Archived Information

Second Round of i3 Provides $150 Million to Continue Scaling-Up, Validating and Developing Effective Education Innovations

New Priorities Include Improving Educational Opportunities in Rural Schools and STEM

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Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov


The U.S. Department of Education announced that $150 million will be available for the next round of Investing in Innovation (i3) grants to continue support for evidence-based practices in education. Individual school districts, groups of districts, and nonprofits in partnership with districts or a consortium of schools are invited to apply.

Award amounts have been adjusted to ensure that applicants have sufficient funding to carry out program goals while enabling the Department to fund as many high-quality applications as possible. Grants will be available within the same three categories as in round one:

  • Up to $25 million each will be available for Scale-up grants to applicants with the strongest evidence and track records of success;
  • Up to $15 million each will be available for Validation grants to verify effectiveness for programs with moderate levels of evidence;
  • Up to $3 million each will be available for Development grants to support new and high-potential practices whose impact should be studied further.

Grant recipients will be required to secure private sector matching funds of 5%, 10%, or 15%, respectively.

For the second round, the Department has included two new absolute priorities focusing on achievement and high school graduation rates in rural schools and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The three absolute priorities that remain from last year's competition include, supporting effective teachers and principals, implementing high standards and quality assessments, and turning around persistently low-performing schools. All applicants must address one of these five key areas of reform.

"Smart innovation and entrepreneurship has the ability to dramatically accelerate student achievement and attainment," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The next round of i3 grants will add to the growing portfolio of new and emerging successful practices in education and invest in ideas that help supply teachers and students with the tools they need to be successful."

In addition, competitive preference will be given to grantees that demonstrate support for improving early learning outcomes, increasing college access and success, addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students, or improving productivity or technology.

"Extraordinary work is happening throughout the country with the potential to not only transform our education system but invest in our economy and ensure equal access to a high-quality education for thousands more students," said Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement. "The Investing in Innovation fund will continue to support promising and proven projects that elevate student performance, close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, and attract, support and retain high-quality teachers and principals."

In round one, the i3 program received overwhelming interest from nearly 1,700 applicants. The Department awarded a total of 49 grants to a cross section of school districts and nonprofit organizations.

To aid the i3 application process, the Department will offer pre-application workshops in the coming weeks along with several webinars on key i3 topics. Notices Inviting Applications for each of the three grant categories will be published today in the Federal Register, and applications will be due on Aug. 2, 2011. Awards will be made no later than Dec. 31, 2011.

To read the notices inviting applications for new awards, please visit: