U.S. Department of Education Awards Grants to Help Public Charter Schools Obtain Facilities

The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) announced two grants totaling $16 million to help public charter schools obtain facilities under the Credit Enhancement for Charter Schools Facilities (Credit Enhancement) Program.

The Department awarded an $8 million grant to the National Charter School Lending Collaborative (a consortium led by the Low Income Investment Fund, and including Capital Impact Partners , IFF and The Reinvestment Fund) to support new high-quality educational opportunities for students from low-income families in under-performing school districts nationally. The Community Loan Fund of New Jersey is also receiving an $8 million grant, to diversify their provision of loan and lease guarantees for the development, expansion, and improvement of charter school facilities, with an emphasis on disadvantaged districts in New Jersey. To date, the Department’s Credit Enhancement program has awarded 38 grants totaling $297 million, which has been leveraged to secure nearly $4 billion in total financing for 566 charter school facilities.

The Credit Enhancement program enables public charter schools to obtain school facilities by assisting them in securing private-sector and other non-Federal capital, and targets its funds to schools focused on high-needs students. Through innovative credit enhancement mechanisms, grantees leverage a relatively small amount of Federal funds to access much greater funding for charter school facilities.

“Our Federal Credit Enhancement grant funding has, without question, been a critical driver in our ability to leverage private sector investment in communities most in need of high quality public education options,” said Michelle Liberati, Executive Vice President of the Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), a Credit Enhancement grantee. “Prior to receiving our first grant, CSDC had a difficult time identifying conventional sources of financing for our school projects. Fast forward a decade, CSDC has received four grant awards which directly enabled us to establish partnerships with over three dozen banks, community development financial institutions and philanthropies to develop and finance facilities that serve over 50,000 students nationally.”

Grant funds help public charter schools construct and renovate school facilities, guarantee and insure leases for property, and identify potential lending sources for charter school facilities. To learn more about this program, please visit the Credit Enhancement web page.