Considerations for Dual-Eligible LEAs

A dual-eligible local educational agency (LEA) in the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) is an LEA that meets the eligibility requirements for both REAP grants in a given fiscal year. Eligibility information for each grant is available on the grant’s eligibility page on the REAP website: Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Eligibility and Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) Eligibility. Dual-eligible LEAs may receive an award under only one REAP program (i.e., either SRSA or RLIS) each fiscal year.

Venn diagram showing characteristics of SRSA and RLIS Eligibility. See textual representation below.

SRSA Eligible

  • To be considered small, an LEA must have a total average daily attendance (ADA) of fewer than 600 students or exclusively serve schools that are located in counties with a population density of fewer than 10 persons per square mile.
  • To be considered rural, all schools within the LEA must have a school locale code of 41, 42, or 43 (assigned by the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)) or be located in an area of the State defined as rural by a governmental agency of the State.

Overlapping: Dual-Eligible LEA

RLIS Eligible

  • To be considered low-income, 20 percent or more of the children ages five to 17 served by the LEA must be from families with incomes below the poverty line, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE).
  • To be considered rural, all schools comprising the LEA must have a school locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43 (assigned by NCES), or be located in an area of the State defined as rural by a governmental agency of the State.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a dual-eligible LEA inform the Department which program it will participate in?

Answer: Between January and March each year, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) publishes the Master Eligibility Spreadsheet (MES). An LEA can access the MES on either the SRSA or RLIS Eligibility page to view its eligibility status as well as estimated grant award amounts. Additionally, the Department invites each SRSA-eligible LEA by email to apply for the SRSA program and notifies the LEA through that email whether the LEA is dual-eligible. If dual-eligible, the email provides the estimate of the LEA’s award under each program.

How should a dual-eligible LEA determine which program will provide a larger award?

Answer: The Department publishes estimated award allocations in the MES for eligible LEAs. These award allocations are estimates, and the final size of an LEA’s award is dependent upon several factors that can change from year to year. A dual-eligible LEA can use estimated allocations to help determine if it would like to apply for SRSA funds or receive RLIS funds.

What are typical factors that help LEAs decide which program is a best fit for them?

Answer: An LEA should research the requirements and provisions of both the SRSA and the RLIS programs to determine which program best meets its needs. While the Department cannot tell an LEA which program to choose, we have put together a list of factors an LEA should consider when making its decision. Some of these considerations are listed below for your reference.

Common Consideration

RLIS

SRSA

Who administers the LEA’s grant award?

SEAs disburse RLIS funds to LEAs.

The Department disburses SRSA funds to LEAs.

Who provides the LEA with technical assistance?

SEAs primarily provide technical assistance to RLIS grantees, but the Department also makes assistance available.

The Department provides technical assistance to SRSA grantees, at times supported by SEAs.

How does an LEA apply for a grant?

LEAs apply for RLIS funds according to their SEA’s application procedures.

LEAs apply for SRSA funds according to the Department’s application procedures.

Are grant funds awarded based on a competition or formula?

Section 5221(b)(3) of the ESEA authorizes three options an SEA may use to award RLIS.

Funds: (1) a competition, (2) an ADA-based statutory formula, and (3) an alternative formula.  Details are provided in the REAP Informational Document.

ED awards SRSA funds according to a funding formula.

If an LEA receives other Federal funds how will that impact their REAP award amount?

LEA grant awards are based on the SEA’s procedures for awarding RLIS funds. An LEA may want to consult with its SEA to learn how its RLIS award may be impacted by other federal funds.

LEA grant awards are reduced by the amount of Title II-A and Title IV-A funds the LEA received in the preceding fiscal year.

How much might an LEA expect to receive?  

Federal statute does not set a limit on the amount of funds an LEA may receive each fiscal year. Final award amounts are determined by the SEA.

 

The maximum amount of funds an LEA may receive each fiscal year, by statute, is $60,000.

 

For a dual-eligible LEA, if the SRSA statutory funding formula results in a $0 award amount for the LEA, the Department automatically includes the LEA in the RLIS cohort. 

How can LEAs use their REAP awards?

Grant funds may be used to support any of the following:

1.      Title I, Part A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs) activities.

2.      Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction) activities.

3.      Title III (Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students) activities.

4.      Title IV, Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants) activities; and

5.      Parental involvement activities.

Grant funds may be used to support activities authorized under any of the following ESEA programs:

1.      Title I, Part A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Education Agencies).

2.      Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction) activities.

3.      Title III (Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students) activities.

4.      Title IV, Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants) activities; and

5.      Title IV, Part B (21st Century Community Learning Centers)

Can dual-eligible LEAs exercise the Alternative Fund Use Authority (AFUA)?

Answer: An LEA eligible for the SRSA program (including a dual-eligible LEA that elects to receive funds through RLIS) may exercise a key flexibility provision in the ESEA. Section 5211(a) of the ESEA, known as AFUA, gives an eligible LEA broad authority to spend funds the LEA receives under selected ESEA programs on activities authorized under several additional ESEA programs. The authority is specifically designed to give small, rural LEAs greater latitude to spend their Federal funds in ways that best address an LEA’s particular needs. Any LEA that is eligible for SRSA funds may take advantage of the flexibilities provided by AFUA. Given that dual-eligible LEAs are SRSA-eligible they qualify for AFUA, even if they choose to receive RLIS funds in a given year. For details regarding AFUA, see the REAP Informational Document