joint reviews of grant applications, funding decisions must still be made on an individual State basis.
For what activities may a grantee use 21st CCLC program funds?
Each eligible organization that receives an award may use the funds to carry out a broad array of before- and after-school activities (or activities during other times when school is not in session) that advance student achievement. In the Department’s view, local grantees are limited to providing activities within the following list:
- Remedial education activities and academic enrichment learning programs, including providing additional assistance to students to allow the students to improve their academic achievement;
- Mathematics and science education activities;
- Arts and music education activities;
- Entrepreneurial education programs;
- Tutoring services (including those provided by senior citizen volunteers) and mentoring programs;
- Programs that provide after-school activities for limited English proficient students that emphasize language skills and academic achievement;
- Recreational activities;
- Telecommunications and technology education programs;
- Expanded library service hours;
- Programs that promote parental involvement and family literacy;
- Programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended, or expelled, to allow the students to improve their academic achievement; and • Drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, and character education programs.
Can 21st CCLC program funds support services to adults?Yes. Adult family members of students participating in a community learning center may participate in educational services or activities appropriate for adults. In particular, local programs may offer services to support parental involvement and family literacy. Services may be provided to families of students to advance the students’ academic achievement. However, programs are open only to adults who are family members of participating children.
Can 21st CCLC program funds support services for pre-kindergarten children?Yes. Although “students” are designated in statute as the intended beneficiaries of the program, the Department believes that younger children who will become students in the schools being served can also participate in program activities designed to get them ready to succeed in school.
Several civil rights laws apply to recipients of Federal grants. Do these laws apply to private organizations that receive a grant under this program?Yes, these laws apply to recipients of federal financial assistance, whether they are public or private. They include Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on race, color, or national origin; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars discrimination based on gender; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which bars discrimination based on disability; and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Section 9534 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in effect provides that nothing in that Act disturbs the application of these laws. By the same token, the Act does not alter the applicability of other non-discrimination laws that are unrelated to the receipt of federal funds (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, but also contains certain exceptions).
Can 21st CCLC activities take place during the regular school day?No. The statute specifically indicates services are to be provided outside the regular school day or during periods when school is not in session, e.g., before school, after school, evenings, weekends, holidays, or summer. The program may offer services to students during normal school hours on days when school is not in session, e.g., school holidays or teacher professional development days. However, activities targeting pre-kindergarten children and adult family members may take place during regular school hours, as these times may be the most suitable for serving these populations.
Can 21st CCLC local grantees use funds from other Federal, State and local programs that have related purposes?Yes. The Department strongly encourages local programs to identify other sources of related funding and to describe, in their applications, how all of these resources will be combined or coordinated to offer a high-quality, sustainable program. Each local application must identify Federal, State, and local programs that also offer after-school services and that will be combined or coordinated with the proposed program to make the most effective use of public resources. See question B-5 for examples. However, 21st CCLC funds awarded to local grantees must be used only to supplement the level of Federal, State, local, and other non-Federal funds and not to replace funds that would have been available to conduct activities if 21st CCLC funds had not been available.
How does 21st CCLC fit within the broader context of a school’s improvement plan?A 21st CCLC program can be an important component in a school improvement plan, particularly as it offers extended learning time to help children meet State and local academic standards. Local programs must ensure that the academic services they provide are aligned with the school’s curriculum in the core subject areas.
May LEAs or other organizations charge indirect costs to their 21st CCLC grant?Yes. Indirect costs are the expenses incurred by a school district, community-based organization or other entity in administering or providing program services. A grantee must have, or must establish, an indirect cost rate agreement to charge indirect costs to a grant. A grantee that does not have a current indirect cost rate – which may be initially established by a Federal or State agency that has previously provided a grant to that organization – may request that the SEA negotiate such an agreement or refer them to the “cognizant” agency that establishes such a rate. See EDGAR at 34 C.F.R. §75.560. The State, as the grantee, is responsible for ensuring that local grantees properly expend and account for Federal funds, including direct or indirect costs. Claims for indirect costs are determined in accordance with applicable Federal cost principles. In som e instances, a local grantee may be the direct recipient of other Federal grants or contracts and will have had its indirect costs approved by the Federal Government. In such cases, the State grantee may generally rely on the determinations of the Federal Government and should contact the Federal agency that approved the costs to ensure that its determinations apply to the State’s situation. When a local grantee has not been the direct recipient of Federal funds or has not received Federal approval of its costs, the SEA is responsible for determining acceptable direct or indirect costs.
May a grantee charge pre-award costs to the 21st CCLC grant?Yes, but the grantee must receive written approval from NYSED to charge pre-award costs to the grant. If an applicant incurs costs after receiving notification of its 21st CCLC award but before the effective date of the award, these costs may be charged to the 21st CCLC grant to the extent they would have been allowable if incurred after the award date. However, prior to receiving notice of the grant, the local organization incurring financial obligations is doing so at its own risk.
