Insight Grants

US Department of Education Higher Education Grants Focus on Improving Accessibility for Minority Groups and Low-Income Individuals

By Jen Adams

The 2015 grant forecast for the US Department of Education’s (ED) Grant Programs in Higher Education reflects a focus on reducing educational disparities for several key subpopulations. The Department continues to support programs for Hispanic and African American populations and has released new opportunities that assist Asian Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders. In addition to boosting the educational progress of these minority groups, ED has announced funding for institutions serving individuals with intellectual disabilities and veteran students, and grants to support innovations that make college more affordable for low-income families. Brief descriptions of these and other recently forecasted grant programs are included below:


The Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program was released in March with a deadline of May 15, 2015. HSI provides grants to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students, aiming to help large numbers of Hispanic and other low-income students complete postsecondary degrees. Eligible applicants include: Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) that qualify as HISs by having: 1) An enrollment of needy students, as defined by the Higher Education Association; and 2) Average educational and general expenditures that are low, per full-time equivalent undergraduate student, in comparison to similar institutions. Estimated total program funding for 2015 is $52,287,473 and 87 awards of $500,000-$650,000 are expected. Learn more here:

The First in the World Program is available only to Minority-Serving Institutions or consortia and will provide grants to spur the development of innovations that make college more affordable for students and families. $20,000,000 has been slated for seven awards in 2015, but limited information is available until its official announcement, expected later this Spring.

The Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Non-Tribal Institutions Program has been offered previously by the Department of Education, but appears not to have distributed a competitive award since 2011. The program provides grants to eligible IHEs that have an undergraduate enrollment of at least 10 percent Asian American or Native American Pacific Islander students, to assist such institutions to plan, develop, undertake, and carry out activities to improve and their capacity to serve this population. Applications are due May 19, 2015 and the Department anticipates funding ten awards of $300-$400,000. Find more information at this link:

Funding will be offered this Spring to support Predominately Black Institutions. Applicants that applied for Designation as an Eligible institution for FY 2015 are eligible to apply as well as accredited IHEs that meet guidelines for enrollment of needy students and minorities as well as parameters for tuition expenses. Institutions may use Federal funds to establish or strengthen programs in the following areas: 1. Science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM); 2. Health education; 3. Internationalization or globalization; 4.Teacher preparation; or 5. Improving educational outcomes of African American males. The grant is targeted for release in early May with a June deadline. $13,000,000 is expected to fund 25 awards. Find out more here:

$5,000,000 for approximately 15 awards has been set aside for Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success. The program was previously offered in 2010, but awards do not appear to have not been made since that time. Competitive and discretionary funding is due for announcement this month with an anticipated deadline on or around June 12, 2015. This program is open to IHEs and encourages model programs to support veteran student success in postsecondary education by coordinating services to address their academic, financial, physical, and social needs. Find out more here:

The Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities will be extended to IHEs or consortia who propose to create or expand high quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities. A single round of funding for this program was offered in 2010 and archived application materials as well as additional information are available here: A competition is expected to be announced this Spring with a deadline in early May. $9,972,879.00 is available for an estimated 27 awards.

ED Funding Forecast Shows Many Opportunities on the Horizon

A review of the US Department of Education’s (ED) Forecast of Funding Opportunities shows funding priorities have shifted as the President and Congress attempt to respond to the increasing need to keep schools safe for students, teachers, and administrators alike. The first major change to the Forecast for FY 2014 shows Congress has supported several new mental health and safety grant programs for schools proposed by the President in addition to a key existing program.

Two School Climate Transformation Grant programs will be available for the first time in 2014: one for states (SEAs) and one for school districts (LEAs). The President requested at total of $50 million for the two programs. We await the RFPs to determine the final amounts available. Both programs will seek to prevent and reduce bullying and other problem behaviors through implementation of evidence-based programs according to information available at

Eve Birge, Program Manager for the LEA grant, states, “The purpose of the School Climate Transformation grant program is to help States and school districts build local capacity to train teachers and other school staff to implement multi-tiered behavioral frameworks to improve school climate.”

More information about the School Climate Transformation grants will be released this Spring when their RFPs are available. Presently, applications/RFPs for both programs are forecasted for release on or around April 11th with deadlines on or around May 21st.

