Title III FAQsFrequently asked questions about administrative, programmatic, and accountability features of Title III English learners and immigrant student programs.
These frequently asked questions are intended to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Title III provisions. Applicable legal citations are included.
- Funding of Subgrants to Local Educational Agencies
- Private Schools
- Use of Funds
- Parental Engagement
- Immigrant Student Education Program
- Former Accountability Requirements
What is the purpose of Title III, as reauthorized by the ESSA?
Title III is officially known as the Language Instruction for English Learner and Immigrant Students Act. Section 3102 lists the purpose of the law. The overarching purpose is to ensure that English learner (EL) students, including immigrant children and youth, attain English language proficiency (ELP) and meet the same challenging state academic standards that other students are expected to meet.
LEAs must use Title III funds to supplement state language instruction educational programs, designed to assist EL students’ achievement goals. The state educational agency (SEA), LEAs, and schools are accountable for increasing the ELP and core academic content knowledge of EL students. For more information regarding ESEA (PDF), visit the U.S. Department of Education Bills web page.
What achievement goals apply to EL students under Title III?
SEAs, LEAs, and schools are required to assist EL students to meet the same state academic standards that all children are expected to meet, and implement measures of ELP. (Title III, sections 3102(2), 3115(a).)
How will the U.S. Department of Education determine the amount of the Title III grant to award to California?
The U.S. Department of Education determines the grant award to the states by using a formula based on the number of EL and immigrant students enrolled in the state. Ninety-five percent of the apportionment will be allocated as subgrants to eligible LEAs serving EL and/or immigrant students. (Title III, Section 3111(a), (b)(1).)
Must an LEA reapply each year for Title III funds?
Yes. Each fiscal year all applicants must reapply and maintain an updated plan for funds allocated for that fiscal year, and meet reporting requirements. (Title III, sections 3114(a), 3115(a), 3121(a)(b).)
How can an LEA reapply each year for Title III funds?Each fiscal year, eligible LEAs must indicate their acceptance of Title III funds through the application process, and sign assurances of compliance with the Title III statute and regulations using the Consolidated Application and Reporting System (CARS).
Which LEAs are eligible for EL and/or immigrant student subgrants?
LEAs—which include school districts, county offices of education (COE), and direct-funded charter schools—that enrolled one or more EL and/or immigrant students during the previous fiscal year are eligible. In the case of immigrant education funds, the LEA must also meet the enrollment criteria for eligible immigrant students. (See the Immigrant Student Education section below for additional details.)
Are private schools eligible to receive Title III funds?
No. Because private schools are not LEAs, they are not eligible to receive Title III funds. However, EL and immigrant students enrolled in not-for-profit private schools may receive Title III services provided by public schools in their geographical jurisdiction (ESEA, Section 8501). See the Private Schools section in this document for additional details on private school participation.
What is the process for private schools to participate in Title III EL programs?
ESEA, Section 8501, requires LEAs to consult in a timely and meaningful manner with private schools and determine which private schools request participation. Services must be provided on an equitable basis. Additional details are provided in the Private Schools section of this document.
How does the California Department of Education (CDE) allocate Title III funds to eligible LEAs?
The CDE provides subgrants to LEAs for EL and eligible immigrant students on the basis of a formula. For the fiscal year, qualifying LEAs will receive an allocation for each eligible EL student and for each eligible immigrant student enrolled in the LEA. The amount LEAs will receive for each eligible EL student and for each eligible immigrant student varies based on the total number of qualifying students statewide and the federal funds available for each year.
Which types of subgrants will states make to eligible LEAs?
There are two types of subgrants that the state can give to LEAs:
- Formula subgrants for EL students: LEAs are eligible for subgrants on the basis of the number of EL students enrolled in schools served by the LEA. The number of EL students is submitted annually to the CDE in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS).
- Set-aside subgrants for immigrant students: The number of eligible immigrant students is submitted annually to the CDE. LEAs submit the number of immigrant students using CALPADS, and private schools submit the number of immigrant students on the Student National Origin Report (SNOR). Visit the CDE Student National Origin Report web page. For information on immigrant education subgrants, see the Immigrant Student Education Program section in this document.
