Indian School Equalization Program

To provide funding for primary and secondary education.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

ISEP funds are used to provide basic education and residential programs to Indian students not served by public or sectarian schools.

Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - See Education Line Officers' addresses in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Program Accomplishments

Approximately 30,000 students are served by 122 tribally operated schools.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds may be used for the education of Indian children in BIA funded schools.

Funds may not be used for construction.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Federally Recognized Indian Tribes or tribal organizations currently served by a Bureau of Indian Affairs funded school.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Children between the ages of 5 and 21 who are a member of or are at least a one-fourth degree Indian blood descendant of a member of an Indian tribe which is eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States through the Bureau of Indian Affairs to Indians because of their status as Indians.


Written evidence of approval of the application by the tribal governing body of the students served by or to be served by the school. "Tribal governing body" means the tribal governing body or tribal governing bodies that represent at least 90 percent of the students served by such school.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

An applicant should consult the Agency/Area Education Program Administrator who will provide technical assistance.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

To become a contract school, applications should be developed in accordance with 25 CFR Part 900. To become a grant school, applications should be developed in accordance with 25 USC 2501 et. seq.

Award Procedures

The Agency/Area Education Program Administrator will ensure the application is complete and forward the application to the Director, Office of Indian Education Programs, with a recommendation for approval/disapproval.


Schools must submit their applications and a copy of the tribe's approval of the application by March 1. Evidence that all administrative systems are in place such as accounting, personnel and property must be submitted by July 1.


Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Public Law 93-638, as amended, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.; Indian Education Amendments of 1978, Public Law 95-561, 25 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.; Tribally Controlled Schools Act, 25 U.S.C. 2501 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Applications for contract schools will be processed within 90 days; applications for grant schools will be processed within 180 days after the date the application is submitted to the Agency/Area Education Program Administrator.


An unsuccessful applicant may request an informal conference with the deciding official, or may appeal the denial of the application to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, or may bring suit in U.S. District Court. Full appeal procedures are found in 25 CFR, Part 900.


Awards are made annually and are renewed automatically based on satisfactory performance by the grantee.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Approximately ninety-nine percent of the ISEP funds will be allocated in accordance with the ISEP formula contained in 25 CFR 39. One percent of the funds shall be reserved for the Director's discretion.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds may be paid in advance, are awarded annually on an indefinite basis based on performance, and remain with the Self Determination contractor or grantee until spent.

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual Financial Report, Narrative Report, and a program evaluation by an impartial third party such as an accrediting agency.


For awards made under this program, grantees are responsible for obtaining audits. All nonfederal entities that expend $500,000 or more of Federal awards in a year ($300,000 for fiscal year ending on or before December 30, 2003) are required to obtain an annual audit in accordance with the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501 et. seq.) and OMB Circular A-133, the OMB Circular Compliance Supplement and Government Auditing Standards. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 (for fiscal years ending after December 1, 2003) a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in OMB Circular A-133.


Financial records must be retained for 3 years from the date of submission of the single audit report. Procurement records must be retained for 3 years from the date of final payment. Property records must be retained for 3 years from the date of disposition, replacement, or transfer. Records pertaining to any litigation, audit exceptions or claims must be retained until the dispute has been resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Total Available for Awards) FY 07 $211,824,000; FY 08 est $215,800,000; and FY 09 est $219,494,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The estimated range is $119,500 to $7,091,000. The average is $1,700,000 per school.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

25 CFR 39; 25 CFR 45; 25 CFR 900.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Education Line Officers' addresses in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Office of Indian Education Programs, Bureau of Indian Affairs, MS 3609 MIB, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240. Contact: Joe Herrin. Telephone: (202) 208-7658. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Applicants meeting eligibility criteria are funded.

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