Applicant Info and Eligibility

The Secretary awards grants to State educational agencies (SEAs) on a competitive basis to enable them to conduct charter school programs (CSPs) in their States. SEAs in turn use their CSP funds to make subgrants to eligible applicants in their State. These subgrants are used for planning, program design, and initial implementation of a charter school, and to support the dissemination of information about charter schools, including successful practices.


SEAs in 43 states with a state statute specifically authorizing the establishment of charter schools and the District of Columbia may apply.

Eligible applicant means a developer that has (a) applied to an authorized public chartering authority to operate a charter school; and (b) provided adequate and timely notice to that authority under section 5203(d)(3) of the ESEA. (20 U.S.C. 7221i(3)).

Use of Funds for (1) Post-Award Planning and Design of the Educational Program, and (2) Initial Implementation of the Charter School. A subgrant under this program may use the subgrant funds only for—

  1. Post-award planning and design of the educational program; and
  2. Initial implementation of the charter school.

Use of Funds for Dissemination Activities. A State may reserve up to 10 percent of its grant to award dissemination subgrants to high-quality charter schools with demonstrated histories of success.  The funds enable them to disseminate information and share lessons learned and best practices about how to create and sustain high-quality public schools.

A charter school may apply for dissemination funds whether or not it has applied for or received funds for planning and implementation.

To qualify for dissemination funds, a charter school must have been operating for at least three consecutive years and must have demonstrated overall success, including:

  • Substantial progress in improving student achievement;
  • High levels of parent satisfaction; and
  • The management and leadership required to overcome start-up problems and establish a thriving and financially viable charter school.

Non-SEA eligible applicants located in States where the SEA elects not to participate or does not have its application approved may apply directly to the Secretary for a grant in Non-State Educational Agencies (Non-SEA) competition.  This is held after the SEA competition each year (CFDA Nos. 84.282B and 84.282C). To find out if you are eligible for the Non-SEA competition, click here.

Previous Competitions

To learn more about the previous competitions, please visit the below links.