This 2023, the state of Virginia is offering a $1,500 grant to “any public, private, parochial or home-school student in grades K-12 residing in Virginia” of school age. These grants are called “K-12 Learning Acceleration Grants ” and must be used to pay for “qualifying education services.”
The intended purpose of this grant is “to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ educational progress and well-being.” It is reparations for the accidental damage done to childhood education by the lockdowns. It is an apology, not a welfare check. For this reason, there is grant money available for families of all income levels. If you have a child in K-12 for the 2023-2024 term, you can take advantage of this grant without any concern.
As the frequently asked questions explain:
After you apply for your K-12 Learning Acceleration Grant and receive the notice of award, you must respond to the notification, access your ClassWallet Account, and accept the Parent Agreement and Acknowledgement for the grant. You may then immediately select and purchase services from an approved tutor or educational service provider for your child through your ClassWallet Account. Parents must activate their ClassWallet Account with 14 days of the grant award and begin expending the grant funds in 30 days, or the funds will be returned to the Commonwealth of Virginia for distribution to benefit other children’s learning needs.
In addition to using a preapproved provider and needing to spend the grant money rather quickly, the grant money must also be used only for:
- Tutoring in core content areas (English reading/writing, mathematics, science and history/social science) and foreign languages required to meet graduation requirements. Tutoring may be in-person, virtual or hybrid, and in one-on-one, small group or large-group settings.
- Purchasing of assistive technologies specified in a child’s Individualized Education Plan or 504 Plan.
- Specialized educational therapy services and supports, including speech language therapy, specialized reading instruction and other services provided by a licensed practitioner.
The list of approved services is only available once the grant has been awarded, making it difficult to know if you should bother applying at all. Thankfully, several companies have advertised that they are on the list by creating guides on how to use grant money on their platform. The ones I was able to locate via a web search were:
- Outschool advertises that its 1-on-1 tutoring classes are eligible.
- Educational Connections advertises that their tutoring is eligible.
- Learning Rx advertises that their cognitive testing is eligible.
- Compass Classes advertises that “Compass Fall 2023 classes have an asterisk (*) following the name of Qualifying Classes.”
To apply, you can click the “$1,500 Standard Application ” button on the Virginia Department of Education website here . Or, for families within 300% or less of the federal poverty line, you can use the “$3,000 Income-Qualified Application” to means-test your application and potentially receive double the grant.
The Standard Application requires your full name, mailing address, email, phone number, social security number, date of birth, county, and relationship to the student. If you are married or share support of your child with another adult, it also requires your co-applicant’s name, social security number, and date of birth. Then, it requires the student’s name and date of birth as well as “additional student questions” of:
- Ethnicity (American Indian, Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, White, Multiple Races)
- Sex (Male, Female)
- Does this student have a disability (an IEP or 504 plan)?
- Is this student’s birthdate BEFORE August 2, 2003?
- What type of school did this student attend in the 2021-2022 school year?
- What type of school does this student attend in the 2022-2023 school year?
- Does this student participate in the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits (EISTC) Program?
- Does this student primarily attend school virtually or in-person?
- (yes/no) This student is homeless
- (yes/no) This student is an English language learner
- (yes/no) This student is military connected
- (yes/no) This student is in foster care
Lastly, you will need to upload proof of your address verification such as a driver’s license, mortgage statement, or utility bill. If you are applying for the means-tested one, you will also need to upload a copy of your 2022 Federal Tax Return Form 1040 Page 1 and 2. You can upload the document(s) by image or by PDF.
The image upload is very picky. On a crisp scanned image, the system stated that it was too blurry and, because I rotated the image so the words were upright, they state that “Image Orientation – Horizontal images are not supported.” In the end, I was not able to fix the complaints, but the system tolerated a PDF version of the same image on the first try.
The grants are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis until the $30 million has been granted. Once the $1,500 grant is awarded, you must start spending the money within 30 days, have half spent by August 15, and finish spending it all by December 15 to take full advantage of the grant.
Photo by Patricia Prudente on Unsplash. Image has been cropped.