Opportunities for Private Schools to Provide:
Extra Academic Help To Disadvantaged Students

Downloadable File PDF (5 MB)

The U.S. Department of Education invites the private school community to participate in a program that can help ensure that every child receives a high-quality education. Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), private schools that are approved providers of “supplemental educational services” may receive payment to help eligible disadvantaged public school students improve academically by offering them tutoring and other academic enrichment services.

Signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002, NCLB provides for supplemental educational services for disadvantaged students. Supplemental educational services are tutoring and other academic enrichment provided outside of the regular school day to help improve students' achievement in reading, language arts, and math. Parents of eligible students may obtain these services for their children free of charge from an approved provider of their choice. Under NCLB, private schools, along with other faith-based and community organizations, are eligible to apply to provide this help.

Where this help is needed

Every year, each state department of education identifies the public schools in the state that are “in need of improvement.” The law requires that supplemental educational services be made available to students from low-income families attending Title I public schools that state departments of education have determined to be in need of improvement for two or more years.1 Check your state department of education's Web site for listings of such schools, or call your local school district to learn if students in schools in your area are eligible for this extra help.

How to provide supplemental educational services

Your private school must apply to your state department of education to become an approved provider. Once your school is approved, you may market your services so that parents of eligible students can choose your school to provide supplemental educational services to their children. After parents choose your school, you will enter into an agreement with the local public school district of the students you will serve.

“I want to ask you to offer your services for this important cause. The president and I hope you will consider becoming providers of supplemental educational services.”

U.S. Secretary of Education
Margaret Spellings

How a provider becomes approved

Each state department of education must develop and apply objective criteria for approving supplemental educational services providers. The criteria for approving providers, as well as the list of approved providers, must be published.

To receive approval, a provider must:

  • Have a demonstrated record of effectiveness in increasing student academic achievement;
  • Use instructional strategies that are high quality, based upon research, and designed to increase student academic achievement;
  • Provide services that are consistent with the instructional program of the local school district and with state academic content and achievement standards;
  • Be financially sound; and
  • Provide supplemental educational services consistent with applicable federal, state, and local health, safety, and civil rights laws.

A state department of education has flexibility in developing its approval process, but it must provide an opportunity at least annually for new providers to apply for inclusion on the state list, and it must ensure that interested providers are adequately informed of the application process. A state may establish a reasonable period of time during which additional providers may apply, be approved, and be added to the list of providers.

How a provider is paid for its services

A local school district pays each provider for the supplemental educational services the provider delivers to the district's students. The school district enters into an agreement with each provider that includes, among other things, the schedule of payments. The amount of funds available per student will vary from one school district to another. To find out approximately how much is available in your area, visit the U.S. Department of Education's Web site at The figures listed on this site are updated for each school year as information becomes available.

A supplemental services provider, merely by being a provider, is not considered a “recipient of federal financial assistance.” As a result, certain federal requirements that apply to recipients of federal financial assistance are not directly applicable to a provider unless the provider otherwise receives federal financial assistance for other purposes. For more information, please see Supplemental Educational Services Non-Regulatory Guidance, C-3, available at download files (882K).

Are religious private schools eligible to be supplemental educational services providers?

Yes. A religious private school is eligible to become a provider of supplemental educational services on the same basis as any other private entity, if it meets the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. In approving potential providers, a state department of education may not discriminate against a religious private school on the basis of the school's religious character or affiliation.

A religious private school or other faith-based organization that becomes a provider may retain its independence, autonomy, right of expression, religious character, and authority over its governance. As with other faith-based organizations, it may retain religious terms in its name, continue to carry out its mission, and use its facilities to provide services without removing or altering religious art, icons, scriptures, or other symbols from areas where supplemental educational services are provided. As a provider, a religious private school may not discriminate on the basis of religion against students receiving supplemental educational services.

Federal funds may not be used to support religious practices, such as religious instruction, worship, or prayer. (Religious private schools and other faith-based organizations may offer such practices but not as part of the supplemental educational services.) Religious private schools, like other providers, must ensure that the instruction and content of the supplemental educational services they provide are secular, neutral, and nonideological.

For more information, please see Supplemental Educational Services Non-Regulatory Guidance, C-9, available at download files, (882K), and Regulations on the Participation of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Department Programs, 34 CFR § 80.36(j), available at

Where to look for more information

For information about supplemental educational services opportunities for private schools, contact:
your state department of education or the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Non-Public Education (see back page).

Other Resources

  • The U.S. Department of Education
    Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
    555 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Room 410
    Washington, DC 20208-8300
    Tel: (800) USA-LEARN or (202) 219-1741
    Fax: (202) 208-1689
    Web site:
  • U.S. Department of Education Web site with information on supplemental educational services is at
  • U.S. Department of Education Web site with contact information for each state's supplemental educational services administrator is at
  • U.S. Department of Education grantee Web site with a comprehensive guide for entities interested in becoming providers is at
  • U.S. Department of Education webcast tutorial, “How to Apply to Become an Effective Supplemental Services Provider,” is at
  • U.S. Department of Education sample quality provider application is at
  • Extra Help for Student Success, a U.S. Department of Education brochure providing information on supplemental educational services to parents, is available free at

This brochure contains a Web site address for information created and maintained by a private organization. This information is provided for the reader's convenience. The U.S. Department of Education is not responsible for controlling or guaranteeing the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of information or a Web site address does not reflect the importance of the organization, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered.

“We want America to be promising for every single child of every background so that not one single child in America is left behind.”

President George W. Bush

[1] A “Title I public school” is a public elementary or secondary school that receives federal funds under Title I, Part A, of NCLB because it has a relatively high percentage of students from low-income families. More than half of all public schools (55 percent) are Title I public schools. A Title I public school uses federal funds to provide additional educational services to students who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the state's high academic achievement standards. Under NCLB, all public schools must be held accountable for the achievement of their students by making adequate yearly progress (AYP). If a Title I public school does not make AYP for two consecutive years, it is identified as “in need of improvement.”

U. S. Department of Education
Office of Innovation and Improvement
Office of Non-Public Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Room 4W339
Washington, DC 20202-5940
Phone: (202) 401-1365
Fax: (202) 401-1368
Web site:

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 03/03/2010