Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) provides additional funding for rural LEAs through two formula grant programs:
- Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA)
- Rural Low Income Schools (RLIS)
Contact Information for SRSA and RLIS:
US Department of Education
Rural Education Achievement Program Officer, Justin Tabor
Phone: (202) 987-1597
North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Assistant Superintendent, Laurie Matzke
Phone: (701) 328-2284
Program Manager, Lisa Johnson
Phone: (701) 328-2824
The Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) grant application process opened on February 8, 2023. Eligible districts with a positive allocation should have received an email with a unique link to apply. The email was delivered to the primary contact listed on the Master Eligibility Spreadsheet (MES). The deadline to apply is April 14, 2023. Dual-eligible districts, eligible for both the SRSA and Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) grants, may only apply for one.
If you feel your district should have received an SRSA application link but did not, please do the following:
- Locate your LEA on the FY 2023 Master Eligibility Spreadsheet to confirm it is SRSA-eligible and has an estimated award amount of more than $0
- Locate the name of the primary contact listed for your LEA.
- Have the primary contact check their spam/junk folder for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org and confirm that your LEA’s firewall is not preventing this email from being delivered.
- If you are not the primary contact but need to access the application, you may ask the primary contact to forward you the invitation email containing your LEA’s link.
- If the primary contact cannot be reached or cannot access the invitation email, please let the REAP team know, and they will follow up with you soon to provide your LEA’s application link.
The RLIS grant application process is administered by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI). This process will begin after the SRSA grant awards have been finalized. The RLIS application will be administered through the WebGrants program in August or September 2023.
All LEAs eligible for these grants must apply annually.
To be eligible to participate in the SRSA grant program, an LEA must –
- have a total average daily attendance (ADA) of fewer than 600 students, or be located in a county that has a population density of fewer than 10 persons per square mile; and
- be comprised only of schools that have been assigned a school locale code of 41, 42, or 43 by the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
To be eligible to participate in the RLIS grant program, an LEA must meet the follow criteria –
- 20% or more of the children ages 5 to 17 served by the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line; and
- all schools that comprise the LEA have been assigned a school locale code of 32,33, 41, 42, or 43 by NCES, or are located in an area of the State defined as rural by a governmental agency of the State.
SRSA Grant Period
Beginning with 2019-2022 funds, SRSA awards are available for obligation for 27 months. The SRSA funding period for the current school year lasts 27 months and starts on July 1. The fund liquidation deadline is 31 months after the start of the funding period.
SRSA Grant Performance Periods
|Grant Cycle:||Performance Period Start Date:||*Performance Period End Date:||Deadline for Liquidation from G5:|
|2021-2022||July 1, 2021||September 30, 2023||January 30, 2024|
|2022-2023||July 1, 2022||September 30, 2024||January 30, 2025|
|2023-2024||July 1, 2023||September 30, 2025||January 30, 2026|
RLIS Grant Period
The RLIS funding period (federal funding period) starts on July 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year. (For example, July 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022.) Under the “Tydings Amendment”, Section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 1225 (b), any funds that are not obligated at the end of the federal funding period shall remain available for obligation for an additional period of 12 months.
RLIS Grant Performance Periods
|Grant Cycle:||Performance Period Start Date:||*Performance Period End Date:||Deadline for Liquidation from WebGrants:|
|2021-2022||July 1, 2021||September 30, 2023||November 29, 2023|
|2022-2023||July 1, 2022||September 30, 2024||November 29, 2024|
|2023-2024||July 1, 2023||September 30, 2025||November 29, 2025|
*Funds must be obligated by the performance period end date.
Obligate: binding commitment to spend (e.g., makes a binding written commitment).
Liquidate: fully draw down funds from G5 (SRSA) or WebGrants (RLIS).
Source: United States Department of Education’s Office of Elementary & Secondary Education website.
- GEPA Requirement
- A GEPA statement should consist of a specific explanation of:
- Your school district’s proposed use(s) of federal grant funds; and
- How your school district will use these funds in a way that addresses barriers to access and participation in programs based on any federally protected categories, such as race, gender, national origin, socioeconomic status, disability, or age.
The USED has a variety of sample GEPA statements for your reference. Refer to the bottom of the page for thirteen GEPA examples specific to how districts are using their SRSA funding.
- A GEPA statement should consist of a specific explanation of:
- To Obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), visit SAM.gov
- To Find an NCES Number
Q: What is the difference between the SRSA and RLIS Programs?
A: Both programs are designed to supplement funding to help rural districts increase student academic achievement.
