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NEA Student Achievement Grants for Teachers

The National Education Association Foundation (NEA) is an independent, public charity supported by contributions from educators, corporate sponsors, and other sources. The NEA partners with education unions, districts, and communities to create sustainable improvements in teaching and learning and to provide quality public education for every student.

The NEA Foundation also provides grants to improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in many subject areas. The goal is to engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work is directed at improving students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection. Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, advanced placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged by the NEA.

The best news for teachers is that the NEA also provides direct grants of $5,000 that can be used for resource materials, supplies, equipment, transportation, software, or scholars-in-residence. Although the NEA allows that some funds may be used to support the professional development necessary to implement the project, the majority of grant funds must be spent on materials or educational experiences for students.

Although there a few actual restrictions on the way the grants are used, they cannot be used to support after-school, weekend, or summer programs, pay indirect costs like grant administration fees, or salaries, they cannot pay stipends to the applicants; and are not to be used to support conference fees for more than one person per grant. The NEA grant money is also restricted from being used for lobbying or religious purposes. Additionally, the NEA will not consider multiple identical applications from one person.

Applications for NEA grants can be submitted at any time, and because the applications are reviewed three times per year, every year, all applicants are encouraged to plan well in advance. Applications received by February 1st. will get mailed notification by April 15th. Those applications submitted before June 1st. receive notification by September 15th, and any applications received by October 15th. are notified by January 15th.

Applicants need to pay attention to the timelines that apply to their applications because applications that include activities scheduled prior to their date of notification will not be considered as valid by the NEA, but all applicants will be notified of their status in writing. Contacting the NEA regarding the status of your application prior to the notification date will not advance the chances of being approved.

All NEA grants will fund activities only for the 12 month period from the date of the initial award. All applicants must be practicing U.S. public school teachers, public school education support professionals, or faculty and staff at public higher education institutions. The NEA Foundation is especially interested in encouraging grant applications from teachers with less than seven years of experience in the profession.

All education support professionals are also encouraged to apply. Education support professionals are classified as school bus drivers, maintenance and custodial staff, food services staff, school nurses and student services workers, clerical and office assistants, school security officers, and technicians too.

Obviously, employees and immediate family members of the staff and board of the NEA Foundation are not eligible to receive the grants. Inquiries about the NEA Foundation’s Student Achievement Grants for Teachers should be directed to 1201 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.