Early Childhood Integrated Financing Toolkit

Title I of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Federal Funding Streams: Requirements and Detailed Information
Federal Agency: U.S. Department of Education, Office of State Support
Federal Funds for VA: $279,184,039 (anticipated for FY19)
What Are the Main Requirements?
How do Federal Funds Flow?
The purpose of ESSA Title I is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps. State Title I plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education must address early childhood. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) may use Title I funds to pay for services to improve health and development of children under school age. This could include the direct provision of services such as offering preschool in a public or private setting or could support existing programming such as providing a coach for early childhood programs where at-risk children are attending.


Children who attend or are zoned to attend a school that receives Title I funds. Title I schools serve 40% or more low-income children. In a targeted assistance school, children who are at risk of failing to meet state standards are eligible, unless a waiver is granted. In a school-wide model, all students are eligible, but priority must be given to children who are at risk of failing to meet state standards. A school district may choose to use all of its Title I funds for preschool programs if the LEA believes it is the strategy that holds most promise for raising student achievement (no community in Virginia currently does this).12


Cost to Families:


LEA’s may provide services to children birth to school age through a school operated program, a district operated program, or in coordination with community programs such as Head Start.


Quality Standards:
If early childhood services are provided with Title I funds they must meet federal Head Start Program Performance Standards.
ESSA Title I funding flows to LEA’s serving low-income children via State Education Agencies (SEAs).



Title I services may be provided through either a targeted assistance or aschool-wide model.



If a school’s population includes 40% or more low-income children, or if a school has received a school-wide eligibility waiver, then it may provide school-wide services with Title I funds.



Federal guidance on using Title I for preschool may be found here: