California To Give $200M in College Readiness Grants to Almost 1,000 Ed. Agencies

Associate Editor

The state of California is distributing about $200 million to nearly 1,000 school districts, county offices of education and charter schools for college readiness, according to a recent announcement.

The funds, which have been made available through the state’s College Readiness Block Grant program, are to be spent through the 2018-19 fiscal year. Among other things, the funds can be used to:

  • Pay Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examination fees
  • Develop or purchase materials that support college readiness, including college entrance exam preparation;
  • Provide counseling services for students;
  • Expand access to coursework or other opportunities to satisfy the so-called “A-G” subject requirements, which are the 15 college preparatory courses needed for high school students; and
  • Send teachers, counselors, and administrators to professional development opportunities related to college readiness.

The first installment of about $100 million is being distributed in 2016, according to a statement from Tom Torlakson, the state superintendent of public instruction. That amount reflects about half of each local education agency’s entitlement based on eligible students.

The rest of the funds will be released in spring of 2017. Details may be accessed on the CRBG web page.

EdSource reports that about 650 districts, charters and county offices of education will receive grants of about $75,000, while Los Angeles Unified is set to receive $16.9 million.

The grants were established to increase the number of students who enroll in institutions of higher education and complete an undergraduate degree in four years, according to the state. There’s a special emphasis on helping English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and foster youth.

“Every student should have a chance to attend college. These grants provide funds for expanding our students’ access and improving their readiness for higher education—a top priority as we prepare them for 21st century careers,” Torlakson said in the release.

Districts, county education agencies and charter schools do not need to apply to receive the grant awards, but there are other requirements, including the adoption of a local plan, and submitting a report to the state’s education department by January 1, 2017 about how that local education agency will measure the impact of the funds received.

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