Award Information

Award Information

Budget Requirements: To support States in planning their budgets, the Department has developed budget caps for each State. These are listed below. The Department will not consider for funding an application from a State that proposes a budget that exceeds the applicable cap set for that State. The Department developed the following categories by ranking every State according to its share of the national population of children ages birth through five years old from low-income families, and identifying the natural breaks. Then, based on population, we developed budget caps for each category. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2009. American Community Survey (ACS) 1-year Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data)

  • Category 1 – up to $100M – California, Florida, New York, Texas
  • Category 2 – up to $70M –Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania
  • Category 3 –up to $60M – Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin
  • Category 4 – up to $50M – Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

In addition to considering other relevant factors (see 34 CFR 75.217(d)(3)), the selection of grantees may consider the need to ensure that systems are developed in States with large, high-poverty, rural communities (including States with high percentages of high-poverty populations in rural areas, as well as States with high absolute numbers of high-poverty individuals in rural areas), and awards may be granted to high-quality applications out of rank order to meet this need. The grant period for this award is December 31, 2011 through December 31, 2015.


Support states by providing a two-tiered funding opportunity, including foundational grants for all interested states that is sufficient to support system changes and competitive grants to develop fully comprehensive state early childhood policy systems in 5-10 leading states. The ELC is a unique opportunity to also push and support every state to take new leadership on behalf of young children

The Early Intervention Family Alliance (EIFA) is a national group of family leaders dedicated to improving outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The EIFA represents family leaders involved in Part C programs in states and other jurisdictions implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

The EIFA is excited by the prospect of the Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge Grants and provide the following comments on the proposed Grant Competition. We appreciate the requirement that any grant recipient continue to provide services under Part C of IDEA. We would however encourage the Administration to require that States continue to provide services under the most recent State Application and not reduce eligibility during the term of the grant. As parent leaders we know that programs like Part C can not only support children but also their parents. We are all parent leaders as a direct result of our Part C programs and we are committed to assisting other parents to become parent leaders and forge parent-professional partnerships.

Darla Gundler
Early Intervention Family Alliance

We support the existing approach outlined in the draft but also recommend that the Departments consider reserving a portion of the $500 million to create a foundational grant opportunity available to all states. Consistent with the Departments’ planned framework, this opportunity would enable states to develop and implement high-quality early learning standards and/or a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). States would be permitted to apply for both the foundational and the competitive grant, and all applicants meeting the criterion for the foundational grant could participate.

This additional opportunity would hold particular promise for building the quality and infrastructure necessary for states to eventually achieve the Early Learning Challenge’s vision. While there are at least a dozen states who could successfully participate in the Early Learning Challenge as outlined, continuing to support a broad swath of state leaders in their efforts to create a high-quality early learning system is critically important to our children’s education and to our country’s economic future. Embracing as many states as possible to engage in this work would help establish the prerequisites for their future success. The foundational grant opportunity is a cost-effective approach that will help provide focus, allow more states to make significant progress, and promote sustainability of the important work that the Departments have outlined.

Tribes have some of the highest poverty populations in the United States but are excluded from this section.

It would be helpful to understand what will happen if funds are not completely allocated to winning states... Could a winning state automatically become eligible for an increase from unawarded funds? This is what recently happened with the current RTTT grant process.

Early childhood is so completely underfunded that every dollar is essential.

JM Gruendel, CT

From what demographics was the ranking achieved? Was this from raw numbers? Is there any consideration to the legal status of a family when using federal dollars? In stating your ranking, you need to be more specific about your data.