Title III Plan Development FAQsFrequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in developing and improving Title III plans and programs.
1. When developing the Title III plan, how can a local educational agency (LEA) use Title III funds?
An LEA must use Title III funds to supplement state language instruction educational programs designed to assist English learners’ achievement goals. The state educational agency, LEAs, and schools are accountable for increasing the English proficiency and core academic content knowledge of English learner students. Below are some examples of authorized use of funds.
Examples of Title III English Learner Authorized Uses of Funds
- Professional Development for English language development (ELD), bilingual, and/or mainstream staff who work with English learners that meets all of the following conditions:
- designed to improve the instruction and assessment of English learners;
- designed to enhance the ability of teachers to understand and use curricula, assessment measures, and instructional strategies;
- supported by evidence-based research as effective in increasing students' English proficiency; and
- of sufficient intensity and duration to have a positive and lasting impact on the teacher's performance in the classroom (not a one-time offering, but part of a comprehensive, ongoing plan of development).
- Improve English language proficiency, academic achievement, and instructional programs for English learners
- Develop and implement effective language instruction educational programs that are coordinated with other relevant programs and services
- Identify, acquire, and upgrade:
- Program objectives and effective instructional strategies
- Curricula for consideration to replace the core curriculum or the curricula of extended day or summer language assistance programs for English learners (i.e. curricula pilots)
- Assessment procedures to replace current supplemental assessment procedures that are not associated with identification (i.e. supplemental assessment pilot)
- Intensified instruction programs, supplemental tutorials, and academic or career and technical education for English learners
- Early college high school or dual or concurrent enrollment programs or courses designed to help English learners achieve success in postsecondary education
- Extended day or summer programs
- Programs for English learners that extend beyond Title I or other summer school time
- Community/family/parent programs
- Programs for Title III parents and families that extend or enhance the core programs (Note: translated versions of what is provided to English-only parents is not an acceptable use of funds.)
- Community participation programs
- Family literacy services/parent outreach
- Training activities
- Materials/supplies/technology for English learners
- Supplemental curricular materials
- Classroom supplies that are not required for basic instruction or provided in other programs
- Educational software/technology for Title III purposes that is not provided in other programs
- Access to, and participation in, electronic networks for materials, training, and communication focused on Title III purposes and not provided in other programs
- Translation services
- Title III specific translation and interpretation activities (this does not include state-required document translation or translation to fulfill civil rights obligations)
- Staff working with English learners
- Additional teachers (not in a core assignment) who are uniquely assigned to English learners (above the LEA’s full-time equivalent ceiling), and providing support for activities that supplement the students’ schedule
- Paraprofessionals who do not provide the same services as those in another state or federal program
- Supplemental staff salary that is provided for work beyond the contracted duties, time, etc.
Examples of Title III Immigrant Authorized Uses of Funds
(NOTE: Title III Immigrant funds are distinct from Title III English learner funds and should be used for authorized activities that are specifically focused on immigrant students and families.)
- Supplemental language assistance programs for immigrant students and their families
- Summer programs and tutorials
- Extended day school programs
- Supplemental staff salary that is not included in base contract definitions
- Family literacy/parent activities for the parents of immigrant students that is specific to the purposes of Title III services
- Family literacy services
- Parent/family outreach
- Training activities to assist parents to become active participants in the education of their children (i.e., programs of introduction to the U.S. for immigrant students and families such as educational systems and/or civics education)
- Professional Development
- Recruitment and training of teachers and paraprofessionals specifically trained to provide services to immigrant students and families
- Mentoring/academic and career counseling for immigrant students
- Materials/supplies/technology for immigrant students
- Transportation costs
- For activities focused solely on immigrant students and families that fulfill the purposes of Title III only
- Cultural accommodations to assist families with transportation to school
- Activities coordinated with outside agencies
- Activities coordinated with community-based organizations, institutes of higher education (IHEs), private sector, or other entities that assist parents and families of immigrant children and youth by offering comprehensive services
2. What does it mean to "braid" funds?
Title III funds can be “braided” with other funding sources to support collaboration and efficiency across multiple programs as long as the supporting activities can be clearly delineated by funding source. For example: An LEA has set an overall goal to improve reading skills district-wide and delineates the supporting activities in their plan the following way:
- For all children reading below grade level, some combination of the core reading program with additional highly specific supplemental reading materials and intervention programs will be used for reading instruction (funded by the General Fund).
