Student Achievement Grants

The NEA Foundation provides NEA members with grants to improve the academic achievement of students in U.S. public schools and public higher education institutions in any subject area(s). The proposed work should engage students in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen their knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.

The grant amounts available are $2,000 and $5,000. Deadlines for applications are due February 1, June 1, and October 15.


Restrictions for NEA Grant FundAll applicants must be current members of the National Education Association.


Grant funds may be used for resource materials, supplies, equipment, transportation, technology, or scholars-in-residence. Although some funds may be used to support the professional development necessary to implement the project, the majority of grant funds must be spent on materials or educational experiences for students.


Grant funds may not be used to:

  • Support after-school, weekend, or summer programs:
  • Pay indirect costs, grant administration fees, or salaries;
  • Pay stipends to the applicants;
  • Support conference fees for more than one person.
  • Lobbying or religious purposes

*Identical applications will not be considered



Deadlines and Notification Dates

Applications may be submitted at any time. Applications are reviewed three times per year, every year.

    • Application Received by: February 1 Notification By: April 15

    • Application Received by: June 1 Notification By: September 15

    • Application Received by: October 15 Notification By: January 15


Please give careful attention to the timeline of your grant. Applications that include activities scheduled prior to the date of notification will not be considered. All grant applicants will be notified in writing. Please do not contact the Foundation regarding the status of your application prior to the notification date.



Grants will fund activities for 12 months from the date of the award.



  • Public school educators in grades PreK-12;
  • Public school education support professionals, or
  • Faculty and staff at public higher education institutions.
  • Education support professionals*


*Education support professionals can be classified as: para-educators, school bus drivers, maintenance and custodial staff, food services staff, school nurses and student services workers, clerical and office assistants, school security officers, and technicians.


* Administrators may not apply for Student Achievement Grants, nor may they act as the partner applicant. Employees, members of the board of directors, and immediate family members of the staff and board of the NEA Foundation are not eligible to receive grants. Employees of the National Education Association are not eligible to receive grants.

Please check your application for compliance with these guidelines. Complete all required information. Assign a fiscal sponsor if desired. Failure to complete any of these items will disqualify your application.


All proposals must be submitted through the NEA Foundation’s online grant system.


The lead applicant will be the NEA Foundation’s contact person for award notification, reporting, publicity, and other grant-related activities. Administrators may not serve as either the lead or partner applicant. Applications missing lead applicant data will not be considered. The lead applicant must be a current member of the National Education Association. 

All proposals must include partner information. The partner should be prepared to assume leadership of the project should the lead applicant be unable to complete the work. Administrators may not serve as either the lead or partner applicant. Applications without partner data will not be considered. The partner applicant must be a current member of the National Education Association.

The information for the fiscal sponsor should be entered in this section. Some of the information may already be entered based on the information used during the registration process. If no fiscal sponsor is being utilized the information contained below should be that of the lead applicant. Grant funds will be made payable to the lead applicant and reported to the Internal Revenue Service. The grant funds may be considered taxable income, so the lead applicant may wish to consult with his or her tax advisor before submitting the application. View our About Fiscal Sponsors page for more information on fiscal sponsor designation.


Provide a summary of 100 words or less describing your proposed work. Please write in a manner in which you would be comfortable allowing the NEA Foundation to use on its website to describe your project. (For examples of how to write an abstract/summary, please view our Featured Grantees page for descriptions of our recently funded grants.)

Describe your project, including goals for student learning and how you will measure each outcome. Be sure to include the standards with which you will be linking your work.

Describe how this project will be sustained beyond the grant period and/or how it provides a model that can be used by other educators.

Describe the student need for this work. In addressing student need, focus first on academic need and then describe sociological, economic, emotional, and/or cultural issues.

Describe the activities in which you and your students will engage to reach your stated goals. In this description, address how the activities will engage students in critical thinking and problem solving.

Please consult our Writing Tutorial page.


