Migrant Education Program
Preliminary Guidance for Title I, Part C
Public Law 103-382

Archived Information

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Flexibility to Support Local School-Based and District Innovation, Coupled with Responsibility for Student Performance

Improvements in education are more likely to take place when schools, school districts, and states have the flexibility they need to design their own strategies for improving student achievement. Those closest to students (teachers, principals, and paren ts) must have the authority to decide the most effective means of helping students reach high standards in their communities. The reauthorized ESEA creates opportunities for innovation while requiring a high degree of responsibility and accountability fo r results.

Consolidated State Plans and Individual State Applications

A state that desires to receive an MEP grant may submit to the Department either a consolidated state plan or an individual state application.

Consolidated State Plans

Section 14302 of the Act allows states to submit a consolidated state plan to the secretary that covers a number of federal programs. The MEP is one of the programs that can be included in such a consolidated state plan. By submitting a consolidated pla n, a state may obtain funds under several federal programs through a single plan, rather than through separate program plans or applications. States that include the MEP in a consolidated state plan must still meet all of the underlying statutory and regulatory requirements for the M EP (including those expressed as program-specific application requirements in Section 1304(b) and (c)), but are not required to submit to the Department as much detailed information as is required in a separate state MEP application.

A consolidated state plan, in its final form, will provide SEAs with an opportunity to consider how the resources of programs included in the plan may be used collectively to support the state's overall education reform strategies. Plan consolidation is intended to improve teaching and learning by encouraging greater cross-program coordination, planning, and service delivery, by integrating programs with educational activities carried out with state and local funds, and by promoting the state's educational goals for all students whi le effectively meeting the needs of the programs' intended beneficiaries. The final plan should include a description of the vision the SEA has for educational reform and possible performance measures the SEA will use to evaluate progress in reaching its goals for educational reform.

A state that uses a consolidated state plan to apply for MEP funds and also intends to apply for a consortium incentive grant must also submit, directly to the Office of Migrant Education (OME), the information requested in Part B of the MEP-specific appl ication package.

Program-Specific State Applications

States that do not file a consolidated state plan that includes the MEP must file an MEP-specific application that includes the narrative and budgetary details and assurances required under Section 1304(b) and (c). Section 1304(c) reduces the burden on st ates by allowing them to submit assurances that specific programmatic requirements will be met, rather than program descriptions, as has been required in the past. A state must, however, implement programmatic requirements implicit in the written assurances under Section 13 04(c) to the same degree as it implements the program requirements which are described in its application under Section 1304(b). The statute's inclusion of some requirements through application assurances means only that the Department does not need to review the state plans for implementing them in deciding whether or not to award MEP funds.

A state that uses the MEP program-specific application to apply for MEP funds and is seeking approval of consortium arrangements under 1303(d) and 1308(d) must submit, directly to OME, not only the narrative and budgetary information requested in Part A b ut also the narrative and budgetary information requested in Part B of the MEP-specific application package.

Application Requirements Relating to the Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Service Delivery Plan

If a state submits a program-specific pplication under the MEP, it need only provide information in that MEP application, under subsection 1304(b)(1), showing how its comprehensive plan will guide the state and its local operatin g agencies' planning, implementation, and evaluation of activities (coordinated and integrated across programs) so as to identify and address the needs of migrant children. In addition, the comprehensive state plan should be available to the public and t o Department staff for use in reviews of state and local activities.

To provide greater flexibility to the states, the Department has interpreted Section 14302 to eliminate the need for states which submit a consolidated state plan from developing or submitting any other program-specific applications or plans for programs included in the consolidated plan. This interpretation supersedes the language of Section 1306(a)(1)(B), so that states need not (but may) include the Section 1306 comprehensive MEP state plan in their consolidated ESEA state plans. At the same time, states remain responsible for implementing all of the underlying requirements that the comprehensive plan would have addressed, and doing so may require states to maintain information on how these requirem ents are being implemented.


Waivers are a flexibility and education reform mechanism intended to help SEAs and LEAs overcome barriers to improving schools and raising student achievement. Section 14401 of the ESEA provides the secretary with broad waiver authority that allows state s, LEAs, Indian tribes, or individual schools receiving funds under the ESEA to be exempt from many federal program requirements in order to increase the quality of instruction for students or improve teaching and learning. Similarly, under Section 311 o f the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the secretary may grant waivers of requirements that impede the efforts of eligible entities to carry out the state's Goals 2000 educational improvement plan or a local comprehensive improvement plan.