Visit the CDE Title III English Learner and Immigrant Programs web page to view the current and past allocations for the EL student and immigrant student education subgrants.
If eligible, may an LEA receive a Title III subgrant for both EL students and eligible immigrant students?
Yes, LEAs that are eligible for an immigrant student subgrant may also receive an EL student subgrant under Title III.
How does an LEA apply for EL student funds under Title III?
Under Title III the CDE provides formula subgrant awards to LEAs that enroll one or more EL students. An LEA that reported the enrollment of one or more EL students through October CALPADS data collection is eligible to apply. All eligible LEAs apply annually for the Title III EL Student Program Subgrants funding on the CARS "Application for Funding" page.
Information regarding the CARS application process is available on the CDE CARS web page.
Additionally, LEAs scheduled to receive a formula subgrant of less than $10,000 must apply as a member of a consortium. (Title III, section 3114(b).)
Consortium leads and member LEAs will apply on the CDE Title III Consortium Online Application. In the case of a consortium, only the lead LEA is the grantee.
Is an LEA that receives an EL student subgrant under Title III required to submit a plan of how it proposes to use the funding?
Yes. LEAs that participate in the Title III EL program are required to maintain locally updated plans that delineate the use of Title III funds. The updated plans must include a budget detailing supplemental activities provided to EL students through use of Title III funds. (Title III, sections 3114(a) and 3116(a).)
May a COE be the lead LEA and/or a member LEA when forming a consortium for Title III funding?
If the county office enrolls EL students in a county-run school, then the county office may be a member or lead LEA in the consortium. If the county office does not enroll EL students, it cannot be considered a member or a lead in the consortium. See below for possible functions of a county office. The process of determining the lead within a consortium is determined at the local level.
What are the responsibilities of the consortium lead and members?
The consortium lead LEA will be responsible for acting as the fiscal and programmatic agent for the consortium, and will file the required expenditure reports, submit cash management data, and maintain fiscal records. The lead provides the member LEAs with programs, services, and products by way of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Note that subgrants are not "pass-through" grants (grants in which the lead distributes the money dollar-for-dollar for which the LEA was eligible), rather services should be proportionate according to the number of English learners in each LEA. LEAs in the consortium should work together to design a MOU that will enable the consortium as a whole to serve English learners collectively in a way that they could not do individually, through collaborative efforts (for example, through professional development).
In what ways may COEs provide support to a consortium of LEAs?
In addition to the conditions described above, COEs may be subcontracted by Title III-funded LEAs to provide required and/or authorized services to Title III direct-funded and consortium LEAs. Through the California Statewide System of Support, COEs can provide collaborative and coordinated support to Title III-funded LEAs in their role as a technical support agency.
Is there a cap on the amount of Title III funds that can be used for the administration of the EL student program?
Yes. An LEA may use no more than two percent of an EL student subgrant for direct administrative costs (Title III, Section 3115(b)). Direct administrative costs include such items as salaries of project personnel, clerical support, and other costs directly incurred in the administration of the program.
May LEAs that receive Title III EL student funds assess the approved indirect cost rate?
The LEA can apply its approved indirect rate to the portion of the subgrant that is not reserved for direct administrative costs. A list of approved indirect cost rates are available on the CDE Indirect Cost Rates web page.
Is carryover of Title III EL student funds allowed?
Yes. Carryover of Title III EL student funds is allowed. Under the federal Tydings Amendment, Section 421(B) of the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 1225(b), Title III EL funds are awarded to the subgrantee for use within a 27 month grant period. LEAs have a maximum of 15 months to expend and obligate current-year funds from as early as July 1 of any federal fiscal year through September 30th of the subsequent year, or the funds will be reallocated. LEAs have an additional 12-month carryover period extending from October 1 through September 30 of the succeeding fiscal year. Funds not obligated within the Tydings period of the 12 months must be returned through the CDE to the U.S. Department of Education (Tydings Amendment of General Education Provisions Act, Section 76.709 of Education Department General Administrative Regulations).
What fiscal procedures should be taken when a direct-funded LEA or consortium-partner LEA discontinues participation in Title III?
