The U.S. Department of Education today announced the start of the 2014 grant competition for the Investing in Innovation (i3) program's Scale-up and Validation categories. This competition will continue the Department's investments in promising strategies that can help close achievement gaps and improve educational outcomes for our neediest students.
"This year's Validation & Scale-Up competition is an opportunity for us to continue supporting strategies that help our highest need students succeed," said Nadya Chinoy Dabby, assistant deputy secretary for Innovation and Improvement. "These efforts are part of our larger commitment to investing in what works."
The i3 program aims to develop and expand practices that accelerate student achievement and prepare students to succeed in college and in their careers. As in years past, the program includes three grant categories: Development, Validation and Scale-up. This year, school districts and nonprofit organizations, in partnership with districts or schools, are eligible to compete for nearly $135 million across all three categories. The maximum grant amount available in each category is based on the evidence of effectiveness.
In March, the Department announced the i3 Development competition for grants of up to $3 million, and received nearly 400 applications. For this competition, Validation grants will provide up to $12 million to fund projects with moderate evidence of effectiveness. Scale-up grants will provide up to $20 million to fund projects with strong evidence of effectiveness and enable expansion across the country. All i3 projects conduct an independent evaluation to identify what works in education.
The 2014 i3 competition includes priorities that target specific areas of need, expanding the i3 portfolio of solutions that addresses persistent challenges in education. Complementing the administration's efforts to increase access to high-quality early learning opportunities, the Department has included an invitational priority in both the Scale-up and Validation categories.
Applications will be evaluated by peer reviewers in the coming months, and the Department will announce the highest-rated applicants in late fall. Those applicants will then be required to secure private-sector matching funds in order to become a grantee. Validation grantees must secure a private-sector match comprising 10 percent of their budget and Scale-up grantees must secure 5 percent.