Rural and Low-Income School Program

Rural, Insular, and Native Achievement Programs



The purpose of the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) program is to provide rural districts with financial assistance for initiatives aimed at improving student achievement. The grant is non-competitive, and eligibility is determined by statute. Awards are issued annually to State education agencies (SEAs), which make subgrants to local education agencies (LEAs) that meet the applicable requirements. Awards are made to all SEAs that apply and meet the applicable requirements.

Program Description

Under the RLIS program, grants are made to SEAs with eligible school districts. SEAs subgrant RLIS funds to eligible school districts to pay for activities authorized under Titles I-IV of the ESEA, as well as parental involvement activities. If a State elects to not participate in the RLIS program, eligible LEAs from that State are considered specially qualified agencies (SQAs) and can apply directly to the Department for RLIS awards.  In order to be eligible school districts must have at least 20 percent of the children they serve come from families with incomes below the poverty line and be located in a rural area. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers for the RLIS and SQA programs are 84.358B and 84.358C.

Uses of Funds

LEAs that receive RLIS grants may use the funds to carry out the following types of activities:

Example: A school district develops an entrepreneurial education program to supplement its civics curriculum.
Example: A school district pays the stipend for a prospective teacher to work alongside an effective teacher, who is the teacher of record, for a full academic year.
Example: A school district offers an afterschool enrichment program for English learners.
Example: A school district purchases a bully prevention program for all schools.
  • Professional development for school personnel regarding parent and family engagement strategies.
  • Providing materials to help parents improve their child’s academic achievement (e.g. trainings on school online portals).
  • Enabling parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions (e.g. provide childcare).
  • Establishing formal parental advisory council.