When an LEA submits a Title III application, it agrees to participate in the program for the duration of a particular school year. If, at the end of the school year (June 30th) in question, there are unexpended funds, then carryover of the funds is allowed for another 12-month period. These funds are earmarked for supplementary programs and services to EL and/or eligible immigrant students in the LEA that originally generated the funds, even if the LEA is no longer participating in the Title III program in the current school year. If, at the end of the 12-month carryover period, an unexpended balance remains, these funds must be returned to the CDE. No additional carryover authority may be granted. For more information on carryover, visit the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) web page.
What are the Standard Account Codes Structure (SACS) Resource numbers for the Title III EL student and Immigrant Education programs?
The SACS Resource number for the EL student program is 4203. The SACS Resource number for the Immigrant Education program is 4201. The SACS Revenue number for both programs is 8290. This SACS information is available on the CDE Standardized Account Code Structure web page.
Should Title III funds be used to remedy the academic deficits of reclassified fluent English proficient (RFEP) students, or is the use of Title III funds limited to use for EL students who have not been reclassified?
The use of Title III funds is limited to providing EL students with appropriate language programs and services to attain English proficiency based on California’s current ELP assessment and to meet challenging state academic standards.
May Title III funds be spent to provide services to RFEP students?
When a student is RFEP, that student is no longer an EL and is no longer eligible to receive Title III programs or services. However, Title III funds may be used to monitor RFEP students for up to four years after reclassification, and maintain all LEA’s reporting requirements (Title III, Section 3121). Title I funds may be used to help remedy the academic deficits of RFEP students and ensure that these students reach the proficient level on academic tests.
What are EL students in private schools eligible to receive through Title III?
Identified EL students in not-for-profit private schools are eligible to receive Title III program products and services. The LEA, however, maintains title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with Title III funds. LEAs may allow the private school to hold the items from year-to-year, in accordance with the approved activities specified in the MOU between the LEA and private school.
What topics will the LEA need to address with the not-for-profit private school to ensure "meaningful consultation" in the design and development of Title III programs, services, and/or products to be provided?
To ensure timely and meaningful consultation, the LEA must consult with appropriate private school officials during the design and development of the Title III program on issues such as:
- How the EL student needs will be identified;
- What services will be offered;
- How, when, and by whom the services will be provided;
- How the services will be assessed, and how the results of the assessment will be used to improve those services;
- Size and scope of the services to be provided to the private school children and educational personnel;
- The amount of funds available for those services; and
- How and when the LEA will make decisions about the delivery of services, including a thorough consideration of the views of the private school officials on the provision of contract services through potential third-party providers.
An MOU between the LEA and private school should be developed as a result of initial consultation and address these items. Subsequent meetings should be scheduled between the LEA and private school to assess services and determine areas and plans for improvement. A sample MOU can be found on the CDE Title III Private School web page.
What resources are available to assist LEAs and private school officials with learning more about ESSA and Title III programs, particularly the consultation process and the provision of equitable services?
What process should be used to identify eligible EL students in private schools?
The CDE recommends that private schools make an agreement with the LEA to use procedures similar to those used by public schools to identify private school students eligible for Title III services. The LEA is responsible for the oversight and costs of initial identification.The process is as follows: The private school should identify those pupils being considered for participation in the Title III program and administer a Home Language Survey (HLS) that is to be completed by the parent or guardian of selected private school students. Private schools should use the same version of the HLS used by the LEA. If a language other than English is indicated on the HLS, the LEA is required to administer an initial, approved language assessment (the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California are restricted and not allowed for this purpose) to those students. The assessments must have technical data demonstrating their validity and reliability to measure listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English for non-native speakers. A list of tests that may be used for assessing the ELP of English learners in private schools may be found on the CDE List of Tests for English Learners web page. The LEA is responsible for costs and oversight of initial assessments.
Private schools may wish to further assess identified EL students in their primary language to diagnose needs and determine the best strategies to assist students in furthering their ELP. Once identified as an EL, a private school may request that a student continue to receive Title III services in subsequent school years until the student attains English proficiency.
Must private school EL students be assessed annually?
Yes. English proficiency of private school EL students must be assessed annually to determine their continued eligibility for Title III services. With the LEA's consultation, the private school decides on the ELP assessment to be used.