Provide a line item budget for the proposed work. Your request must total either $2,000 or $5,000. Identify any additional support (cash or in-kind) that will be provided by other sources, including those provided by your school/district/college/university. Your budget must be in the form of a Word, Excel, or PDF document. The NEA Foundation suggests that your budget be as cost-efficient as possible. Please ensure that all items are directly related to your proposed work, as your budget will be assessed by how realistic, clear, and frugal it is.


Selection Criteria

The NEA Foundation may allocate a number of grants based in part on geographic considerations.

    • Proposed goals for student achievement are challenging and rigorous

    • Proposed work engages students in critical thinking and problem solving

    • There is alignment between goals, assessment, activities, and budget 

    • The project is collaborative and can be sustained in future years and/or modeled by other educators.



Yes. Lead and partner applicants for Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership grants must be current members of the NEA.   



Yes. Funding preference will be given to projects that incorporate school farming, aquaponics, global learning, and/or the NEA Foundation’s online courses. 


The NEA Foundation also strongly encourages Education Support Professionals to apply for funding in any area.

Yes. Although the educators assigned as the lead and partner must be NEA members, non-members can certainly take part in the implementation of the project.

Any practicing NEA member who is a U.S. teacher, counselor, or education support professional* employed by a public school, including public higher education institutions, is eligible to apply for a grant from the Foundation. NEA members in the Department of Defense school system are also eligible to apply. Full time administrators, such as principals, assistant principals, and school district staff, are not eligible.

*Education support professionals can be classified as: para-educators, school bus drivers, maintenance and custodial staff, food services staff, school nurses and student services workers, clerical and office assistants, school security officers, and technicians.

No. Grant funds may not be used to reimburse expenses. Applications that include activities or expenses scheduled prior to the notification date will not be considered. Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead.

No. Group Learning & Leadership Grants are to fund collegial study and funds may not be used to support travel costs or conference fees for more than one person. One member of the study group may travel to the conference and share his or her knowledge with the rest of the group upon return.

Applications are reviewed three times a year, so you may submit an application at any time. However, if you want your application to be reviewed for a specific notification date, then you must submit your application by the posted deadline. For example, if you wish to be notified about funding by April 15, then your application should be received by the close of business on February 1. If your application is received on February 2 or later, it will be held for the next round with notification by September 15.

All lead grant applicants are notified via email. If you have not heard from the Foundation by the notification date, please contact us at

No. Stipends, salaries, and grant administration fees are prohibited in the Student Achievement Grant guidelines. Applications that include these expenses will not be considered for funding. Stipends are only allowed as part of a group Learning & Leadership Grant.

While Student Achievement Grant funds may be used for resource materials, supplies, equipment, or technology, the proposed work and related materials should facilitate the development of students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The proposed materials must play a central role in deepening student knowledge and habits of inquiry. If you have a proposed project that does not meet these criteria, we encourage you to visit our grant resources page for alternative resources that support materials centered projects.

Yes. The budget submitted with your application must account for the full grant amount. We do not award partial grants. You must also plan to spend all of the funds within 12 months of the notification date.

Yes. As long as you have submitted all of the required reports for your previous grant, you may apply for the foundation’s grant programs as many times as you wish. However, you must submit a unique proposal; identical applications will not be considered for funding.

No. If you do not designate a fiscal sponsor the grant will be made to the lead applicant and the IRS may consider the grant personal income and therefore taxable. Fiscal sponsors are usually non-profits, schools, districts, or local unions that can accept the funds without tax liability. Before you designate a fiscal sponsor, make sure you know the organization’s procedures for dispersing funds. You will have to abide by these procedures and should be sure you are comfortable working with that system. Find more information on fiscal sponsors.

The application process is highly competitive and like many other foundations we receive more worthy applications than we can fund. The foundation typically awards 150 to 170 Student Achievement Grants and Learning & Leadership Grants a year.


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