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21st CCLC and ASSETs FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) for the 2018–19, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) Request for Applications (RFAs).

The FAQs below are based on the Expanded Learning Division Helpdesk submissions regarding the RFAs for the 21st CCLC for Elementary and Middle Schools Program and the 21st Century High School ASSETs Program. Each section below is designed to align with the layout of the RFAs.

What impact did the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) have on the 21st CCLC Program?

The ESSA was signed into law in 2015 and went into effect for the 2017–18 school year. The new legislation expanded state and local accountability for student academic achievement as well as overall success, and emphasized the importance of adopting research or evidence-based practices.

What changes have been made to the Cohort 11 21st CCLC and ASSETs Programs RFA process?

Several changes have occurred since the Cohort 10 cycle (please note this is a general list and is not meant to be all-inclusive. Applicants should refer to the respective RFA for specific requirements):

  • The addition of the Geographic Funding Distribution categories to comply with State and Federal law.
  • Current 21st CCLC sites that received a voluntary or involuntary grant reduction in After School Education and Safety (ASES) or 21st CCLC programs are ineligible for an increase in funding in fiscal year 2018–19.
  • The application narrative reviewers will provide applicants not moving forward in the review process with the Quality Designations determined for each section of the rubric.
  • Matching funds are not required for Cohort 11.
  • All After School Support and Information System (ASSIST) forms are due to the California Department of Education (CDE) at the time of application submission. Applications will be automatically disqualified if completed forms are not received by the due date.
  • The Authorized Signature or Designee and all co-applicants will be required to sign the Cover Page and several additional forms as identified on the Application Checklist to certify understanding and acceptance of the grant requirements.
What are the main differences between the 21st CCLC and ASES Programs?

The ASES Program is a state-funded grant program while the 21st CCLC Program is a federally funded program. The ASES Program is based primarily on the Free and Reduced-Price Meals (FRPM) percentage whereas the 21st CCLC Program requires a more competitive process. Each program has specific eligibility and programmatic requirements such as attendance and evaluation reporting requirements that can be found in their respective RFAs.

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The 2017–18 21st Century RFAs included instructions for ASSIST and the Financial Assistance Applicant Submittal Tool (FAAST). What happened to them?

The ASSIST and FAAST Instructions were removed from both RFAs and are now separate files on the same RFA web page as the RFAs.

I am entering grant award requests and finding that the math doesn't work out exactly right. For example, 180 days x 83 students = 112,050, or not quite the maximum request (180 days x 84 students = 113,400). Can we request an amount over the limit knowing that it will be adjusted downward to the cap?

Yes, if you calculate over the maximum legislative cap, the CDE will adjust it back down to the allowable maximum.

We would like to know whether or not it is okay to have separate signature pages for each school or if all the principals need to sign on the same page. We have several different school sites submitted in one proposal and it is not realistic to have them all sign on the same signature page.

Yes. You may submit separate pages per site, or have multiple signatures on one page.

Is it possible for a local educational agency (LEA) to submit one CCLC proposal for schools that have a currently funded expiring program and then a separate CCLC proposal for summer only programs (for currently funded sites)?

The decision to submit separate applications is ultimately up to the LEA, but you do have that option through ASSIST.

I am having problems navigating in FAAST. What do I do?

All FAAST system questions should be directed to the FAAST Helpdesk at, or by calling 1-866-434-1083. The FAAST Helpdesk is available Monday–Friday (8 a.m.–5 p.m.).

Can we include letters of support in addition to letters of agreement from key partners (e.g., a letter from a senator in support of our program)? Is there a limit to the number/pages of letters, both partnership and general letters of support?

Yes. You may include Letters of Agreement (LOAs) and/or Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs). Each file uploaded to FAAST must be less than 25 megabytes, but there is no limit on the number of files that can be uploaded under each attachment category.

Are we able to upload tables, graphs, or charts to our application narratives? What about other documents that support our program?

The FAAST system will allow the following attachments for this year’s cohort: the Core Grant Budget form from ASSIST, a Budget Narrative, MOUs/LOAs showing collaborative partnerships, and the Equitable Access Budget form (if applicable) from ASSIST.

What is the limit for the number of LOAs/MOUs that can be uploaded to FAAST as part of the application?

Each file uploaded to FAAST must be less than 25 megabytes, but there is no limit on the number of files that can be uploaded under each attachment category. Documents uploaded that are not part of the required content, will not be read.

Do the character limits in FAAST include spaces?

Yes, the character limits for each text box include spaces and punctuation.

I am submitting my narrative in FAAST but the Status tab keeps coming up as “Application in Progress (not submitted).” How do I get that changed to “Submitted as Final?”

To submit the narrative as final, you must click “Preview/Submit” button, then the “Application Completion Check” button. If that comes back satisfactory, then input the submitter’s initial into the box and click the “Submit” button to finalize the application. After submitting, you should see a confirmation screen (and you should receive an e-mail confirming submission as final). To confirm, the PIN number will appear under the “Submitted Applications” menu section rather than the “Active Applications” menu section.

Please note: FAAST narratives must be identified as “Submitted as Final” or the application narrative will be disqualified.

The RFA states that I must have signatures on several forms. ASSIST does not provide a space for a signature. What should I do?

The EXLD will waive the signature requirements on the Off-site Program information form and the Funding Priority Certification form, as a signature spot is not provided for on the ASSIST forms.

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Critical Dates for the Application Process

Is the CDE planning a webinar for this next cohort of the 21st Century Grant Program?

Yes. A webinar is tentatively planned for December 2017. If you have questions regarding an application you are submitting, you should e-mail the 21st CCLC and ASSETs Helpdesk at

Can my organization request a time extension if we think we might miss the deadline?

No. All application forms are due to the CDE and all narratives must be uploaded into FAAST no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, January 26, 2018. Postmarks will not be accepted for packets submitted to the CDE, and the online application system closes at 5 p.m. on the due date listed above.

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Program Types and Funding

Can we just apply for a before school program or do we have to apply for a before school and after school program?

Yes. An applicant may apply for a before school program without having to also apply for an after school program.

Our agency is interested in applying on behalf of three local high schools for three different following funds: ASSETs: Base Grant, Equitable Access, and Summer. Will one grant application suffice for all of these funds?

Yes, you may apply for several school sites with several program types under one application. However, the 21st CCLC Elementary/Middle and ASSETs Programs require separate applications.

If we are applying for a 21st CCLC summer grant, can we use the funds to support programs on the weekends?

Yes. Although weekends were not specifically mentioned in the RFA, Education Code Section 8483.76[a] states that a program is eligible to receive a summer grant to operate the program in excess of 180 regular schooldays or during any combination of summer, weekends, intersession, or vacation periods.

What is the max cap for summer programs?

Summer grants may not exceed 30 percent of a school’s total annual grant amount. For example, if an elementary school receives the maximum grant amount of $112,500, their summer grant cannot exceed $33,750.

If we have an existing after school program, can we use 21st CCLC funds to add a summer school program?

Yes. All applicants requesting a summer school program must also be requesting funding for a before or after school program in this application, or be requesting a summer program for a site with an existing before or after school program (either ASES or 21st CCLC base).

What is the difference between after school base and after school summer?

After school base is an after school program provided during the regular school year that operates every regular school day. After school summer (formerly known as supplemental), is outside of the regular school year that may operate during intersession, vacation, and summer periods.

In the 21st CCLC RFA there is language for a large school adjustment, but no such language appears in the ASSETs RFA. Therefore, it appears that a small high school with 400 students and a large high school with 3000 students could both receive the same amount of funding. Is this correct?

That is correct. Refer to Program Types and Funding in the RFA for information on the minimum and maximum amount allowed for ASSETS programs.

When requesting summer funds that do not exceed 30 percent of the total grant amount, does that total include Equitable Access funds or just the base and summer funding total?

Summer max cap calculations do not include Equitable Access, but do include all other before and after school programs, including ASES (if it is a dual-funded site).

Can a high school ASSETs program apply for Equitable Access funds?

Yes. Equitable Access funds are available for both 21st CCLC and ASSETs Programs for up to $25,000 per school site per year. However, applicants must have received funding for their Cohort 11 base grant in order to be considered for Equitable Access funds.

Can we apply for just Equitable Access funds?

No. Only sites funded with a 21st CCLC or ASSETs after school base grant, through this RFA process, will be considered for Equitable Access funds.

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Eligibility Requirements

Who is eligible to apply for 21st CCLC funds?

