Education is a right, not a privilege, and it should be accessible to all Americans with ease, which is easier said than done considering some still live in rural areas far from most high-end universities in the US.
Thankfully, the federal government is well aware of the needs these communities have, and it’s why the Department of Education created the RLIS program, giving rural school districts the funds and resources necessary to compete for federal grants.
These grants are non-competitive and are awarded to any school district that qualifies, meaning that the program’s only purpose is to allow these rural school districts to reach the minimum threshold for government funding.
After a school qualifies, the grant is given out by state educational agencies participating in the program, which then pass on these funds to local agencies administering it.
In order for a local education agency to even qualify for receiving this sub-grant, they must first be classified as both low-income and rural, meaning that at least 20% of the children served by the agency must come from families living at or below the poverty line.
On top of this, the qualifications for rural areas are much more obscure, seeing as the school in question must have a local code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43, while also being located in an area that the state has denoted as being rural.
If the state itself has chosen not to participate in the program, a special LEA, which is eligible, must apply for RLIS benefits, and they can do so by submitting their application directly to the Department of Education.
These funds can then only be used to pay for activities authorized by the Department through titles 1-4 of the ESEA as well as activities involving the children’s parents.
Usage of funds
The money awarded to the local education agency by the DOE can only be used for a set amount of activities, meaning that the program is fairly limiting, albeit it provides help that these schools wouldn’t normally be able to receive.
Through Title 1, the department allows for the funds to be dedicated to an entrepreneurial program that will help teach the students of the district the basics of business on top of having their standard civics curriculum.
Title 3 gives LEAs the ability to allocate funds to language instruction programs, as it helps non-native students bridge the language gap and integrate themselves into classes with ease.
Finally, with Title 4, schools that receive grants can invest some of the money into a bully prevention program, something that all American schools should’ve implemented long ago, giving kids an opportunity to learn without having to worry about their safety between or after classes.
Through the RLIS program, the Department of Education can make great contributions to the network of educational institutions across the US, giving rural schools the opportunity to thrive against all odds.
This gives low-income children hope while also giving them an incentive to succeed in their studies, as other grants are available to students that have made great academic accomplishments.
By creating an environment that promotes learning and comradery, the Department of Education helps create a generation of well-educated Americans that will strive to achieve great things one day, all through minor contributions to these low-income and/or rural school districts.
With high-quality education, our children can learn to love school, putting an end to the stigma that rural kids are bound to finish their education with a high school degree.
Seeing as this program isn’t intended for individuals, but rather, agencies administering help to individuals, there’s no point in submitting your application for federal assistance.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up, as there are hundreds of different education grants and loans out there waiting for you to claim them.
From those intended for successful students to grants that aim to help low-income Americans obtain a higher education, it’s up to you to find the right government assistance option for your circumstances.
Local Education Agencies can apply to the program by contacting their state’s education agency, and if their state isn’t participating in the RLIS benefits program, they can apply directly to the Department of Education, which will then carefully examine the eligibility and provide an answer to the inquiry.
Ever since it was created, the RLIS program has been a great success, giving rural schools access to the resources necessary to qualify for government grants.
This has greatly improved the quality of education across the US, providing low-income students with access to all the materials they need to succeed against all odds.
Find out if your school district is eligible for these benefits and learn more about what your child could gain with just a bit of help from the federal government.