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About Title IV-A of ESSA enrichment grants

Published November 27, 2019

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Editor’s Note: The following information is from the Title IV-A Coalition (titleiva.org), an alliance composed of dozens of national organizations working together to advocate for maximum funding of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This flexible block grant is designed to ensure that high-needs districts have access to programs that foster safe and healthy students, provide students with a well-rounded education, and increase the effective use of technology in our nation’s schools.


The bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a flexible block grant program under Title IV, Part A (Title IV-A), which is authorized at $1.6 billion through FY 2021. Title IV-A authorizes activities in three broad areas:

  1. Providing students with a well-rounded education (e.g., college and career counseling, STEM, including computer science, music and arts, civics, IB/AP/dual enrollment)
  2. Supporting safe and healthy students (e.g., comprehensive school mental and behavioral health, drug and violence prevention, training on trauma-informed practices, health and physical education)
  3. Supporting the effective use of technology (e.g., professional development, blended learning, and purchase of devices)


ESSA stipulates that each state will receive an allocation based on the Title I funding formula. Using the same Title I formula, the states will then allocate funds to school districts. Any school district that receives a formula allocation above $30,000 must conduct a needs assessment and then must expend 20 percent of its grant on safe and healthy school activities and 20 percent on activities to provide a well-rounded education. The remaining 60 percent of the allocation may be spent on all three priorities, including technology. However, there is a 15 percent cap on devices, equipment, software, and digital content.

If a district receives an allocation below $30,000, the law does not require a needs assessment or setting aside percentages for well-rounded and safe and healthy student programs. However, it must still direct the funds it receives toward activities in at least one of the three categories. The 15 percent technology purchase cap would continue to apply.


Strong evidence underscores the need for students to have access to programs that meet their comprehensive needs, including their mental and physical health and safety and providing a challenging learning environment that effectively uses technology. Evidence supports a direct correlation between physical and mental health and learning that is essential to academic success, school completion, and the development of healthy, resilient, and productive citizens. Schools are uniquely positioned to promote student engagement and help them acquire lifelong knowledge and skills through comprehensive health education, physical education, nutrition, comprehensive school mental and behavioral health services, counseling, and integration among all education and health programs.

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– Cathy Johnson, STREAM Missions facilitator, Elmore City-Pernell Elementary School, Elmore City, Oklahoma

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