New Applicants that meet the requirements of 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) §7173(a)(3), which states:

  1. The CDE will award eligible entities that serve:

    1. Students who primarily attend:

      1. (I) Schools implementing comprehensive support and improvement activities or targeted support and improvement activities under section 6311(d) of this title; and

      2. (II) Other schools determined by the local educational agency to be in need of intervention and support; and

    2. The families of such students; and

  2. Will further give priority to eligible entities that propose in the application to serve students described in sub-clauses (I) and (II) of section 7174(i)(1)(A)(i) of this title.

Current 21st CCLC grantees that are:

  1. Applying for funding at additional school sites (that are eligible per the requirements stated above), or

  2. Proposing to increase current school site funding to the legislative cap.
Are schools eligible to apply for grant funding if they meet the Title I criteria, but are not listed or designated in a formal manner as Title I?

No. Based on the federal law (see 20 U.S.C. §7174 [b][2][F]), a school must be designated as a Title I school in order to be eligible to apply.

Are districts eligible to apply for grant funding if they are not listed or designated as a Title I district?

Yes. As long as the school listed on their application is designated as Title I and the district is proposing to serve Title I students.

We have a 501(c)(3) enrichment center. Do we apply as the agency or do we need to partner with a LEA?

Eligible entities may apply without an LEA partner, but the eligible entity will not qualify for the joint submission funding priority. When applying without an LEA partner, the eligible entity must still have approval to provide services at a public school from the public school’s LEA in the form of the LEA’s Authorized Signature on the cover page of the application. Applications without the LEA approval, will be disqualified with one exception. This exception is when the eligible entity intends to provide services at a site other than a public school, they do not need the LEA’s permission. Instead, they must have informed the LEA of their intention to provide after school services to the students at the public school site, and have record of doing so upon audit request.

I have a kindergarten through twelfth grade school. Can I apply for 21st CCLC (for my elementary/middle school students) and ASSETs (for my high school students) using just one application in ASSIST or FAAST?

No. You will need to apply to both RFAs separately since the 21st CCLC Elementary/Middle Program serves grades kindergarten through eighth grade and the ASSETs Program serves nine through twelfth grade.

Can an ASES program that is funded at the maximum level with a waiting list apply for this funding to increase the capacity of their expanded learning program?

Yes. A currently funded ASES grantee may apply for 21st CCLC funds.

Are municipal departments allowed to apply for this funding, or is it just schools? In order to qualify, will the program need to take place at a school site—or will community centers and parks work?

Yes. Per the RFA Eligibility Requirements, a public entity, city and county government agencies, organization, or other private entities may apply for 21st CCLC funds provided they propose to serve Title I schools that have school wide programs. However, in order to receive funding priority consideration, the application must be jointly submitted by at least one Title 1 LEA and another eligible entity. Applicants proposing to operate an after school program at a site other than that of the regular school day activity, must complete the Off-site Program Information form (part of the ASSIST forms identified in the Application Checklist in the RFA). The program site must be located at a safe and easily accessible facility.

Does a private non-profit have to apply using the Non-Electronic Application if there are LEA-involved schools with County-District-School (CDS) codes?

Private schools have CDS codes. Only those applicants with pending CDS codes would need to use the Non-Electronic Application since a valid CDS code would be needed to generate an application in ASSIST. All other applicants with active CDE codes must apply using the ASSIST.

My school does not have a CDS code yet. Can I still apply for 21st CCLC funding?

The school must have an active or pending CDS code or status as a charter school as verified by the CDE Charter School Division at the time the application is submitted. Although applications that have school sites with pending CDS codes or charter school status are accepted during the application process, the CDE cannot provide funds to any school site unless the CDS code is active.

If we received a voluntary or involuntary grant reduction for 2017–18, can we apply for an increase in funding in 2018–19?

No. Current 21st CCLC sites that have received a voluntary or involuntary grant reduction in ASES or 21st CCLC programs in fiscal year 2017–18 due to the agency not meeting the requirements of the grant in the prior RFA, are ineligible for an increase in funding in fiscal year 2018–19 through this RFA. If an agency can demonstrate that a substantial change has occurred that no longer warrants the voluntary or involuntary reduction, the CDE may consider the agency's application for increased funding.

Will our application be disqualified if the Cover Page is not signed by our Superintendent and our two Co-Applicants?

Yes. The Cohort 11 application process is “all inclusive,” meaning required forms are to be signed and submitted to the CDE at the time of application submission or the application will be disqualified. However, if the application is signed by the Superintendent only, but not by the two co-applicants, the co-applicants will both be dropped from the application, but the application will still move forward as a single applicant submission. In this scenario, the application will not receive funding priority for a joint submission since neither co-applicant signed the application.

