Rural and Low Income Schools Program

Subpart 2 – Rural and Low Income Schools Program

(P.L. 114-95, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Section 5221 and Section 5225)

The purpose of the Rural and Low Income Schools (RLIS) program is provide financial assistance to rural districts to meet local academic needs.  RLIS funds a variety of activities including teacher recruitment and professional development, support for educational technology, parental involvement activities and more.


[Section 5221(b)]

An LEA is eligible for an RLIS award if: 

1a. All of the schools served by the LEA are designated with a school locale code of 32, 33, 41, 42, or 43, as determined by the Secretary of Education; or

1b. The LEA is located in an area defined as rural by the state; and

2a. Twenty percent or more of the children aged 5 to 17 served by the LEA must be from families with incomes below the poverty line.

Use of Funds

[Section 5222(a)]

Grantees may use RLIS funds to carry out activities authorized under any of the following:

  • Title I, Part A - Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Education Agencies

Example: A school district develops an entrepreneurial education program to supplement its civics curriculum.

Example: A school district pays the stipend for a prospective teacher to work alongside an effective teacher, who is the teacher of record, for a full academic year.

  • Title III - Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students

Example: A school district offers an afterschool enrichment program for English learners.

Example: A school district purchases a bully prevention program for all schools.

  • Parental Involvement Activities


  • Professional development for school personnel regarding parent and family engagement strategies.
  • Providing materials to help parents improve their child’s academic achievement (e.g. trainings on school online portals).
  • Enabling parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions (e.g. provide childcare).
  • Establishing formal parental advisory council.

Application Process

The RLIS program is administered by TEA.  Visit the TEA Grant Opportunities page for more information.

Dual Eligible LEAs

[Section 5225]

If an LEA is eligible for funding under both SRSA and RLIS (dual eligible), the LEA may receive funds under either subpart for one fiscal year but may not receive funds under both subparts for such fiscal year.

An LEA that is dual eligible must notify the USDE of its preference to participate in either SRSA or RLIS.  If a dual eligible LEA applies for SRSA in accordance with the application submission procedures, it will receive an SRSA award.  If an application is not submitted the dual eligible LEA will be eligible to apply for the RLIS grant.