TEA Grant Process

TEA administers state and federal grants that support a variety of public education programs. Depending on their funding source and purpose, these grants may be formula or discretionary. This page provides an overview of the process TEA follows to award and administer these two types of grants.

Eligible Applicants  

The following entities are eligible to apply for formula and discretionary funds:

  • Formula grants are available to independent school districts (ISDs) and open-enrollment charter schools. 
  • Discretionary grants may be available to ISDs, open-enrollment charter schools, education service centers, institutions of higher education, and public and private nonprofit organizations, depending on the eligibility criteria defined in the legislation authorizing the grant program or by TEA. 

Request for Application 

The request for application (RFA) describes the grant program as well as the associated guidelines, requirements, and provisions and assurances. The RFA consists of the following parts:

  • General and Fiscal Guidelines: Describes requirements, processes, and guidelines applicable to all TEA-administered grants
  • Program guidelines: Describes the individual grant program's goals and requirements
  • Grant application and instructions: Includes the forms, or schedules, that the applicant must complete and submit to become eligible for grant funding, along with the instructions that are linked to each schedule
  • Provisions and assurances: Lists the legal obligations the applicant agrees to comply with in accepting grant funds

The RFA for any grant is available on the grant's TEA Grant Opportunities page. If the grant is available through eGrants, the RFA is also linked to the grant's eGrants document library. 

For more information about the RFA, refer to the Key Grant Concept: Introduction to the RFA page.

Formula Grants 

The legislation authorizing a formula grant includes a mathematical formula for calculating the amount of grant funds, or the entitlement, that each applicant may receive. TEA uses eGrants to electronically publish the applications for most formula grants. The formula grant applications for a given school year normally open in eGrants during the preceding spring semester. 

The three major formula grant programs that TEA administers are authorized by the following pieces of federal legislation: 

  • Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) 
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) 
  • Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 2006 

Before an eligible applicant can complete an eGrants application, each staff member responsible for completing, submitting, and certifying the application must have a TEA Secure Environment (TEASE) user account and access to the eGrants system. The Access to TEA Secure Applications page provides links to the online TEASE account and eGrants request forms.

The application for each eligible applicant includes an estimate of the funding amount (the "planning amount") that will be available to the applicant. As the school year progresses and the data TEA uses to calculate entitlements becomes available, the planning amount is revised and the "maximum entitlement" is issued. 

In addition to the grant application, eGrants includes links to all grant-related documents, including the program guidelines. Those documents are also available on the grant's TEA Grant Opportunities page.  

Discretionary Grants  

The legislation authorizing a discretionary grant gives some freedom, or discretion, to the agency administering the grant. The legislation may define certain elements of the grant program, such as population to be served or services to be provided, while leaving the administering agency free to determine other elements, such as eligibility criteria or the amount to be awarded to various grantees.

TEA may award discretionary grants on a noncompetitive or competitive basis.

Noncompetitive Discretionary Grants  

Noncompetitive discretionary grants are awarded to a predetermined list of eligible applicants, each of which is allotted a certain amount of grant funding. Applicants may access the grant application through eGrants, as with formula grants, or through the paper application (Microsoft Word files that are linked to the grant's TEA Grant Opportunities page and that the grantee downloads, completes, prints, then submits on paper). TEA contacts eligible applicants directly to alert them to the availability and amount of noncompetitive grant funding.

Competitive Discretionary Grants 

TEA awards competitive grant funds to eligible applicants whose applications meet submission requirements and receive the highest scores in the peer review process. The amount of competitive funds awarded to each grantee depends on the number of applicants that are eligible for funding and on the total amount of grant funds available. Applicants complete and submit a paper application to apply for a competitive grant.

The competitive process is strictly defined and monitored to ensure fairness and consistency. 

Announcement of Competitive Grant Opportunity 

TEA publicizes the availability of a competitive grant in two ways:

The announcement letter and the Texas Register notice describe the grant program's purpose, eligibility requirements, and application deadline.

Information Provided during Competitive Application Period 

After TEA announces the availability of a competitive grant, the agency generally provides applicants with information about the grant in two ways:

  • Applicants' conference
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ) document

Refer to the Grant Timeline section of the grant's program guidelines to learn when TEA plans to make any applicants' conference or FAQ available.

Competitive Review Process

When the deadline for submitting applications has passed, the competitive review process begins. Refer to the Application Review and Selection for Competitive Funding section of the General and Fiscal Guidelines and to the Competitive Review Process page for details on the competitive review process.

Competitive Grant Preliminary Selection

With the completion of the competitive review process, TEA preliminarily selects applicants for funding. The Competitive Grant Recipients page lists the preliminarily selected applicants, along with links to their applications.

Funding selections become final after TEA negotiates the application with each applicant. If TEA determines during the negotiation process that an application is not eligible to be funded, the agency notifies the applicant of its ineligibility for funding. TEA is not responsible for paying for any expenditure incurred by the applicant.

Grant Negotiation

Before TEA awards funding of any type, the agency reviews the grant application for compliance with all grant requirements. It may be necessary for the applicant to update elements of the application to meet requirements. In those cases, TEA provides guidance to the applicant through the process known as grant negotiation.

TEA cannot award funds to an applicant until the grant application is negotiated to approval. If TEA determines during the negotiation process that the application is not eligible to be funded, the agency notifies the applicant of its ineligibility for funding. TEA is not responsible for paying for any expenditure incurred by the applicant. 

Grant Award

When TEA and the applicant have negotiated the grant application to approval, TEA awards grant funds by issuing the Notice of Grant Award (NOGA). The NOGA incorporates all parts of the RFA, including the negotiated application, and constitutes the binding agreement between TEA and the applicant.

Amending the Application

The grantee may need to make changes to the grant program described and budgeted in the approved application. Some changes are within the grantee's power to make without seeking TEA approval. Most changes, however, require the grantee to update, or amend, the approved grant application. All changes that are subject to the amendment process require TEA approval and may require negotiation.

To determine whether a planned change to the grant program requires an amendment to the application, grantees should consult When to Amend the Application (PDF). Further clarification is available in the accompanying When to Amend the Application PowerPoint presentation.

The amendment process is fully described in the Amending the Application section of the General and Fiscal Guidelines.