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Foreign Language Assistance (V-D-9)


The Foreign Language Assistance program is designed to improve the quality and extent of foreign language instruction, particularly in the nation's elementary schools. The United States has an unprecedented need for individuals with highly developed competencies in languages other then English. Research funded by the European Union indicates that early language learning can have a positive effect on students with respect to fostering language skills, a positive attitude toward other languages and cultures, and increased self-esteem. In addition, research has shown that math and verbal SAT scores are higher with each additional year of foreign language study.

How It Works

The U.S. Department of Education offers competitive grants to state education agencies (SEAs) or school districts to pay the federal share of the cost of innovative model programs to establish, improve, or expand foreign language study for elementary and secondary school students. There are two types of grants discretionary and incentive-that make up this program.

Key Requirements

Discretionary Grants.The discretionary provisions allow the U.S. Department of Education to make three-year grants to SEAs and districts to pay the federal share (50 percent unless a district waiver is granted) of the cost of innovative model programs to establish, improve, or expand foreign language study. Grants to SEAs support systemic approaches to improving foreign language learning in the state. Grants to districts support programs that show the promise of being continued beyond the grant period, demonstrate approaches that can be disseminated and duplicated in other districts, and may include a professional development component.

The Department will give special consideration to applications from SEAs and districts describing programs that:

  • Include intensive summer foreign language programs for professional development;
  • Link nonnative English speakers in the community with the schools in order to promote two-way language learning;
  • Promote the sequential study of a foreign language for students, beginning in elementary schools;
  • Make effective use of technology, such as computer-assisted instruction, language laboratories, or distance learning, to promote foreign language study;
  • Promote innovative activities, such as foreign language immersion, partial foreign language immersion, or content-based instruction; and
  • Involve a consortium comprised of the agency receiving the grant and an elementary or secondary school.

Incentive Grants. The incentive provisions authorize grants to any public elementary school that has a foreign language program comparable to providing at least 45 minutes of instruction for four days a week throughout an academic year. The incentive grants are calculated based on the number of participating students.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007