The waiver authority under Goals 2000 is broader than that available under the ESEA, and can apply to requirements under GEPA or EDGAR while the waivers under the ESEA cannot. However, waivers under Goals 2000 are available only for states that have appr oved state plans under Goals 2000. LEAs must first submit waiver requests to the state for approval (under Goals 2000) or for comment (under the ESEA).

Examples of Approved Waivers

  • An approved waiver allows the Fort Worth, Texas, Independent School District to target extra Title I dollars to four very high-poverty, inner-city elementary schools. The schools were selected for a complete overhaul because of low achievement and ot her factors. The four schools operate schoolwide programs that aim to increase academic achievement for all students in the school through reorganizing staff, lengthening the school year, focusing heavily on teaching reading and math, providing extensive professional development, and strengthening links to the community. With the improved instructional climate in these schools, the district is striving to achieve goals such as better student performance on the Texas State assessment.

  • The Nash-Rocky Mount School District in Nashville, North Carolina will operate a schoolwide program in a school where the poverty rate is less than the 60 percent threshold required this year, but higher than the 50 percent level required for 1996-97.

  • The Hillsborough County, Florida, Public Schools will delay expanding Title I programs into a junior high school and a sixth-grade center for three years while both undergo construction and school reform efforts. The schools will begin providing Titl e I services when the waivers expire.


Waiver would set aside a requirement that impedes the ability of the applicable entity to carry out a state or local improvement plan.

Request for waiver:

  • Identifies requirements requested to be waived and goals recipient intends to achieve;

  • Describes action SEA has taken to remove state barriers identified in LEA applications for waivers;

  • Describes goals of waiver and expected results;

  • Describes process for SEA monitoring, on biannual basis, progress in implementation;

  • Describes timetable for implementation.

Waiver would increase the quality of instruction or improve teaching and learning.

Request for waiver:

  • Describes requirements to be waived and how waivers will increase quality of instruction or improve academic performance;

  • Describes which similar state and local requirements will be waived, and how waivers will help achieve stated objectives;

  • Describes specific, measurable educational improvement goals and expected outcomes for all affected students;

  • Describes methods to be used to measure progress in meeting goals and outcomes;

  • Describes how schools will continue to provide assistance to same populations served by programs for which waivers are requested;

  • Identifies all federal programs affected.

Potential waiver applicants should refer to "Guidance on Waivers under the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the School-to-Work Act," which includes more specific information on requirements that can be waive d and criteria the Department will use to review requests for waivers. To obtain additional assistance, contact the Department's waiver assistance line, (202) 401-7801 or 1-800-USA-LEARN, or contact either the appropriate OESE Regional Service Team (see the list in Appendix A of this document) or the Office of Migrant Education at (202) 260- 1164.

State Administrative Funds

Under the new ESEA, there is no longer a specific appropriation for general Title I administrative activities. Instead, Section 1603 gives each state the authority to reserve a portion of its Title I program funds for state administration. Section 1603 authorizes each state to reserve for the proper and efficient administration of its duties under Title I programs, the greater of (a) up to one percent of the funds received under each of Parts A, C, and D, or (b) $400,000 ($50,000 for the outlying areas). In determining how to use such funds for the "proper and efficient administration" of their duties, states should consider whether and to what extent each of these programs is both state administered and sta te operated. If the SEA reserves the full $400,000 (option b), it must reserve funds in equal proportion from each of the amounts allocated (See 34 CFR 200.6). The following table provides an example of how an SEA may reserve state administration f unds.

Example of State Administrative Funds Reserved by an SEA
Program State Allocation Percent
Reserved for
Reserved for

Part A LEA Grants
     Basic Grants
     Concentration Grants




Part C MEP Grants 472,992 .75 3,547

Part D Prevention Programs for Neglected, Delinquent, & At-Risk Children and Youth
     Subpart 1 State Program
     Subpart 2 Local Program







TOTAL $97,850,750 -- $977,325

Section 1003 of the ESEA authorizes each SEA to reserve up to .5 percent from its state allocation for Parts A, C, and D for program improvement activities described in Sections 1116 and 1117. In addition, program improvement activities are financed thro ugh a direct appropriation from the Congress each year. The total that each state uses for program improvement from these two sources may not be less than $200,000. Refer to the Title I, Part A policy guidance for more detailed guidance on special provisions in the use of state administrative funds.