Will our school sites be disqualified if we do not have the Principal’s signatures on the Signature and Approvals form?

Yes. The Cohort 11 application process is “all inclusive,” meaning required forms are to be signed and submitted to the CDE at the time of application submission or the application will be disqualified.

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Application and Program Requirements

What is the geographic range that we should consider when identifying private schools? Would identifying all the private schools in each charter school’s zip code be sufficient?

To identify the private schools located in the attendance area, please visit the CDE California School Directory web page. Applicants must retain documentation of private school consultation for audit and state monitoring purposes. Please see additional information and guidance regarding private school consultation requirements on the Guidance Document web page.

In Cohort 10, we were required to provide a match. Will a match be required for Cohort 11?

No. Applicants in Cohort 11 will not be required to provide a local match, and the requirement for a match in Cohort 10 has been removed.

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Application Reviewers and Quality Designation

How was the scoring rubric developed?

The application scoring rubrics for both 21st CCLC and ASSETs were developed by subject matter experts based on the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California.

Where can I find the California Quality Standards?

The Quality Standards can be found on the AfterSchool Network External link opens in new window or tab. web page.

Cohort 10 was scored by the reviewers on a pass/no pass basis in order to get to the priority funding step. Is the same process in effect for Cohort 11?

The process for Cohort 11 is as follows:

Qualified reviewers will read and determine a quality designation for application narratives using the FAAST online system. All school sites within the grant application narrative will receive the same Overall Quality Designations for each section of the rubric.
  1. Applications describing quality programs (passing) will move forward in the review process for Funding Priority determination. Priority will then be applied to those applications that are moving forward in the review process.

  2. Applications not describing quality programs (not passing) will not move forward in the review process for Funding Priority determination and applicants will be notified in writing. Those that are notified in writing will also receive their Quality Designation for each section of the rubric. Priority will not be applied to those applications that are not moving forward in the review process.
For Cohort 10 the reviewers did not pass our application narrative and we never received feedback on how our application was scored, just that we were out of the review process. Are we going to get some kind of feedback this year if we do not pass the reviewer screening?

Yes. Applicants not moving forward in the review process will receive feedback in writing on the Quality Designation given by reviewers for each of the components in the rubric. These will be the only “comments” that applicants receive.

Last Cohort we submitted several 21st CCLC and ASSETs applications. Some of the reviewers passed our applications and some of the reviewers did not pass our applications. What happened?

Application narratives are randomly assigned to readers in FAAST. Therefore, if one agency submits multiple applications, it is not guaranteed that they will be read by the same reviewer, which could result in some applications passing and some applications not passing.

Note: The professional judgement of the reader is not appealable.

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Funding Priority

What is the application review and funding determination process and how does that tie in to funding priority?

Application narratives are reviewed for quality based on the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California External link opens in new window or tab.. Those determined to be of passing quality are then considered for school level funding based on the priority categories for each school site. The required priority categories are outlined in both state and federal statute (see the 21st CCLC and ASSETs RFAs for the specific categories).

Funding priority begins with school sites that meet six priority items (21st CCLC) and five priority items (ASSETs) and will continue as far down into subsequent priority groups as funding is available. If there are more applications than available funds within a priority group, then applications will be ordered, and funded, from highest to lowest percent FRPM. If there are two equal FRPM scores within a priority item group, then the Overall Quality Designation will be used as a tiebreaker. This process will continue until all funds are exhausted in each Geographic Funding Distribution category.
What is the difference between a Co-Applicant and Jointly Submitted application?

Technically, they are the same thing although the state term is “co-applicant” and the federal term is “jointly submitted.” If you submit an application with one or more co-applicant(s), you are accepting all responsibilities equally with that/those co-applicant(s) and considered by the CDE as having jointly submitted an application. In this case, the application would receive priority for a joint submission with a co-applicant.

Our application has multiple partnerships with community organizations; does my application have to list each of them as co-applicants in order to receive priority?

The application can have multiple partnerships with community organizations and does not have to list all, or any of the partners as co-applicants. However, in order to receive priority-funding consideration at least one of those partners must apply as a co-applicant in order to receive priority for that item.

Our organization works with several different partners but we do not want to give importance to one partner over the other. Does the co-applicant have to be just one of them or can we co-apply with all of the partners?

