Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP)


School Choice and Improvement Programs

Discretionary/Competitive Grants

What’s New

The  FY 2020 MSAP Competition for new awards is now closed. Eligible applications submitted by the deadline of June 30, 2020 are still under Department review and consideration for funding, pending availability of FY 2021 funding.

About MSAP

The Magnet Schools Assistance program provides grants to eligible local educational agencies to establish and operate magnet schools that are operated under a court-ordered or federally approved voluntary desegregation plan. These grants assist in the desegregation of public schools by supporting the elimination, reduction, and prevention of minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools with substantial numbers of minority group students.  In order to meet the statutory purposes of the program, projects also must support the development and implementation of magnet schools that assist in the achievement of systemic reforms and provide all students with the opportunity to meet challenging academic content and student academic achievement standards.

Projects support the development and design of innovative education methods and practices that promote diversity and increase choices in public education programs. The program supports capacity development–the ability of a school to help all its students meet more challenging standards–through professional development and other activities that will enable the continued operation of the magnet schools at a high performance level after funding ends. Finally, the program supports the implementation of courses of instruction in magnet schools that strengthen students’ knowledge of academic subjects and their grasp of tangible and marketable vocational skills.

The statute defines a magnet school as a public elementary school, public secondary school, public elementary education center, or public secondary education center that offers a special curriculum capable of attracting substantial numbers of students of different racial backgrounds.

MSAP Regulations in 34 CFR 280

Types of Projects 

Magnet schools offer a wide range of distinctive education programs. Some emphasize academic subjects such as math, science, technology, language immersion, visual and performing arts, or humanities. Others use specific instructional approaches, such as Montessori methods, or approaches found in international baccalaureate programs or early college programs. For more examples, see our past Awards.

Contact Information

  • Gillian Cohen-Boyer
    Magnet Schools Assistance Program
    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Ave SW
    Washington D.C. 20202

Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP)

Last Modified: 11/13/2020