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Rural Postsecondary & Economic Development (RPED) Program

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Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance


  • The Rural Postsecondary & Economic Development program is authorized under 20 U.S.C. 1138-1138d; Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2021, H.R. 7614, 116th Congress (2020); the explanatory statement accompanying H.R. 133 (Pub. L. 116-260): “…for competitive grants to IHEs and other public and private non-profit organizations and agencies for innovative approaches to improve rates of postsecondary enrollment and completion among rural students through development of career pathways aligned to high-skill, high-wage or in- demand industry sectors and occupations in the region. Programs that provide academic and career counseling and exposure to post-secondary opportunities to students as early as 8th grade and continuing through secondary and post-secondary education, have been shown to significantly increase rates of post-secondary enrollment and completion among rural students. In awarding grants, the Department should give priority to applications that include partnerships with regional economic development or workforce agencies, regional employers, or other relevant nonprofit organizations. Further, the Department should prioritize applications that include strategies for developing and maintaining long-term college and career advising relationships with middle and high school students to support them through their transition to postsecondary education, including services to help students transition from 2- to 4-year programs as necessary; support alignment of academic programs with, and development of, career pathways to high-need occupations in the region; and include a sustainability plan to maintain programs and services after completion of the grant.”

    Note: Projects will be awarded and must be operated in a manner consistent with the nondiscrimination requirements contained in Federal civil rights laws and Supreme Court precedent.
  • In the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (P.L. 117-103), Congress provided funding for the RPED program and directed the Department to use these funds to make additional awards from the FY 2021 competition.


  • There are no program-specific regulations.
  • (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 75, 77, 79, 82, 84, 86, 97, 98, and 99. (b) The Office of Management and Budget Guidelines to Agencies on Governmentwide Debarment and suspension (Nonprocurement) in 2 CFR part 180, as adopted and amended as regulations of the Department in 2 CFR part 3485. (c) The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted and amended in 2 CFR part 3474.

Last Modified: 06/17/2022