Magnet Schools Assistance

Current Section  Purpose
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Program Office: Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII)
CFDA Number: 84.165A
Program Type: Discretionary/Competitive Grants

What's New

The U.S. Department of Education awarded nine new grants under the FY 2016 Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) competition. These awards total $91,022,144 and will be implemented over a three year period. MSAP funding will provide grantees with the opportunity to implement magnet schools that will reduce, eliminate, or prevent minority group isolation; produce high student academic achievement; promote diversity and socioeconomic desegregation; and deliver innovative, theme-based curriculum.

For more information about these awards, visit the Awards page.


The Magnet Schools Assistance program provides grants to eligible local educational agencies to establish and operate magnet schools that are operated under a court-ordered or federally approved voluntary desegregation plan. These grants assist in the desegregation of public schools by supporting the elimination, reduction, and prevention of minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools with substantial numbers of minority group students. In order to meet the statutory purposes of the program, projects also must support the development and implementation of magnet schools that assist in the achievement of systemic reforms and provide all students with the opportunity to meet challenging academic content and student academic achievement standards. Projects support the development and design of innovative education methods and practices that promote diversity and increase choices in public education programs. The program supports capacity development–the ability of a school to help all its students meet more challenging standards–through professional development and other activities that will enable the continued operation of the magnet schools at a high performance level after funding ends. Finally, the program supports the implementation of courses of instruction in magnet schools that strengthen students’ knowledge of academic subjects and their grasp of tangible and marketable vocational skills.

The statute defines a magnet school as a public elementary school, public secondary school, public elementary education center, or public secondary education center that offers a special curriculum capable of attracting substantial numbers of students of different racial backgrounds.


Magnet schools offer a wide range of distinctive education programs. Some emphasize academic subjects such as math, science, technology, language immersion, visual and performing arts, or humanities. Others use specific instructional approaches, such as Montessori methods, or approaches found in international baccalaureate programs or early college programs.

FY2013 Final Regulations

Posted in the Federal Register on November 13, 2012. download files PDF

Last Modified: 10/13/2016