Guide to Using Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) and Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) Funds

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) authorizes two Rural Education Achievement Programs: SRSA and RLIS. School districts may use SRSA funds to pay for activities that are allowable under Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A, Title III, Title IV, Part A, and Title IV, Part B of the ESEA. RLIS funds may be used for any allowable activities under Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A, Title III, and Title IV, Part A, as well as parental involvement activities.  Both SRSA and RLIS funds must be used to supplement, and not supplant, any other Federal, State, or local education funds.  Provided below is a list of examples of allowable activities for each associated program. The list is not intended to be exhaustive. If your school district has additional questions related to cost allowability, please contact the Department directly by emailing

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

Both SRSA and RLIS funds can support.

School Wide Programs (ESEA Section 1114) (Based on the needs assessment)

  • High-quality preschool or full-day kindergarten and services to facilitate the transition from early learning to elementary education programs.
  • Recruitment and retention of effective teachers, particularly in high-need subjects.
  • Instructional coaches to provide high-quality, school-based professional development.
  • Increased learning time.
  • Evidence-based strategies to accelerate the acquisition of content knowledge for English learners.
  • Activities designed to increase access and prepare students for success in high-quality advanced coursework to earn postsecondary credit while in high school (e.g. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, early college high schools, and dual or concurrent enrollment programs).
  • Career and technical education programs to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce.
  • Counseling, school-based mental health programs, mentoring services, and other strategies to improve students’ nonacademic skills.
  • School climate interventions (e.g. anti-bullying strategies and positive behavior interventions and supports).
  • Equipment, materials, and training needed to compile and analyze student achievement data to monitor progress, alert the school to struggling students, and drive decision making.
  • Response-to-intervention strategies intended to allow for early identification of students with learning or behavioral needs and to provide a tiered response based on those needs.
  • Activities that have been shown to be effective at increasing family and community engagement in the school, including family literacy programs.
  • Devices and software for students to access digital learning materials and collaborate with peers, and related training for educators (including accessible devices and software needed by students with disabilities).
  • Two-generation approaches that consider the needs of both vulnerable children and parents, together, in the design and delivery of services and programs to support improved economic, educational, health, safety, and other outcomes that address the issues of intergenerational poverty.

Targeted Assistance Schools (ESEA Section 1115(b))

  • Expanded learning time for students selected for Title I services (Title I students) including before and after school programs and summer programs and opportunities in order to improve the academic achievement of Title I students.
  • As a means of improving the academic achievement of Title I students, a schoolwide tiered model to prevent and address behavior problems, and early intervening services, coordinated with similar activities and services carried out under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
  • Implementing strategies to increase the involvement of parents of Title I students in accordance with ESEA Section 1116.
  • Coordinating with and supporting the regular educational program, which may include services to assist at-risk preschool children in the transition from early childhood education to elementary education.
Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction)

Both SRSA and RLIS funds can support.

Local Uses of Funds (ESEA Section 2103)

  • Developing or improving evaluation and support systems for teachers, principals, and other school leaders.
  • Implementing initiatives to assist in recruiting, hiring, and retaining effective teachers, particularly in low-income schools (e.g. early hiring, differential and incentive pay, leadership opportunities).
  • Trainings for teachers, principals and other school leaders on how to accurately differentiate teacher performance and constructively utilize evaluation results.
  • Auditing the quality of evaluation and support systems.
  • Initiatives for recruiting qualified individuals from other fields to become teachers, principals, or other school leaders.
  • Reducing class size to a level that improves student achievement
  • High quality professional development to train teachers, principals, and other school leaders about topics such as technology in the classroom, student data privacy, parent and family engagement, academic readiness skills, school policy decision-making, and experiential learning through observation.
  • Programs to support teaching children with disabilities and English learners.
  • Programs to increase the knowledge base on early childhood education (e.g. joint professional learning and planning for educators in preschool programs on how to facilitate the transition to elementary school).
  • Providing trainings, technical assistance, and capacity building to teachers, principals, and other school leaders on assessment systems.
  • In-service training for school personnel (e.g. trainings on trauma-informed practices, mental health services, chronic absenteeism).
  • Providing trainings on how to identify students who are gifted and talented, including non-formal identification (e.g. early entrance to kindergarten, enrichment and acceleration activities, dual or concurrent enrollment programs).
  • Supporting instructional services provided by school library programs.
  • Trainings for all school personnel regarding how to prevent and recognize child sexual abuse.
  • Promoting high quality instruction in science, technology, and mathematics subjects, including computer science.
  • Developing feedback mechanisms to improve working conditions in schools.
  • Professional development for school leaders to integrate academic content, career and technical education, and work-based learning in order to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce
Title III

(Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students)

Both SRSA and RLIS funds can support.

