The Magnet Schools Assistance Grants were implemented by the Federal Government of the United States. These grants fund the so-called Magnet Schools, who are operating according to a federally approved desegregation plan. The purpose of the plan is to prevent the isolation of minority groups in elementary and secondary schools in the United States.
To acquire the Magnet Schools Assistance Grant, the school has to meet some requirements. Only local education agencies are permitted to apply for this grant and they have to be implementing a court-ordered or voluntary desegregation plan. Private schools are currently not allowed to apply for this grant, as the Magnet Schools Assistance Grant is only given to public schools with a specific status. This grant can also be approved if the school in question states that it will implement the desegregation plan upon receiving the necessary funding. All applications for the Magnet Schools Assistance Grant must be approved by a government body before it can be granted.
91 million dollars was granted under the Magnet Schools Assistance fund in 2013, with the average awarded grant being a little more than 3 million dollars. Some schools are also eligible for continuation funding, which applied to 37 awarded Magnet Schools Assistance Grants in 2012.
Magnet school Assistance Grants are considered and can be used for specific school projects. The majority of the financial support is used for the planning and promoting of activities. However, these activities must have an impact on the development, expansion or the enhancement of various academic programs in these specific types of schools. Another large portion of the money was used for the acquisition of books, materials and all types of equipment.
There are some restrictions upon receiving the grant though, because it cannot be used to fund school projects that do not enhance the academic enrichment of the minority groups and a grantee cannot use more than 50% of the received grant in the first year. The implementation of these rules and regulations can be checked annually and the final performance reports must be submitted in 90 days before the end of the grant award period.
Even if your school is eligible for the program, there are a lot of other factors that are taken into account by the government body before deciding to award the grant. Some of these criteria are project design, services, staff, budget, available resources, evaluation, commitment and capacity. Therefore it is advised to look into the possibilities of your school before applying for the Magnet Schools Assistance Grant.
However, research and reports from the federal U.S. government have shown that the Magnet Schools Program has had an impact on the general education quality in the United States. The program had a modest impact on minority student isolation, where 57 percent of schools with an active desegregation plan were able to prevent, eliminate and reduce minority group isolation. The Magnet Schools Assistance Grant has also caused some progress in education quality during the first year the grant was awarded to schools.
Research has also shown that the general school environment is somewhat better in Magnet Schools than schools that don’t have a desegregation plan in place. This fact alone outweighs the moderate performance results in comparison with non-magnet schools. Even though the grant exists for some years now, there is still some room for improvement, because the implementation of the program is not always successful for every school that has received this grant. More research will show what the exact problem is and why the grant does not work as good for some schools. From the reports it would seem this is an individual problem, limited to certain schools and not the program in general.
I wanted to also bring to your attention that there are other smaller grants offered to schools. One of those grants is a school landscaping grant I invite you to take a look around our site for other school related grants.