Co-applicants are entities that apply together and are both equally responsible to the CDE for the implementation of the grant requirements. When describing potential partners in this question you may be thinking of those entities that you may have MOUs or other local agreements with who are not an applicant in the application submitted to CDE. There are no restrictions on these local MOUs or other agreements that you may enter into to supply services. However, to receive the joint submission priority credit, at least one LEA and one eligible entity must apply as co-applicants.

If an LEA wants to submit the application with more than one applicant, is this allowable?

Yes, we used to call this a consortium. We do not disqualify or limit based on the number of co-applicants. Agencies can apply with multiple co-applicants as long as the co-applicants complete and sign all the necessary forms as stated in the RFAs. This would meet the jointly submitted requirement and receive priority for that item.

Are the "key partners" mentioned in the Collaborative Partnerships section of the 21st CCLC RFA the same thing as the "jointly submitting entity" mentioned in the Funding Priorities of the application?

Not necessarily. A partner may be a co-applicant as part of a joint application submission, but not all partners need to be a co-applicant. Collaborative partners can also be non-applicant organizations in your community that you work with to provide services to after school programs and students.

We do not understand how a school can meet all seven priority items listed in the ASSETs RFA in order to receive first priority for funding. How can a school meet all the priorities?

Each of these priorities are evaluated separately according to statute; therefore, each site may receive priority for different circumstances compared to another site. According to both federal and state law, funding priority shall be given to 21st Century applications and/or schools if they meet any of the priority criteria. The breakdown of priority below the specific criteria listed in the RFA is to provide an example for what the process looks like and what possible priorities a site may qualify for.

Do we meet the priority if we (County Office of Education that is a non-title I LEA proposing to serve Title I students) are the lead applicant or do we also need to include one of the Title I districts as a co-applicant in order to meet that part of the priorty?

The requirement to receive priority for that item is the application is jointly submitted by at least one Title I LEA and another eligible entity as full partners; so yes, you would have to co-apply with another eligible entity who would then also have to sign the cover page of the application. Simply including a signed MOU would not meet the priority funding requirements since that would only demonstrate a collaborative local agreement for services between entities, and does not meet the definition of jointly submitted as defined in the RFAs.

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Geographic Funding Distribution

I am a school site located in a Northern California rural area but my district (who is applying on my behalf) is located in a Northern California urban setting. Will my site be eligible for the rural or urban setting?

Geographic Funding Distribution will be determined by each individual school site location; therefore, the school site will fall in the Northern California rural designation. Please refer to the respective RFA for additional information.

How do I find out which geographic area I am in?

The CDE will utilize the geographic boundaries as defined by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, which defines Northern California as regions 1–4, inclusive; Central California as regions 5–8, inclusive; and Southern California as regions 9–11, inclusive.

How do I determine whether my site is under the urban or rural designation?

Please use the National Center for Education Statistics online tool External link opens in new window or tab.. Using the search criteria, enter the state and district names, then choose the specific site name from the search results. Next scroll down to the classification code.

The classification code will be the same information the CDE uses to determine whether a site is urban versus rural.

Urban Classifications

11—City, Large

12—City, Midsize

13—City, Small

21—Suburb, Large

22—Suburb, Midsize

23—Suburb, Small

Rural Classifications

31—Town, Fringe

32—Town, Distant

33—Town, Remote

41—Rural, Fringe

42—Rural, Distant

43—Rural, Remote

How does the Geographic Funding Distribution work?

Applications will be geographically distributed into six funding categories (northern-urban, northern-rural, central-urban, central-rural, southern-urban, and southern-rural) and be ordered for each individual school site based on funding priority first, then FRPM percentage.

How much is available in each Geographic Funding Category?

Funding amounts per geographic funding category will be based on the statutory requirements for how funds are to be allocated for 21st Century, and will be based on the percentage of students that qualify for FRPM as compared to the statewide total number of students, per geographic category.

What happens if there are not enough quality applications in each Geographic Funding Distribution category? Will the funding be redistributed?

If there are not enough quality applications for a category, the funds will be redistributed into other categories. For example, the Northern Rural funds will be redistributed to the Central and Southern Rural categories; and the Southern Urban funds will be redistributed to the Central and North Urban categories. Every effort will be made by the CDE to completely fund a site to its fully requested amount.

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Questions:   Expanded Learning Division | | 916-319-0923
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 11, 2020
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