- All students will have access to a reading lab that provides one-on-one tutoring, workshops, instructional print material, reading software, and general assessments using standardized reading tests (funded by Title I).
- Our English learners who are struggling with reading will receive additional support from bilingual assistants in areas such as vocabulary instruction and fluency-building on oral reading rate and comprehension (funded by Title III).
3. When should an LEA NOT use Title III funds?
Title III funds must not be used when, in the absence of a Title III grant, the instructional program or service for English learners would be provided under another funding source, or if the program or service would be required by other laws or regulations. Federal funds are intended to improve outcomes for disadvantaged students, in addition to, not in place of, state investments. When Title III funds are used in place of state investments, it is supplanting.
Examples of activities that indicate supplanting and are not allowed are:
- Using Title III funds for training the parents of English learners when the same training is provided to all other parents using other funds
- Using Title III funds to provide a program or service that has previously been funded by another funding source. (NOTE: Maintenance of effort rules apply and Title III cannot be used to take the place of those funds.)
- Using other funding sources, in combination with Title III, for the same activity
- Using Title III funds in lieu of another funding source for which the English learner is also qualified
- Using federal funds for a service or activity that is state-mandated (i.e., implementation of an English language proficiency assessment)
- Using Title III funds to purchase materials used as primary instructional materials (frequency of use/core curriculum)
- Using Title III funds to purchase a teacher’s desk
4. How does an LEA determine whether a program or service would be required by other laws or regulations?
To make this determination, LEAs should consider the following:
- What instructional program or service is provided to all students?
- LEAs are obligated to ensure that English learners have access to all programs and services provided to the general student population. If the program and/or service is provided to all other students using other funding sources (i.e., the General Fund), then it must be provided to English learners, as well, via the same funding source.
- What does the LEA do to meet the requirements of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act
(20 United States Code Section 1703)?
- This case law requires that each educational agency take appropriate action to ensure English learners overcome language barriers that impede equal participation in its instructional programs. If a program and/or service is provided to meet Lau v. Nichols requirements, it is a civil rights provision and must not be funded by Title III.
- What services is the LEA required to provide by other federal, state, and local laws or regulations?
- English learners that qualify must have access to programs and/or services that are required by other federal, state, and local laws or regulations. Costs associated with providing this access must not be funded by Title III.
- Was the program or service previously provided with state, local, or other federal funds?
- Costs must be awarded consistent treatment. Maintenance of Effort requires districts to demonstrate that the level of state and local funding remains relatively constant from year to year. Activities cannot be “transferred” from some funding sources to Title III.
5. What is the limit on the amount of Title III funds that can be used for direct administrative costs?
An LEA may use no more than two percent of an English learner student subgrant for direct administrative costs, including such items as salaries of project personnel, clerical support, and other costs directly incurred in the administration of the program. Using more than two percent of the eligibility amount for direct administrative costs is not allowed.
6. What is the limit on the amount of Title III funds that can be used for indirect expenses?
An LEA is authorized to assess its approved indirect cost rate to the portion of the subgrant that is not reserved for direct administration costs. An indirect cost rate is the percentage of an organization’s indirect costs to its direct costs and is a standardized method of charging individual programs for their share of indirect costs.
(NOTE: The rate should be used in the fiscal year the funds are expended, which is not necessarily the same as the fiscal year the funds are appropriated, received, or encumbered. For instance, if money for a program is received in May 2020, which is part of fiscal year 2019–20, but the funds are not expended until fiscal year 2020–21, then the indirect cost rate approved for use in 2020–21 should be used when claiming indirect costs. This is because the indirect cost rate is meant to allow for recovery of costs in the fiscal year the expenditures are incurred, not the year the money may have become available.)