- The SRSA program provides funds to very small, rural districts and goes directly to districts from the United States Department of Education (USED).
- The RLIS program targets rural districts that serve large numbers of low-income students and is granted out by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI).
Q: What are the requirements for a district to be SRSA eligible?
A: A district must meet the following criteria:
- A total average daily attendance (ADA) of fewer than 600 students or serve only schools that are located in counties with a population density of fewer than 10 persons per square mile; and
- Must serve only schools having a school locale code of 41, 42, or 43.
Q: What are the requirements for a district to be RLIS eligible?
A: A district must meet the following criteria:
- 20% or more of the children ages 5 to 17 served are from families with incomes below the poverty line; and
- Must serve only schools having a school locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43.
Q: What are the requirements for a district to be DUAL eligible?
A: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA), includes a “Choice of Participation” provision, under which a school district that meets the eligibility criteria for both the SRSA program and the RLIS program (referred to as “dual eligible”) may choose to participate in either SRSA or RLIS. Section 5225(b) requires an LEA with dual eligibility to notify the Department of its preference to participate in either SRSA or RLIS. An LEA with dual eligibility will notify the Department of its choice based on whether or not it submits an SRSA application.
- If the dual eligible LEA applies for SRSA in accordance with the application submission procedures it will receive a SRSA award.
- If the dual eligible LEA chooses not to submit an SRSA application or its application is not submitted in accordance with the application submission procedures, it will be included automatically in the list of RLIS-eligible LEAs the Department provides to SEAs.
The final list of RLIS eligible LEAs will be used to determine SEA RLIS allocation amounts. SEAs have the option to award RLIS grants to eligible LEAs on a competitive basis or according to a formula.
Q: If we are dual eligible, how do we determine which program we should apply for?
A: An LEA should research the requirements and provisions of both the SRSA and the RLIS programs to determine which program best meets its needs. While the USED cannot tell an LEA which program to choose, we have put together a list of factors an LEA should consider when making its decision. This information is available on the eligibility page of the SRSA website.
Q: What does it mean when a district has Hold Harmless status?
A: Starting in FY 2021, in accordance with a “hold harmless” provision in section 316(a) of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act), when making RLIS awards in FYs 2021 through 2027, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) must also consider as eligible for an RLIS grant an LEA that does not meet the eligibility requirements in ESEA section 5221(b)(1) but (1) received an RLIS grant in FY 2019 on the basis of alternative poverty data submitted by the State, (2) had a service area in which less than 20 percent of children ages 5 through 17 were from families with incomes below the poverty line, as determined by SAIPE data in FY 2019, and (3) meets the rural eligibility criteria described in section 5221(b) of the ESEA for the fiscal year for which the current eligibility determination is being made.
Q: If my district is eligible and applies for these funds, will we automatically receive a grant?
A: Each LEA that meets the SRSA eligibility criteria and submits an application in accordance with the application submission procedures will most likely receive an SRSA award. Nevertheless, given that the statutory formula sometimes results in an award of $0, the Department cannot guarantee that each LEA that applies will receive an SRSA award.
Q: Is there a difference in how districts apply for these funds?
A: Yes, there is a difference in how these funds are applied for:
- The SRSA program application is submitted electronically to the USED, which awards these grants directly to eligible districts. SRSA eligible LEAs with a positive estimated allocation will receive an email with a uniquely identifiable application link in February. Contact the REAP team with questions.
- The RLIS program application is accessed in the NDDPI’s WebGrants system. The USED makes allocations to the NDDPI which sub-grants to eligible districts. The grant is non-competitive, and eligibility is determined by statute.
Q: Do districts need to apply every year for these funds?
A: Yes, eligible districts need to submit an application each fiscal year to receive either of these grant funds.
Q: When do districts need to apply?
A: The SRSA application opens between mid-January and late March. The grants are awarded in July. The RLIS application period will be determined in July and information will be provided to eligible districts.
Q: Are there any additional requirements?
A: The SRSA application requires districts to have a registered Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Districts can register for a UEI at SAM.gov or by calling (866) 606-8220.
Q: Where do districts apply?
A: The SRSA application website is Grants.gov. The RLIS application process is in WebGrants. Districts will be notified by the Division of Student Support & Innovation when the application process is opened.
Q: How do districts request grant funds?
A: Districts can access their SRSA grant funds through the USED's G5 website or by calling (888) 336-8930. RLIS funds can be accessed by submitting a claim in the WebGrants system.