Posted: Thu, 04/06/2017 - 11:11am Updated: Tue, 09/15/2020 - 12:12pm

The Rural and Low-Income Schools (RLIS) Program provides grant funds to rural school districts that serve concentrations of children from low-income families. RLIS funds support a range of authorized activities in order to assist the school districts in meeting the state's definition of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

Awards are issued annually to IDOE, which makes sub-grants to the state's school districts that meet the applicable requirements. The amount of funding a state receives is based on its proportionate share of children in ADA in all school districts eligible to participate.

FY 2020 RLIS Application and Allocations


1. 20 percent or more of children served (ages 5-17) are from families with incomes below the poverty line


2. All schools served have a locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, and 43.

Program Description

The RLIS program is administered by IDOE which makes sub-grants available to eligible LEAs by formula each year. The RLIS Program is intended to meet the unique needs of rural and low-income districts by providing resources and flexibility to supplement select ESSA priorities. Challenges faced by these districts often include the lack of personnel and resources needed to compete effectively for Federal competitive grants and formula grant allocations in amounts too small to be effective in meeting their intended purpose.

The SRSA program is a rural school initiative administered by USDE with two components. One that provides eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) with greater flexibility in using the formula grant funds that they receive under certain State-administered Federal programs; known as REAP-Flex (alternative uses of funds authority). This component does not provide for any funding but give LEAs latitude in spending funds that they receive under other Federal programs to support a wide range of local activities that support both school improvement and student achievement. The second component is the actual awarding of SRSA funds directly to eligible LEAs from the United States Department of Education (USDE) on a formula basis.

Uses of Funds

LEAs that receive RLIS grants may use the funds to carry out the following types of activities:

  • Title I-A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by local education agencies)
    Example: A school district develops an entrepreneurial education program to supplement its civics curriculum.
  • Title II-A (Supporting Effective Instruction)
    Example: A school district pays the stipend for a prospective teacher to work alongside an effective teacher, who is the teacher of record, for a full academic year.
  • Title III (Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students)
    Example: A school district offers an afterschool enrichment program for English learners.
  • Title IV-A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment)
    Example: A school district purchases bully prevention materials for all schools.
  • Parental Involvement Activities
    Example: A school district implements a parental engagement program informing parents about strategies to improve achievement for students who are learning English or for preschool-age children.