Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program

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Frequently Asked Questions

This information below is being provided for historical purposed only for the FY 2011 SRCL grants. The information is not related to the FY 2017 SRCL grants program.

1.What is the total appropriation for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) program?

    The total amount for the SRCL program in Fiscal Year 2010 is $200 million. Of these funds, Congress directed $10 million to go to formula grants to States so they may establish and support a State Literacy Team (with members who have expertise in literacy development and education) who will help the State in developing a comprehensive literacy plan. The remaining funds are to be used for national activities and for a discretionary grant competition. The discretionary grant will award funds to State Education Agencies (SEAs) so they may run a subgrant competition and award subgrants to eligible entities for services and activities that have the characteristics of effective literacy instruction.

2.How did the Department determine each SEA’s allocation of the SRCL formula grant funds?

    The formula allocation is based on each State’s share of funds under part A of Title I of the ESEA for fiscal year 2009 (excluding those funds awarded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009). However, no State shall receive less $150,000 to establish or support a State Literacy Team.

3.What is the deadline for an SEA to apply for formula grants funds?

    The deadline was Sept. 30, 2010.

4.Is the formula grant this a one-time award or annual award?

    The continuation of this award will be dependent on future appropriations.

5.When will formula grant funds be available and for how long?

    Funds will be available until September 30, 2011 (and under the one-year Tydings provision, until September 30, 2012).

6.Under the formula grant program, will SEAs have to evaluate the effectiveness of the State Literacy Team? What kind of reporting will be required?

    Each SEA receiving funds for State Literacy Teams shall provide annually to the Secretary information on the status of the implementation of activities funded under this program. A formal, external evaluation will not be required for the use of these funds.

7.Under the formula grant, may the SEA impose additional requirements on the membership or activities of the Team?

    Yes, unless those requirements are inconsistent with the requirements described in this document.

8.How may the funds be used?

    SRCL formula grant funds may be used for costs that are reasonable, necessary, and integral to the formation and administration of a State Literacy Team and for the development of the State comprehensive literacy plan. Additionally, in using SRCL funds, States must comply with applicable federal regulations, particularly the cost principals contained in OMB Cost Circular A-87.

9.Under the formula grant, will the Team be required to submit its comprehensive literacy plan to the Department?

    Yes. Each SEA receiving funds will be required to submit a comprehensive literacy plan to ED by February 1, 2011. We intend to consider a State’s comprehensive literacy plan as part of the SRCL discretionary grant program.

10.What should be included in the comprehensive literacy plan?

    The comprehensive literacy plan must address the needs of children from birth through grade twelve. It should also improve alignment and transition between grades. It should include all of the key components of an effective state literacy system, including clear standards; a system of assessments to inform instruction; guidance on the selection and use of curriculum and interventions; teacher preparation and professional development aligned with standards; and a system of data collection, evaluation, and program accountability.

11.Additional Q&A from August Formula Grant Webinar

    SRCL Formula Grant FAQs from the Webinar:
    download files WORD (1.2M)

12. Who may apply for a SRCL Discretionary Grant

    State educational agencies (SEAs) are eligible applicants.

13.Who may receive a SRCL subgrant?

    Sungrants will be awarded by SEAs that win the SRCL discretionary grant competition. Grantee SEAs can award subgrants to the following entities: local educational agencies (LEAs) and—in the case of early literacy—LEAs or other nonprofit providers of early childhood education that partner with a public or private nonprofit organization or agency with a demonstrated record of effectiveness in improving the early literacy development of children from birth through kindergarten entry and in providing professional development in early literacy, giving priority to such agencies or other entities serving great numbers of percentages of disadvantaged children. Such partners may include libraries, Head Start Centers, health care providers, or other community-based organizations if they meet the statutory requirements.

14.What do you mean by “comprehensive literacy”?

    For the purposes of this grant program, “comprehensive literacy” includes pre-literacy, reading, and writing skills for all students – including disadvantaged students, limited-English proficient students, and students with disabilities—from birth to grade 12.

15.Are there any requirements about how awarded funds should be distributed across age specific bands?

    Yes. The FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 111-117), which authorizes the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program, provides that the SEA shall ensure that at least 15 percent of the subgranted funds are used to serve children birth through age 5, at least 40 percent of the funds are used to serve students in kindergarten through grade 5, and at least 40 percent of the funds are used to serve students in middle and high school including an equitable distribution of funds between middle and high schools.

16.Under the discretionary grant, will there be flexibility in the funding distribution across age specific bands?

    No. Distribution of funds across age specific bands is set by statute.

17.Under the discretionary grant, must each subgrantee adhere to the 15/40/40 funding distribution?

