ED Releases Guidance on $1b in Title IV-A Funding from BSCA

September 15, 2022

Today, the U.S. Department of Education released a Dear Colleague letter to States outlining the parameters for the $1 billion in ESEA Title IV-A funding that was appropriated through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this summer. This funding is formula to states, but competitive to districts. The state allocation table is available here. To try and avoid confusion, ED is referring to the funding as the “Stronger Connections” grant program as it is a separate funding stream from ESSA Title IV-A.

States must run a competition to distribute 95% of the funding to high-needs LEAs. States can define high-needs LEAs as they see fit although the guidance offers suggestions for these definitions. States will also have to share their definition with ED, but ED has no ability to ask them to modify it.

The Department is encouraging States to prioritize funds for LEA applicants that demonstrate a strong commitment to the following: 

  1. Implementing comprehensive, evidence-based strategies that meet each student’s social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being needs; create positive, inclusive, and supportive school environments; and increase access to place-based interventions and services.

  2. Engaging students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations in the selection and implementation of strategies and interventions to create safe, inclusive and supportive learning environments.

  3. Designing and implementing policies and practices that advance equity and are responsive to underserved students, protect student rights, and demonstrate respect for student dignity and potential.

It is likely many states will begin the competition in the spring/winter of 2023. LEAs that receive this funding will have until September 2026 to spend the funding.