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State board moves up deadline for education grant applications

Posted at 12:26 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 14:26:47-05

IDAHO — This article was written by Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News.

It didn’t take long for Idahoans to apply for their share of $50 million in federal education grants.

So the State Board of Education is cutting off applications early.

The new deadline for Strong Families, Strong Students grant applications is 5 p.m. MST Friday.

The program is designed to offset the costs of online education. The money will cover the cost of computers, internet upgrades or online learning materials. The State Board launched its program website on Oct. 21, and the board was quickly flooded with applicants.

The State Board said Tuesday it has received 31,140 applications on behalf of 78,987 students. Grants can total $1,500 per student or $3,500 per family.

“We knew there was a tremendous need and now we need time to process the applications received, before accepting more,” State Board President Debbie Critchfield said in a news release Tuesday. “If all the applications received so far meet eligibility requirements, the entire fund will be used. If we can open the application process up again we will, but for now we need to take the time to determine where things stand.”

But this means the State Board has abandoned its original Dec. 8 application deadline.

The State Board is also encouraging applicants to turn in all their necessary paperwork by Nov. 18. Applicants must submit their 2019 tax return and proof of their child’s enrollment.

“We want to get this money to families as quickly as possible and we need their help to make that happen,” Critchfield said.

Grants will be awarded first on basis of need. After that, grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Gov. Brad Little unveiled the Strong Families, Strong Students program in September. Funding comes from Idaho’s $1.25 billion share from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.