    No. An individual subgrantee might serve children using a different funding distribution. For example, if a subgrantee was an early childhood education agency, all subgrant funds might be used to serve children birth through age 5; alternatively, an SEA may award funds to an LEA to undertake comprehensive (birth through grade 12) literacy activities. It is not necessary for an SEA to run three separate subgrant competitions for each funding distribution band. However, the SEA is responsible for ensuring that the total amount of SRCL subgrant funds is allocated according to the statutorily mandated funding distribution. In responding to Selection Criteria (D)(ii) of the Notice Inviting Applications, the SEA should clearly explain how it will design its subgrant competition to ensure compliance with the required funding distribution.

18.How many grants will be awarded?

    The Department estimates that it will make between 3 and 18 awards, ranging between $3,000,000 and $70,000,000 each (with average size of awards $25,000,000).

19.What is the maximum award an SEA can receive in the discretionary grant competition?

    In order to balance the goal of stimulating comprehensive literacy reform through funding high-quality plans with the goal of recognizing a number of SEAs that can serve as models for other SEAs, the Department has developed mandatory budget limits for each SEA. These limits were determined by ranking every State according to its share of the national population of children in poverty ages 5 through 17 based on data from “Table 1: 2009 Poverty and Median Income Estimates – States” released by the Small Area Estimates Branch of the U.S. Census Bureau in December, 2010. The State should develop a budget that is appropriate for the plan it outlines in its application; however we will not consider an SEA’s application if its request exceeds the maximum in its budget range, as follows:

    Category Maximum Budget Allowed per year States
    1up to $70 millionCalifornia, Texas
    2up to $50 millionFlorida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico
    3up to $30 millionAlabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington
    4up to $15 millionArkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah
    5up to $8 million Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming

20.Do the budget limits included in the Notice Inviting Applications cap the total funding that a State can receive for the entire five-year grant period, or do the budget limits apply for a single year of the grant?

    The budget limits are for each year, not for the entire grant period. Thus, an applicant may propose a five-year budget that includes annual requests of up to the relevant categorical award limit.

21.How much of the discretionary grant funding will grantees be able to use to administer leadership activities?

    An SEA may use up to 5 percent of the awarded funds to provide leadership activities, including technical assistance and training, data collection, reporting, and administration.

22.Under the discretionary grant, is there a requirement for in-kind contributions?

    No. There is no requirement for matching funds, in-kind contributions, or a local project cost-share.

23.May applicants include the cost of food in their budgets submitted with the discretionary grant application?

    Food expenditures are only allowable if food is not for entertainment and is necessary and reasonable to accomplish project goals.

24.Can SRCL subgrant funds be used for construction?

    No. Construction costs are not allowed to be charged to the Federal funds for a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant. This is a requirement of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR 75.533. (Applicants can access EDGAR provisions on the Department's website at However, Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grant funds may be used for minor remodeling (which does not include any structural alterations) to accomplish the program's purpose and objectives, such as to enhance the quality of the physical environment to make it more conducive to developing early language and early reading skills. (See the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) at 34 CFR section 77.1, definition of "minor remodeling," which you can access on the Department's website at

25.Is direct teacher support an allowable expense under the discretionary grant?

    So long as the expense is necessary and reasonable to accomplish the program's purpose and objectives, direct teacher support such as salaries for specialists or new teachers, stipends, bonuses, or scholarships generally would be allowable.

26.Can SRCL subgrant funds be used for paying rent?

    Yes. However, the rent must be reasonable and necessary to accomplish the program’s purpose and objectives.

27.May I include letters of support or the resumes of my key project personnel with my application?

    Yes. Only include resumes and letters of support in the appendices section of the submitted application.

28.Do charts and tables in the discretionary grant application have to be double-spaced?

    No. It is permissible to prepare charts in a single-spaced format.

29.Why do attachments for the discretionary grant application have to be in .pdf format only?

    Attachments must be in .pdf (portable document file) format in order to effectively upload to This is a change from some previous Department grant competitions.

30.Is the SRCL grant application subject to Executive Order 12372?

    Executive Order 12372 concerns the Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, and essentially gives States the opportunity to review and provide comments to Federal agencies on applications for Federal discretionary (competitive) grants. SRCL grants are subject to Executive Order 12372 if your State is listed as having a Single State Point of Contact. Further information about the Single State Point of Contact (SPOC) process and a list of names by State can be found at

31.What is the timeline for the FY 2011 project, i.e., approximately when will discretionary grant awards be made?

    We anticipate that grants will be awarded in August 2011 for a project period of up to 60 months.

32.What date is the discretionary grant application due?

    The applications are due May 9, 2011. They must be submitted via Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, D.C. time, on the application deadline date. The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through

Last Modified: 06/22/2017