Grant Opportunities

Application Period Now Open for $135M in ED Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grants

The U.S. Department of Education is now accepting applications for $135M in new grants this year to establish or revise magnet school programs that assist local education agencies in the desegregation of schools, part of the Magnet Schools Assistance Program.

Only LEAs or consortia of LEAs that are implementing court-ordered or federally approved voluntary desegregation plans that include magnet schools are eligible to apply. Private schools do not participate in the MSAP program, according to the ED website.

Applicants are encouraged to email [email protected] by March 24, 2022, to notify the department of intent to apply.

Deadline to submit applications is April 25, 2022. Applications will be reviewed and grant winners selected in July.

Approximately 30 to 40 applicants will be chosen to receive grants ranging from $1M to $3.5M per fiscal year over a five-year period, according to the ED grants website. If additional funding is available for fiscal year 2023, unfunded applicants may be approved at that time, the department said.

The MSAP program does not require cost sharing or matching.

MSAP 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,” according to the MSAP page on the ED website. “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.”

“In this competition, the department seeks to focus applicants on effectively addressing the legislative purpose of the MSAP statute — assisting LEAs in the desegregation of schools through the use of magnet schools — by requiring applicants to demonstrate how they intend to align the elements of their proposed MSAP projects with their required or voluntary desegregation plans, which must be submitted as a component of their applications,” the website states.

Projects must support the development and design of innovative education methods and practices that promote diversity and increase choices in public education programs, in order to win funding under the MSAP program. Projects also must implement courses of instruction in magnet schools that strengthen students’ knowledge of academic subjects and their grasp of tangible and marketable vocational skills.

Previously funded MSAP schools offer a wide range of distinctive education programs based on their community’s interests, ED said. 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.

Competitive Preference & Invitational Priorities

The grant notice on the Federal Register website includes the following Competitive Preference Priorities:

  1. The applicant demonstrates a need for assistance.
  2. The applicant proposes to (1) carry out a new, evidence-based magnet school program; (2) significantly revise an existing magnet school program, using evidence-based methods and practices, as available; or (3) replicate an existing magnet school program that has a demonstrated record of success in increasing student academic achievement and reducing isolation of minority groups.
  3. The applicant proposes to select students to attend magnet schools by methods such as lottery, rather than through academic examination.
  4. The applicant proposes to increase racial integration by taking into account socioeconomic diversity in designing and implementing magnet school programs.
  5. The applicant must demonstrate that grant funds will be used to enable the LEA, or consortium of such agencies, or other organizations partnered with such agency or consortium, to establish, expand, or strengthen inter-district and regional magnet programs.
  6. The applicant proposes a project that is designed to increase the proportion of well-prepared, diverse, and effective educators serving students, with a focus on underserved students, through building or expanding high-poverty school districts' capacity to hire, support, and retain an effective and diverse educator workforce.

The grant notice lists the following Invitational Priorities:

  • Projects that propose to implement “whole-school magnet” schools in which all students enrolled in the school participate in the magnet school program, rather than schools that implement magnet programs within schools which are offered to less than the entire school population.
  • Projects that propose to coordinate efforts with relevant governmental agencies, such as housing or transportation authorities, or community organizations to promote student diversity and achievement in magnet schools. This may include projects coordinated with public housing redevelopment efforts, such as those funded through the HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative or the HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration program.

Webinars with guidance on completing a successful application are now available for viewing on the MSAP page on ED’s website.

Download the detailed list of applicant requirements and guidelines and the criteria that will be used to select winners at the Federal Register grant notice website.

Download instructions and an application packet at the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education grants website.

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].