Using ESSA to Fund Your Program

Funding for your program can sometimes seem like a daunting task. We are here to help with a rich list of resources and updated information on how to make the most of ESSA.

Free Webinar: On Demand

Find out how social and emotional learning fits the ESSA Requirements.

View Webinar Now

3 Ways Schools Can Use Federal Funding Through ESSA to Support Social-Emotional Learning

from the 74 Million – an education-based news organization

Find Financial Assistance for Your SEL Program!

The following programs provide funding that can be used by LEAs to purchase Aperture Education’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs:


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that the educational needs of children with disabilities are served. The goal is to enable children with special needs to receive a free and appropriate education and to meet the same academic standards that all students are expected to meet. Up to 15% of IDEA 611 B can be used for “coordinated early intervening services” (CEIS), which are services targeted toward high-risk children without disabilities who need additional academic or behavioral support to help them succeed. CEIS may include “providing educational and behavioral evaluations, services, and supports” for which Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System is an allowable purchase.

Title I, Part A

Title I provides financial assistance through SEAs to LEAs and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards. Funds support extra instruction in reading/language arts, mathematics and STEM related subjects, as well as special preschool, after-school and summer programs to extend and reinforce the regular school curriculum. This includes professional development for school personnel work with children receiving Title I-funded services. Title I funds are intended to help close the achievement gap between high and low-performing students. Schools receiving Title I funds must provide the parents of participating children frequent reports on their children’s progress. Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System may be purchased as a diagnostic tool to assess social and emotional skills as part of a comprehensive program to promote academic achievement.

Title I, Part C – Migrant Education

Migrant education funds support high quality education programs that meet the special needs of migratory children to help them succeed academically in a regular school program, meet the same academic and content standards that all children are expected to meet, and graduate from high school. Assessment-related products and supplies, including social and emotional learning diagnostic tools, such as Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System, are allowable purchases with Migrant Education funds provided that the purchase adheres to the guidelines of the federal program(s) that Migrant Education funds are combined with.

Title I, Part D – Neglected and Delinquent Youth

The purpose of Title I, Part D is to prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of school and provide dropouts, as well as children and youth returning from correctional facilities or institutions for neglected or delinquent children and youth, with a support system to ensure their continued education and the involvement of their families and communities. Districts may use the funding to supplement state and local resources to contract an educational program provided at the facility or to provide student services with district programs. Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System may be purchased to strengthen protective factors for at-risk children and youth in dropout prevention programs or as a component of institution-wide specialized instructional support services.

Title IV, Part A – Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE)

The purposes of Title IV, Part A are supporting LEAs in offering a well-rounded education and fostering safe, healthy, supportive, and drug-free environments, helping LEAs implement mental health awareness training programs, and supporting LEAs in expanding access to or coordinate resources for school-based counseling and mental health programs, such as through school-based mental health services partnership programs. Per the funding guidance, an LEA may use funds for activities in social and emotional learning, including interventions that build resilience, self-control, empathy, persistence, and other social and behavioral skills. LEAs can also use funds to implement school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), such as Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System.

Title IV, Part B – 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC)

Title IV, Part B supports centers that provide academic enrichment programs during non-school hours, especially those that target high-poverty families and students who attend low-performing schools. Funds may be used for professional development services to the after-school teachers and paraprofessionals. Districts and community organizations, including faith-based organizations, may run the programs. Funding is distributed to states based on their proportion of Title I funding. In addition to academic remediation and enrichment, 21st CCLC programs may also offer “drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, and character education programs.” Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System may be used to assess the social and emotional skills of the participating students so that the results can inform the development of programs that are tailored for the participants’ needs.

Title VI, Part B – Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP)

The Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP) is designed to help small, rural districts use federal resources more effectively. Title VI, Part B funds two programs: Subpart 1 – The Small, Rural School Grant Program and Subpart 2 – the Rural and Low-Income School Program. Assessment products and supplies, including social and emotional learning diagnostic tools such as Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System, are allowable purchases with REAP funds provided that the purchase adheres to the guidelines of the federal program(s) REAP funds are combined with.

Title VIII – Impact Aid

Impact Aid provides formula and competitive grants directly to eligible school districts serving federally connected children on military bases, Indian lands, and subsidized housing. Special additional payments made to LEAs related to enrollments of federally connected children with disabilities must be used for programs and projects designed to meet the special educational and related needs of these children. Impact aid funds do not go directly to federally-connected children, but rather, support the district as a whole. Districts may use the funds in whatever manner they choose in accordance with their local and State requirements. Therefore, an LEA may use the funds to purchase assessment products and supplies, including social and emotional diagnostic tools, such as Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System.

Promoting Student Resilience

The Promoting Student Resilience program provides grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) (or consortia of LEAs) to build and increase their capacity to address the comprehensive behavioral and mental health needs of students in communities that have experienced significant civil unrest in the past 24 months. Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System supports the “absolute priority” for this program, which is that grants are to be used to expand the capacity of LEAs in communities that have experienced significant civil unrest to more effectively address the behavioral and mental health needs of affected students in those communities. “An increased capacity of enhanced social and emotional supports, combined with other school-based strategies, will offer schools an opportunity to create, strengthen, and maintain safe and supportive learning environments.”

Government Grants

Tap into federal funds to bring Aperture Education’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System to your school. At, you can search for various government grants and filter your results.

Fundsnet Services

Search for grants from various businesses and philanthropic foundations. At Fundsnet Services, you can narrow your search by using different categories.

Access OJJDP Resources

Apply for financial assistance with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Since SEL skills are directly tied to the prevention of student behavioral problems, this is an excellent resource for your SEL program.