Every year, federal funds are distributed to public school districts specifically for private schools, but many private institutions don’t realize they’re eligible for these funds. Here are some of the most prevalent myths.

  1. Separation of church and state means private schools can’t get federal funding.
    While states can decide whether local taxes will support public and private schools, federal funding is allocated per child. This means private schools can equitably participate in using these federal funds. The money is provided by and distributed to the local public school system based on federal guidance:

      • Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged (Title I)
      • Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High Quality Teachers and Principals (Title II)
      • Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient & Immigrant Students (Title III)
      • 21st Century Schools – Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (Title IV, Part A)
  2. If your private school accepts federal funding, the government will be able to dictate what happens in your school.
    Private schools do not receive federal funds; they receive services through public school districts. It’s the service provider (whether the district or a private provider) who must comply with federal rules regarding the use of funds.
  3. Our local public schools haven’t told us federal funding is available, so it must not be.
    Each year, public school districts are required to send out a letter to private schools in their area, asking if they would like to participate in the use of federal funds. The private schools must respond to opt in.Usually sent in January, the “Intent to Participate” (opt-in form) can sometimes get overlooked. If a private school doesn’t receive the letter by February, the administration should contact the local public school district and request their letter.
  4. My school doesn’t have students who qualify for additional assistance, so we won’t receive aid.
    Even if a school doesn’t serve low-income students who qualify for federal funds, all private schools receive an equitable share of professional development funding.
  5. We want a different experience than what the public school district provides, so we’re not eligible.
    When you opt in, you can request a private provider from the public school district. If approved, the district will allow multiple companies to bid for the contract. Often, private companies can provide opportunities to make federal funding go further for your school.

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