Local Uses of Funds (ESEA Section 3115)

  • Increasing the English language proficiency of English learners by supplementing effective language instruction educational programs that meet the needs of English learners and demonstrate success in increasing English language proficiency and student academic achievement. Providing supplemental professional development to classroom teachers (including teachers in classroom settings that are not the settings of language instruction educational programs) principals, and other school leaders, administrators, and other school- or community-based organizational personnel that is designed to improve the instruction and assessment of English learners; designed to enhance the ability of such teachers, principals, and other school leaders to understand and implement curricula, assessment practices and measures, and instructional strategies for English learners; effective in increasing children’s English language proficiency or substantially increasing the subject matter knowledge, teaching knowledge, and teaching skills of such teachers; and of sufficient intensity and duration (which shall not include activities such as 1-day or short-term workshops and conferences) to have a positive and lasting impact on the teachers’ performance in the classroom, except that this subparagraph shall not apply to an activity that is one component of a long-term, comprehensive professional development plan established by a teacher and the teacher’s supervisor based on an assessment of the needs of the teacher, the supervisor, the students of the teacher, and any local educational agency employing the teacher, as appropriate.
  • Providing and implementing other effective activities and strategies that enhance or supplement language instruction educational programs for English learners, which shall include parent, family, and community and engagement activities and may include strategies that serve to coordinate and align related programs.
  • Providing to English learners tutorials and academic or career and technical education and intensified instruction, which may include materials in a language that the student can understand, interpreters, and translators.
  • Providing community participation programs, family literacy services, and parent and family outreach and training activities to English learners and their families to improve the English language skills of English learners and to assist parents and families in helping their children to improve their academic achievement and becoming active participants in the education of their children.
  • Offering early college high school or dual or concurrent enrollment programs or courses designed to help English learners achieve success in postsecondary education.
  • Providing enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youth, which may include family, literacy, parent and family outreach, and training activities designed to assist parents and families to become active participants in the education of their children and other instructional services that are designed to assist immigrant children and youth to achieve in elementary and secondary schools in the United States such as programs of introduction to the educational system and civics education.
Title IV, Part A

(Student Support and Academic Enrichment)

Both SRSA and RLIS funds can support.

Well-Rounded Educational Opportunities (ESEA Section 4107) Programs and activities that support access to a well-rounded education, which may include, among other things:

  • Supporting college and career counseling, including raising awareness on financial literacy and Federal financial aid.
  • Improving access to arts and music education.
  • Improving instruction and student engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), including computer science, and increasing access to these subjects for underrepresented groups.
  • Promoting access to accelerated learning opportunities including Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs (e.g. reimbursement of exam fees).
  • Strengthening instruction in American history, civics, economics, geography, government education, foreign language, environmental education, and interdisciplinary courses.
  • Supporting student engagement with community service activities.

Safe and Healthy Students (ESEA Section 4108) Programs and activities that foster safe, healthy, supportive and drug-free environments, which may include, among other things:

  • Drug and violence prevention activities.
  • School-based mental health services and partnerships programs with outside health care entities.
  • Programs or activities that promote healthy, active, and safe lifestyles.
  • Training for specialized instructional personnel on trauma-informed practices, bullying and harassment prevention, and suicide prevention.
  • Child sexual abuse awareness and prevention programs.
  • Promoting supportive school climates to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline (i.e. reduce absenteeism and dropout, promote school re-entry programs).
  • Site resource coordinator to connect school or district with the surrounding community.

Effective Use of Technology (ESEA Section 4109) Programs and activities that improve the use of technology to improve academic achievement and digital literacy of all students, which may include, among other things:

  • Building technological capacity and infrastructure in schools.
  • Delivery of rigorous academic courses using technology, including digital learning technologies and assistive technology.
  • Carrying out blended learning projects.
  • Supporting high-quality professional development for educators, school leaders, and administrators on the use of technology and in areas of STEM.
  • Providing students in rural, remote, and underserved areas with digital resources.
Title IV, Part B

(21st-Century Community Learning Centers)

Only SRSA funds can support.

Local Activities (ESEA Section 4205) Academic enrichment activities and a broad array of other activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session, including:

  • Academic enrichment learning programs, mentoring programs and remedial education activities, and tutoring services that are aligned with the challenging academic standards and any local academic standards and local curricula that are designed to improve student academic achievement.
  • Literacy education programs, including financial literacy programs and environmental literacy programs.
  • Programs that provide after-school activities for students who are English learners that emphasize language skills and academic achievement.
  • Expanded library service hours.
  • Parenting skills programs that promote parental involvement and family literacy.
  • Programs that partner with in-demand fields of the local workforce or build career competencies and career readiness and ensure that local workforce and career readiness skills are aligned with the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Parental Involvement Activities Only RLIS funds can support. Parent and Family Engagement

  • 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).
  • Enable parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions (e.g. provide childcare).
  • Establish formal parental advisory council.