Another new grant surfacing in 2014 is Project Prevent. We anticipate $25 million will be available for awards for this program in 2014, if funds allocated align with the President’s recommendation. As proposed by the President, this grant would seek to enable school districts with high levels of violence to provide social and emotional supports and mental health services for trauma or anxiety, while also promoting conflict resolution and other school-based strategies to prevent further violence from occurring. The application is expected to be available on or around April 25th, and the deadline for applying is expected to be on or around June 9th.

A new grant for states entitled Grants to SEAs for Emergency Management will also be available in 2014 and is likely to be similar to the previous LEA grant known as Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools and its predecessor Emergency Response and Crisis Management.  The President recommended up to 30 million dollars for this program. With the application opening on or around April 3rd, the grant seeks to support States in helping schools develop, implement, and improve emergency management plans. This is in response to the need of schools to strengthen their capacity to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and crisis events. The deadline for this grant is expected to be on or around May 19th.

Congress once again supported the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant for 2014, despite the President’s proposal to cut this valuable program, which exists to help school districts establish or expand school-based counseling programs and mental health supports for students.  Schools that show significant need and develop comprehensive, innovative counseling programs with significant promise for dissemination and replication are given special consideration in applying for this grant. According to the program’s website (, “Projects should: (1) use a developmental, preventive approach, (2) expand the inventory of effective counseling programs, (3) include in-service training, and (4) involve parents and community groups.”

The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant application is forecasted for release on or around March 18th with the deadline on or around May 2nd. As this program funded down the slate in 2013, competition in 2014 is expected to be especially tough. Schools hoping to apply should begin preparing NOW.

In addition, ED will partner with the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) on the newly-created DOJ Comprehensive School Safety Programs in 2014. Based on the President’s proposed design, this program is expected to, “provide funds for hiring school personnel including mental health professionals and school resource officers, purchasing school safety equipment, and other school safety activities.” ( Congress has allocated $75 Million for this program in 2014. The application is expected to be posted at when available.

Other key opportunities supporting school safety and/or students’ mental health may be available this year through DOJ, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the US Department of Homeland Security, and/or the States.

If you are interested in applying for any of the above grants or would like more information on Insight’s services, please contact us by phone at 716-474-0981, email, or fill out our online contact form.

2010 Federal Budget Update: US Department of Education Grants

Pertinent to the topic areas of physical education, physical activity, health and safety programs for youth, here are the budget amounts the President has requested for SOME key grant programs within the US Department of Education for 2010.

· Safe and Drug-Free School sand Communities State Grants (Title IV-A): $0 (compared to $294,759,000 in 2009)
· Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse Among Secondary Students: $32,712,000
· Mentoring Program: $0 (compared to $47,254,000 in 2009)
· Character Education: $0 (compared to $11,912,000 in 2009)
· Elementary and Secondary School Counseling: $52,000,000
· Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP): $78,000,000
· 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC): $1,131,166,000
· Grants for the Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems: $6,900,000 (compared to $5,900,000 in 2009)
· Readiness and Emergency Response for Schools (REMS): $40,000,000
· Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS): $77,800,000

The President has also proposed a new $100,000,000 grant to support to approaches to changing school culture that will ultimately improve character and reduce risk behaviors, and $300,000,000 for a new program known as the Early Learning Challenge Fund. While it’s still unclear what exactly is envisioned for these programs, the latter program is intended to fund competitive grants to states for social and learning services for children five years old and under. Programs will be reviewed for quality based on a variety of elements, including health and safety.

The federal fiscal year runs October 1-September 30. The process begins with the President proposing his budget plan for the coming fiscal year. The House of Representatives and Senate each review it and propose their own budget plans—separately. When, as individual houses, they’ve agreed on a plan, they then work to reconcile the two plans into one that they both can agree on. It must be passed into law by Congress and then signed by the President. This process typically takes many months and many compromises.

Right now, we’re in the Congressional review part of the process. The President has proposed a budget, but no Congressional action has been taken on the 2010 Education budget yet. At this point in the process, it we do not yet know which programs will materialize and at what amount. Congress may reject or change part or all of the proposed budget, though the President’s suggestions do seem to be more in line with Congressional efforts in recent years than the previous administration’s education proposals. It will be interesting to see what Congress’s proposals look like in the coming months and what is ultimately passed.

What are your thoughts on the President’s 2010 Education budget?

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