This suite of federal grants, offered by varying government agencies including the USDA, the US Department of Education, and even specific scholarship foundations, specialize in addressing a diverse range of everyday necessities in a typical public school environment.
Many states take advantage of the famed National School Lunch Program, a grant which awards both monetary funds and food donations through state agencies to participating public and private schools. This widely-utilized grant program, managed by the US Department of Agriculture, ensures that students nationwide will never have to go hungry during the school day, and is typically available for kids with household income levels that are below 130% of the poverty line. (Families with slightly higher household incomes of 130-185% may also qualify for free lunches or noticeably reduced lunch rates, depending on the annual guidelines set by the USDA.)
A number of inspired yet not as well-known grants have piggy-backed onto this early initiative to provide nutritional and additional meals for students, like the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which reimburses low-income elementary schools for the purchase of healthy fresh produce, and the School Breakfast Program, which like its complimentary National School Lunch grant, offers free at-school breakfasts for children in need.
Good nutrition and a full belly are instrumental for learning and retaining information in any school, but there are also grants available to take a basic classroom lesson to a higher and altogether rewarding level.
These federal grants are awarded to states, schools, and even individual teachers and student groups for the sole purpose of expanding a topic of study to an enriching and community-wide platform. A prime example of this type of grant in action is the Christopher Columbus Awards, a project grant administered by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, which challenges teams of middle school students, advised by a coach, to identify an issue in their community and apply an innovative solution. These types of federal grants are enticing options for teachers, parents and students alike, as they provide the extra funds needed to learn well outside the boundaries of a classroom, while making a school's hometown a better place to live.
Teachers, administrators, and the next wave of educators also benefit from federal grants which ensure that the professionals that teach children in both public and private school settings are top-notch, and have access to all the educational tools required to succeed. These federal grant programs, like the Freida J. Riley Teacher Award or the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Program provide funds for exceptional teachers and would-be educators who deserve recognition, and / or want to further their career aspirations by returning to school for advanced degrees and training. More general scholarship programs, like the Harry S Truman Scholarship Program or the Federal Pell Grant Program ensure that students who excel on the high school level, despite their income level, have an opportunity to attend college and put their hard-earned years of dedicated study to good use.
Essentially, federal grants are available from the ground up for the current crop of students who are filing back into the classrooms, and the wealth of programs available deserve to be examined by state administrators, school systems, educators, and even parents who want to make sure that their children receive the best education possible. Available to state entities and individuals alike, the abundance of educational-themed grants offered by the federal government help ensure that every young American makes the absolute most out of their back-to-school days.