$36 Million Available to Support Innovative Projects that Address the Unique Educational Needs of Alaska Natives

By Patrick Carr, Director of Rural, Insular, and Native Achievement Programs, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education 

Today, the U.S. Department of Education released the 2022 application for the Alaska Native Education program. The program will award up to $36 million in grants that will support innovative projects that recognize and address the unique educational needs of Alaska Natives.  Successful applicants will administer a wide range of projects that could include, but are not limited to, support for culturally responsive curriculum development, training and professional development, early childhood and parent outreach, and enrichment programs. For more information, visit the notice inviting applications.  

 “These important resources will help to advance Tribal self-determination in education, and they reinforce the Biden administration’s commitment to advancing equity and excellence for Alaska Native students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “High-quality and culturally responsive educational opportunities also are key to supporting Native students, families, and communities as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The innovative and culturally responsive education initiatives that will be funded through this program will help accelerate recovery for Native youth and communities, and through these initiatives, the Alaska Native community will strengthen student outcomes, helping the state and our nation to build back better.” 

The opening of the 2022 Alaska Native Education program grant application comes only a few months after the Department awarded American Rescue Plan (ARP) funded grants in September 2021 (see list of awards here). Implementation of ARP projects by entities eligible to receive Alaska Native Education program funding is now helping to improve Alaska Native student access to quality early learning, enrichment programs, and career preparation activities to prepare for meaningful employment through a variety of projects, including:  

  • Offering high-dosage tutoring, after school programs, and summer school 
  • Providing college planning/admissions support  
  • Increasing teacher professional development opportunities 
  • Installing reliable satellite service and providing wireless internet connectivity, digital learning devices, and software applications  
  • Offering monthly language immersion opportunities  
  • Providing on-site and remote arts instruction 

Nonprofit organizations and other educational organizations and/or agencies, provided they meet eligibility criteria, are invited to apply for Alaska Native Education program funds to implement activities authorized under section 6304(a)(2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA), and may include one or more of the activities authorized under section 6304(a)(3) of the ESEA. 

The Department will provide up to $36 million for approximately 48 new grants with an estimated annual grant award of $750,000 per grantee for three years. While the Administration’s budget request for FY 2022 included $36,453,000 for this program, the actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process before the end of the current fiscal year if Congress appropriates funds for this program.  

Applications are due on March 14, 2022. Successful applicants will be selected, and awards will be made, by August 2022. Officials from the Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education will conduct a webinar for potential applicants (see the Alaska Native Education program website for more information).   

For more information, please follow this link to the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/01/12/2022-00411/applications-for-new-awards-alaska-native-education-program