Are immigrant students in private school students eligible to receive Title III Immigrant programs, services, and products?
Yes. When meaningful and timely consultation has occurred, and when an MOU has been developed between the LEA and the eligible private school, immigrant students in the private school may receive Title III immigrant programs, services, and products. Private schools may not receive Title III funds directly.
For more information and a sample MOU, please visit the Title III Immigrant Private Schools web page.
How much of an LEA's Title III funds for EL and immigrant students may be used to support programs, services, and products for EL and immigrant students in private schools?
The ESSA specifies that assistance to EL and immigrant students in private schools should be equitable to that of EL and immigrant students in public schools.The recommended method to determine equity is to use the per pupil allocation of Title III EL and immigrant student funds as the basis for the cost of Title III products and services to be provided to the private school. The private school should receive an equivalent amount of products and services for each of the EL and immigrant students served as the public school receives for each of its EL and immigrant students according to the per pupil allocation and student needs.
Do LEAs receive Title III funds for EL and immigrant students served in private schools?
Yes. The CDE collects data on the number of EL and immigrant students enrolled and reported in private schools that receive Title III programs and services. The CDE aggregates this data and adds this number to the number of EL and immigrant students enrolled in public schools to determine funding amounts.
How are LEAs held accountable for meaningful and timely consultation with private schools that request to participate in Title III programs and services?
As a part of the Federal Program Monitoring process, LEAs must provide evidence that they have met the legal requirements of ESEA Section 8501. Evidence must demonstrate that personnel representing the LEA engaged in timely and meaningful consultation with private school officials in their geographical area and, have offered to assist the schools with the identification of EL and immigrant students and the provision of services to eligible students, teachers, and families of EL and immigrant students.
May an LEA request that potential Title III participants enrolled in private schools come to the district's assessment or newcomer center for the administration of the English language proficiency test?
Yes. An LEA may request that private school students who are being considered for Title III services come to the district's centralized assessment location. In cases where the administration of the English proficiency assessment at the LEA’s center would cause a hardship on the part of the private school students, the LEA should make other reasonable arrangements for the assessment of such students.
Must a Title III program design be the same for both public and private schools?
No. If the needs of the private school students are different from those of the public school students, the LEA, in consultation with private school officials, must develop a separate program design that is appropriate for the private school students. Consultation and coordination between the LEA and private school officials is essential to ensure a high-quality program that meets the needs of the students being served assists those students in attaining ELP and meeting the same challenging State academic standards as all students.
Does the Title III requirement on language qualifications of teachers also apply to teachers providing services to private school students?
Yes. All teachers providing Title III instructional services must be fluent in English, and any other language used for instruction, including written and oral communications skills. (Title III, Section 3116 (c).)
Who maintains control of Title III materials and equipment?The LEA maintains control of the federal funds used to provide services and products to private schools. It also maintains title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with those funds. LEAs may allow the private schools to keep the items from year-to-year, in accordance with approved activities specified in the MOU.
May an LEA carry over Title III funds from one school year to another?
Yes. LEAs may carry over Title III funds for one year beyond the original year of funding. Under the federal Tydings Amendment, Section 421(B) of the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 1225(b), Title III EL funds are awarded to the subgrantee for use within a 27 month grant period. LEAs have a maximum of 15 months to expend and obligate current year funds from as early as July 1 of any federal fiscal year through September 30 of the subsequent year, or the funds will be reallocated. LEAs have an additional 12 month carryover period extending from October 1 through September 30 of the succeeding fiscal year. Funds not obligated within the Tydings period of 12 months, must be returned through the CDE to the U.S. Department of Education.
Must Title III EL and immigrant student funds follow the EL and immigrant students?
Not necessarily. Although the amount of funds allocated to an LEA is based on a formula subgrant with a specified amount for each EL and immigrant student identified and enrolled, the funds do not have to follow the students in a proportional manner. The LEA has the flexibility to determine where and how the funds will be used for allowable activities on the basis of the needs of its EL and immigrant student population (Title III, Section 3115).
How may the Title III EL and immigrant student funds be used?
