Funding, Grants & Awards

ED Launches 2 New Grant Programs to Encourage Diverse Schools

The United States Department of Education has launched Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities and the 2017 Magnet Schools Assistance Program, two new initiatives designed to encourage socioeconomically diverse schools.

Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities is a competition that will award $12 million to as many as 20 districts or groups of districts to fund ideas and pre-implementation measures to increase student diversity. Districts applying for the grants may consider factors other than socioeconomic diversity, such as racial or ethnic diversity, as well.

Possible uses of grant funds suggested by ED include engaging the community on best practices for encouraging student diversity, data analysis, setting measurable diversity goals or taking initial steps toward diversity initiative implementations, such as redesigned school boundaries or admissions lotteries.

Districts that qualify for School Improvement Grants are eligible for the Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities competition, though applicants interested in inter-district efforts and rural districts will be given priority. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 13 and winners will be selected in the spring. More information is available at

The 2017 Magnet Schools Assistance Program will offer five-year $15 million 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," according to information released by ED.

Interested districts are asked to submit a notice of intent to apply by Jan. 9, though the notice is not required. Applications must be submitted by April 11. Visit for more information.

"Today, we are taking another step toward helping schools create and maintain diversity," said Education Secretary John B. King Jr., in a prepared statement. "We must support local communities in their efforts as diversity is critical for a well-rounded education. Together, our nation can choose a better future for our children — one that prepares all students to live, work and compete in our increasingly interconnected, global economy."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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