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Home » Policy & Funding » Grants & Grant Management » 21st Century Learning » Program Guidance

Program Guidance

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program is authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.

Purpose (ESSA, SEC. 4201)

a) PURPOSE.—The purpose of this part is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities in community learning centers that—

  1. provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students, particularly students who attend low-performing schools, to meet the challenging state academic standards;
  2. offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, arts, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, financial literacy programs, environmental literacy programs, mathematics, science, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector or occupation for high school students that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and
  3. offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

Legislation, Regulations, & Guidance

Federal Statute Sec. 4201-4206

Non-Regulatory Guidance

Provided by the U.S. Department of Education, this document is designed to help state educational agencies (SEAs) and eligible public and private schools and organizations throughout the country understand how they can successfully participate in community learning centers.

Participation in Education Department Programs by Religious Organizations

Faith-based groups are eligible for 21st Century funding. This document from the U.S. Department of Education outlines the rules for participation in education department programs by religious organizations.

Private School Participation

External Organization

The listed external organizations have a record of success in program quality, partnership history, positive training participant feedback, and organizations self selected by 21st CCLC grantees. 

The term ‘‘external organization’’ means— (A) a nonprofit organization with a record of success in running or working with before and after school (or summer recess) programs and activities; or (B) in the case of a community where there is no such organization, a nonprofit organization in the community that enters into a written agreement or partnership with an organization described in subparagraph (A) to receive mentoring and guidance in running or working with before and after school (or summer recess) programs and activities.