Consolidating Administrative Funds

Section 14201 of the ESEA provides authority for a state to consolidate the amounts specifically made available to that state for state administration under Title I and various other elementary and secondary education programs. However, to take advantage of this authority, the state must be able to demonstrate that the majority of the resources used to operate the SEA come from non-federal sources. Any state able to take advantage of this provision will no longer be required to maintain separate records by individual program to account for costs relating to the administration of those federal programs. The consolidated administrative funds become a single pot of money to be used by the state for administration of those programs. The result is less burden on states and reduced recordkeeping requirements.

Example of Possible Uses of Consolidated Administrative Funds:

An SEA could use consolidated administrative funds for broader purposes, such as to:

  • Administer all of the programs included in the consolidation;
  • Coordinate with other Federal and non-Federal programs;
  • Disseminate information regarding model programs and practices; and
  • Provide technical assistance under programs included in the consolidation.

Use of MEP Program Funds for Administrative Purposes

34 CFR 200.41 authorizes an SEA to use program funds, after consulting the LEAs, to carry out administrative activities that are unique to the MEP, including those that are the same or similar to those performed by LEAs. These program funds can be used in addition to state administrative funds available under Section 1603. However, these program funds cannot be used for general administration of the MEP; only Title I general administ rative funds available under Section 1603 may be used for general administration of the program. Allowable activities under 34 CFR 200.41 include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting statewide identification and recruitment of eligible migrant children;

  • Coordinating services with relevant programs and projects both within the state and across states;

  • Implementing procedures for providing for the educational continuity of migrant children through the timely transfer of educational and health records, beyond that required generally by state and local agencies;

  • Collecting and using information for the accurate distribution of subgrant funds;

  • Developing and implementing a statewide plan for needs assessment and service delivery; and

  • Supervision of instructional and support staff.

Consortium Arrangements and Incentive Grants

The reauthorized ESEA places great emphasis on collaboration among states. All states are encouraged to collaborate in order to provide effective services to migrant children, especially states with smaller grants under the MEP. To this end, Section 130 3(d) of the ESEA directs the secretary to consult with SEAs whose MEP allocations in any year will be $1 million or less about the desirability of forming consortia to deliver services in a more effective and efficient manner. The secretary is directed to approve any SEA consortium proposal that (1) reduces MEP administrative costs or program function costs (i.e., reduces the overall amount of MEP administrative or program function costs across the participating SEAs from the amount that would be incurred in the absence of the consortium)7, and (2) increases the amount of MEP funds available for direct services to migrant children that add substantially to the educational attainment or welfare of those children (i.e., makes more funds available overall across participating SEA s, for direct educational or support services to migrant children).8

In each fiscal year, the secretary may reserve up to $1.5 million of the funds appropriated for MEP competitive incentive awards to SEAs with approved consortium arrangements. The size of each grant is limited to no more than $250,000; the statute envisi ons awarding no fewer than 10 grants each year. Consortium provisions may especially benefit those SEAs that, because of the small size of their MEP allocations, have particular difficulty both in administering the MEP and in providing an adequate level of direct services to migrant children.

6 Amount reserved for State administration from Part A must be taken in equal proportion from basic and concentration grants.

7 "Administrative" or "program function" costs include all costs that an SEA or its local operating agencies pay from MEP funds to support MEP activities other than direct educational or support services for migratory children. A dministrative and program function costs include the costs of general program administration paid from funds reserved under Section 1603(c) of ESEA, as well as the costs of other, program-specific administrative activities, such as identification and recruitment, interstate, and interagency coordination, and parent advisory councils.

8 "Direct educational" or "support" services mean any instructional or support activities directly to migratory children, as well as training of instructional or support staff who provide instructional or support services directly to migratory children. "Other appropriate entity" can mean any public or private agency organization.

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Last Modified: 05/15/2009