EL and immigrant student funds must be used to increase the ELP of EL and immigrant students by providing language instruction educational programs and access to challenging State academic standards. These programs must also provide effective professional development to teachers, principals, administrators, and other school or community-based organizational personnel. (Title III, Section 3115)
How may funds be used to provide professional development?
Title III specifies required professional development activities, and states specifically that these activities must be of sufficient intensity and duration to have a positive and lasting impact on the teacher's performance in the classroom.Programs must be designed to:
- Improve the instruction and assessment of EL and immigrant students;
- Enhance the ability of teachers to understand and implement curricula, assessment practices and measures, and instructional strategies for EL and immigrant students;
- Effectively increase students' ELP.
The law also specifies that professional development shall not include activities, such as one-day or short-term workshops and conferences, unless they are a part of a comprehensive professional development plan that is based on an assessment of the needs of the teacher, the supervisor, and the students. (Title III, Section 3115 (c)(2).)
Title III uses the terms "supplement" and "supplant." What do they mean?
Federal funds available under this subgrant will be used "to supplement the level of federal, state, and local public funds that, in the absence of such availability, would have been expended for programs for EL and immigrant children and youth, and in no case to supplant such federal, state, and local public funds." (Title III, Section 3115(g).)
Can Title III funds be used for alternative bilingual education programs?
Yes. In Title III, Section 3201(7)(B), a “language instruction educational program” is defined as an instruction course:. . . that may make instructional use of both English and the native language to enable the child to develop and attain English proficiency, and may include the participation of English-proficient children if such course is designed to enable all participating children to become proficient in English and a second language.
However, Title III must be used only to supplement core instruction and program implementation.
How can Title III funds be used to provide special education services for EL and immigrant students?Special education services, as identified in a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), must be provided with eligible non-Title III funds. However, supplementary EL and immigrant services may be provided to improve the instruction of EL and immigrant students with a disability. (Title III, sections 3115(d)(7) and 3115 (g).)
What are the requirements regarding the role of parents and families of EL students?
Each LEA using funds provided under Title III to provide a language instruction educational program must implement an effective means of outreach to parents and families of EL and immigrant students. LEAs must inform parents how they can be active participants in assisting their children to learn English, achieve at high levels in core academic subjects, and meet the same challenging State academic content standards that all children are expected to meet (Title III, Section 3115 (d)(6)).
Which parents/guardians should receive the notifications required under Title III?
Title III requires that the parents/guardians of students identified for, or participating in, a Title III program be notified of such participation. Therefore, the parents/guardians of all EL and immigrant students in any LEA using Title III funds shall receive the required parental notifications. The same requirements regarding parents of EL and immigrant students are found in Title I, Section 1118.
Additionally, many of the federal parental notification requirements overlap with state requirements. If a student is enrolled in an LEA that does not receive any federal Title I or Title III funds, then only state requirements for notification of parents apply.
Are any parent committees required under Title III?
No. Parent committees are not specifically required by Title III, but they are required under other state and federal statutes such as the English Learner Advisory Committee and the District English Learner Advisory Committee which are required by state law. California Education Code (EC) Section 62002.5; EC sections 52063, 52069; California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 15495(b)).
Is parent engagement required under Title III?
Yes. In Title III, Section 3111 (b)(2)(D)(iv), an LEA is to use funding to strengthen and increase parent, family, and community engagement in programs that serve English learners.
What language is required to be used in the notices to parents?
Federal law requires that schools and districts effectively communicate with all parents/guardians, regardless of the percentage of students that speak a language other than English. To the extent practicable, LEAs must provide parents/guardians with information in a language they can understand.
How are immigrant students included in the Title III subgrant program?
In addition to the formula subgrants that LEAs may receive for EL students under Title III, the CDE is also authorized to award subgrants to LEAs that have 21 or more eligible immigrant students and experience a significant growth in the enrollment of eligible immigrant students in the preceding fiscal year compared with the average of the two preceding fiscal years.
If the percentage of growth, for either the number or percentage of immigrant students, is two percent or greater, the LEA is eligible to participate in the Title III Immigrant student education program. (Title III, Section 3114 [d]). Data from private schools located within the geographic jurisdiction of an LEA are integrated into the LEA’s data to determine eligibility, and the data is also included for funding purposes.