Can a local grantee charge the 21st CCLC grant for costs incurred after the grant period?An organization that receives a 21st CCLC grant may use 21st CCLC funds for allowable costs only during the grant award period. For example, a grantee is free to enter into a multi-year contract with a service provider; however, 21st CCLC funds may only be used for allowable costs related to that contract occurring within the grant award period.
How does the “carryover provision” apply to 21st CCLC funds at the local level?
Under the 21st CCLC program, an SEA has some discretion regarding carryover of unobligated 21st CCLC funds. An SEA may permit its grantees to carry over unobligated 21st CCLC funds, or the SEA may collect those funds at the end of the initial grant period and redistribute them to other participating grantees. This general rule is tempered by the requirement that each grantee receive at least $50,000 annually for a minimum of three years. Thus, provided a grantee is making substantial progress in implementing its 21st CCLC program, the SEA may not redistribute 21st CCLC funds that remain unobligated by the grantee after its initial grant period if doing so would reduce the total amount of funds available to the grantee from a given fiscal year's appropriation below $50,000. On the other hand, if an SEA determines that a grantee is not making substantial progress and decides not to award a second or third year 21st CCLC grant continuation, the SEA may redistribute any unobligated funds, even if doing so would reduce the funds available to the grantee below $50,000.
The Department’s experience shows that, particularly in the start-up period of a grant, there are usually some carryover funds given that it often takes more time than initially thought to hire all staff, recruit program participants, and develop a broad range of program services.
May a local grantee use 21st CCLC program funds to pay or reimburse a proposal-writing firm for developing its grant application?According to OMB Circular A-87 (Proposal Costs), the costs of preparing proposals for potential Federal awards are allowable, so long as the Department approves the expense. However, the Department rarely approves such requests. When proposal costs are approved, they are normally treated as indirect costs and not charged directly to the grant.
Must community learning centers provide services free of charge?No. However, programs must be equally accessible to all students targeted for services, regardless of their ability to pay. Programs that charge fees may not prohibit any family from participating due to its financial situation. The priority of the program to serve poor students and families could be compromised through high program fees. Programs that opt to charge fees must offer a sliding scale of fees and scholarships for those who cannot afford the program. Income collected from fees must be used to fund program activities specified in the grant application.
What evidence is required from the States and local programs to determine whether 21st CCLC programs are research-based and effective?In its application to the US Department of Education, NYSED must describe the performance indicators and performance measures that it will use to evaluate local programs and activities. These State developed performance measures can be used by local grantees as the “established set of performance measures” described in the second bullet below. Local programs must indicate how they meet the principles of effectiveness described in the law. According to statute, programs or activities must be based on: • An assessment of objective data regarding the need for before- and after-school programs (including summer school programs) and activities in schools and communities; • An established set of performance measures aimed at ensuring high-quality academic enrichment opportunities; and • If appropriate, scientifically based research that provides evidence that the program or activity will help students meet the State and local academic achievement standards. Appendix A to this document – Resources on After-school – provides additional information that can be used by local grantees to design and implement effective, research-based afterschool programs.
What is scientifically based research?Scientifically based research, as defined in Title IX of the reauthorized ESEA, is research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs. This means research that: (1) employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment; (2) involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn; (3) relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators; (4) is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment, experiments, or other designs to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls; (5) ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings; (6) has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review.
When is scientifically based research appropriate for the 21st CCLC program?When providing services in core academic areas where scientifically based research has been conducted and is available – such as reading and mathematics –a community learning center must employ strategies based on such research. The Department, in collaboration with other agencies, will continue to identify programs and practices based on rigorous scientific research and will ensure that such information is made widely available.
What are the State evaluation requirements?States must conduct a comprehensive evaluation (directly, or through a grant or contract) of the effectiveness of programs and activities provided with 21st CCLC funds. In their applications to the Department, States are required to describe the performance indicators and performance measures they will use to evaluate local programs. States must also monitor the periodic evaluations of local programs and must disseminate the results of these evaluations to the public.
What are the evaluation requirements for local grantees?Each grantee must undergo a periodic evaluation to assess its progress toward achieving its goal of providing high-quality opportunities for academic enrichment. The evaluation must be based on the factors included in the principles of effectiveness. The results of the evaluation must be: (1) used to refine, improve, and strengthen the program and to refine the performance measures; and (2) made available to the public upon request. Local grantees, working with their SEAs, must evaluate the academic progress of children participating in the 21st CCLC program.
How does a State ensure that organizations other than LEAs will be able to provide academic enrichment and have access to student achievement data?In the local competitions, SEAs must include a priority for applications submitted jointly by (1) an LEA receiving Title I funds, and (2) CBOs or other public or private organizations that propose to serve students attending schools in need of improvement. Through such partnerships, a grantee responsible for implementing and evaluating the local program can ensure access to student achievement data. Because of the legal obligation to maintain confidentiality of student data, the Department encourages LEAs to gather the achievement data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The LEAs should also be responsible for sharing the content area standards and curriculum with its partners. Whether or not a grantee has a formal partnership with an LEA, it still must evaluate the program consistent with the statute’s principles of effectiveness.