Even Start_State Educational Agencies

To help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy and improve the educational opportunities of low-income families, by integrating early childhood education, adult literacy or adult basic education, and parenting education into a unified family literacy program.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Projects have included Project Even Start SPARK Plus in Accomack County, Virginia, jointly operated by the Accomack County Public Schools and Eastern Shore Community College.

This project is designed to improve the literacy levels of disadvantaged families through the provision of adult education, parenting education, interactive literacy activities, and early childhood education for children ages 4-8.

Time is provided for separate early childhood and adult instruction, as well as joint family learning experiences.

While the adults are working toward career and education goals, the children are engaged in uses a research-based curriculum.

Parent-Child activities are hands-on activities delivered through Eastern Shore College's acclaimed "Shore People Advancing Readiness for Knowledge," also know as SPARKS.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Program Accomplishments

An estimated 330 projects will be funded by States in 2008.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Subgrants are used for activities such as recruitment and screening of children and parents, design of programs, instruction of children and parents, support services, staff training, evaluation, and coordination with other programs.

Funds may not be used for indirect costs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State educational agencies (SEAs).

The subgrantees are partnerships of a local educational agency (LEA) and a nonprofit community-based organization, a public agency other than an LEA, an institution of higher education or other public or private nonprofit organizations.

Any of the latter, with demonstrated quality, may apply in collaboration with a LEA.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Parents eligible for participation under the Adult Education Act and their children aged birth through seven. Families must be in need of Even Start services, as indicated by a low income level and low level of adult literacy or English language proficiency, or other need-related indicators.



Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

State educational agencies submit State plans to the Department of Education in accordance with requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and guidance by the Department.

Award Procedures

The Department of Education awards grants to SEAs based on their relative shares of ESEA Title I, Part A funds. SEAs award subgrants giving priority to proposals that target areas designated as empowerment zones or enterprise communities or that propose to serve families in other high-poverty areas.


Deadlines for subgrantees are set by each SEA.


Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended; Title I, Part B, Subpart 3. 20 U.S.C. 6362.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Varies with each State.




Federal formula funds are awarded to SEAs annually. Subgrants are for up to four years with annual renewals subject to approval of the SEA and the availability of funds. After the subgrant ends, an applicant may reapply for a new subgrant, but may not receive funds for longer than eight years.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The Federal share of the cost of a subgrant project is not more than 90 percent in the first year, 80 percent in the second year, 70 percent in the third year, 60 percent in the fourth year, and 50 percent in any subsequent year. Federal funds are distributed to SEAs based on their relative shares of Title I, Part A of ESEA.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Formula grants to SEAs are awarded on July 1. Funds are available for obligation and expenditure for a total of 27 months. Subgrants may not exceed 4 years in duration.

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual performance reports are required.


In accordance with the Education Department General Administrative Regulations in the Appendix to 34 CFR 80, State and local governments that receive financial assistance of $100,000 or more within the State's fiscal year shall have an audit made for that year. State and local governments that receive between $25,000 and $100,000 within the State's fiscal year shall have an audit made in accordance with the Appendix to Part 80, or in accordance with Federal laws and regulations governing the programs in which they participate.


In accordance with the General Education Provisions Act and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations, certain project records must be retained for three years.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $82,282,760; FY 08 est $66,454,399; and FY 09 est $0.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The estimated range of award is $305,690 - $7,213,753. The estimated average is $1,175,732.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

34 CFR 76 (except for 76.600-76.677), 77, 80-82, and 85; Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). For more information, contact the program office.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Department of Education, OESE Student Achievement and School Accountability 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington DC 20202-6132. Contact: Patricia McKee, E-mail: patricia.mckee@ed.gov. Telephone: (202) 260-0991.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

SEAs apply their own criteria to select subgrantees most likely to succeed in meeting the purpose of Even Start and in effectively implementing the program elements in Section 1205 and the requirements in Section 1208(a)(1) and (2), Part B, Title I of ESEA. SEAs must give priority to projects that target services to the neediest families or to projects that are located in areas designated as Empowerment Zones or Enterprise Communities under Public Law 103.66.

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