Which LEAs are eligible for a Title III immigrant education subgrant?
Any school district, COE, or direct-funded charter school that enrolls one or more eligible immigrant students may participate in the Title III immigrant student education program if the LEA meets the criteria for enrollment of eligible immigrant students (Title III, Section 3114 (d)(1)).
What is the definition of "eligible immigrant student" in Title III?
The term "immigrant children and youth" is defined in Title III, Section 3201(5) as an individual who is aged three through 21; was not born in any state; and has not been attending one or more schools in any one or more states for more than three full academic years.
How does the CDE know how many eligible immigrant students are enrolled in an LEA?
Annually, each LEA in the state is asked to submit their immigrant student count in CALPADS. Private schools submit their immigrant student count using the Student National Origin Report (SNOR). The reporting provides a vehicle for each LEA and private school to identify the number of eligible immigrant students enrolled, and allows CDE to review the reported data.
When do LEAs take the annual count of eligible immigrant students for the SNOR?
LEAs take counts of eligible immigrant students on the first Wednesday in October every year. LEAs submit the report to CALPADS.
What is the process for private schools to participate in immigrant student education?
Private schools must submit the SNOR annually to the CDE. Once eligibility for a Title III immigrant education subgrant has been determined for a specific LEA in a specific school year, all the LEAs and all the private schools located within the geographic jurisdiction of each eligible LEA will be notified. For more information on the Title III Immigrant Student Education Program and private school participation, visit the CDE Title III Immigrant Private Schools web page.
How does an LEA apply for immigrant education program funds under Title III?
All eligible LEAs apply annually for the Title III Immigrant Student Program Subgrants funding on the CARS "Application for Funding" page.
How may Title III funds for immigrant student education programs be used?
The purpose of the immigrant student education program is to provide enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youth. These opportunities may include, but are not limited to:
- Family literacy, parent and family outreach;
- Recruitment of personnel, including teachers and paraprofessionals;
- Provision of tutorials, mentoring, and counseling;
- Identification, development, and acquisition of materials, software, and technologies;
- Basic instructional services needed by immigrant students; and
- Other instructional services needed by immigrant students.
- Activities coordinated with community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, or other entities to assist immigrant students and their families.
May LEAs assess administrative costs of the Title III immigrant education funds?
Yes. The LEA is authorized to assess costs for direct administrative costs. Recommended direct administrative costs for a fiscal year may not exceed two percent of such funds for the cost of administering the program. In addition, LEAs are authorized to assess approved indirect costs to the portion of the subgrant that is not reserved for direct administrative costs. A list of approved indirect cost rates is available on the CDE Indirect Cost Rates web page.
Is the carryover of funds allowed in the Title III immigrant student education program?
Yes. Carryover of Title III immigrant student education program funds is allowed. Under the federal Tydings Amendment, Section 421(B) of the General Education Provisions Act, 20 U.S.C. 1225(b), Title III immigrant funds are awarded to the subgrantee for use within a 27 month grant period. LEAs have a maximum of 15 months to expend and obligate current-year funds from as early as July 1 of any federal fiscal year through September 30 of the subsequent year or the funds will be reallocated. LEAs have an additional 12 month carryover period extending from October 1 through September 30 of the succeeding fiscal year. Funds not obligated within the Tydings period of the 12 months must be returned through the CDE to the U.S. Department of Education (Tydings Amendment of General Education Provisions Act, Section 76.709 of Education Department General Administrative Regulations).
Is an LEA that receives an immigrant student education grant under Title III required to have a plan of how it proposes to use the funding?Yes. LEAs that participate in the Title III Immigrant student education program subgrant are required to maintain locally updated plans that delineate the use of Title III funds. The updated plan must include a budget that is separate from the Title III EL budget. (Title III, Section 3116)
Previous federal statute under Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act required statewide accountability on English proficiency achievement objectives for English learners. With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the EL accountability requirements, formerly specified under Title III, have been amended and moved to Title I.The data files for the former Title III accountability system are provided for historical information and research purposes only on the Former CDE Title III Accountability web page (Coming Soon).