Comprehensive Centers Program

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 Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Home

Program Office: Office of Program and Grantee Support Services

CFDA Number: 84.283B
Program Type: Discretionary Grants - Cooperative Agreements

Program Description

This program awards discretionary grants that support comprehensive centers to provide capacity-building services to State educational agencies (SEAs), regional educational agencies (REAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools that improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, and improve the quality of instruction.

By statute, the Department is required to establish at least one center in each of the 10 geographic regions served by the Department's Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs).

The 2012 cohort of Comprehensive Centers, which received initial awards in 2012, includes 7 content centers and 15 regional centers. An additional content center, funded in response to 2016 appropriations language and a new authority in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), focuses on students at risk of not attaining full literacy skills due to a disability.

Each Comprehensive Center must develop a 5-year plan for carrying out authorized activities. The plan of each center is developed to address the needs of SEAs in meeting ESEA student achievement goals, as well as priorities established by the Department and the States. Each center has an advisory board, with representation from SEAs, LEAs, institutions of higher education, educators, administrators, policymakers, researchers, and business representatives, that advises the center on: (1) allocation of resources, (2) strategies for monitoring and addressing the region’s educational needs (or the regional centers’ needs in the case of the content centers), (3) maintaining a high standard of quality in the performance of its activities, and (4) carrying out the center’s activities in a manner that promotes progress toward improving student academic achievement.

Types of Projects

Centers develop annual service plans for carrying out authorized activities that address State and regional needs.

Centers provide assistance to SEAs in their assigned states and content centers create materials, tools, and training that reflect national expertise to complement and support the direct services that regional centers provide to SEAs. Regional centers identify relevant information generated by these content centers in their local work with SEAs to build their capacity to implement school and district improvement measures.

For information about current Comprehensive Center projects, visit

Last Modified: 04/11/2019