Stronger Connections Grant Program
Solicitation Issue Date: Dependent on State Education Agency Announcement
Deadline: Dependent on State Education Agency Announcement
Stronger Connections Grants are federally funded but disbursed by State Educational Agencies. Please visit your State Education Agency’s website for more information on when Stronger Connections Grants are available in your state. All stronger Connections funds must be disbursed by states by September 30, 2026.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) requires states to define “high-need LEA” for the purposes of eligibility for Stronger Connections funds. A “high-need LEA” will typically be characterized by high concentrations of poverty and with one or more of the following characteristics:
- Need for additional mental health staff, which may be demonstrated by a high student-to-mental health professional ratio;
- High rates of chronic absenteeism, exclusionary discipline, referrals to the juvenile justice system, bullying/harassment, community and school violence, students experiencing homelessness, students in foster care, or substance use; or
- Where students recently experienced a natural or manmade disaster or a traumatic event.
The Department encourages a measurement of poverty that considers LEAs with high numbers/high percentages of students living in poverty (e.g., at least 40 percent). Stronger Connections funds may be used to support preschool-aged students who are served by the LEA through a range of allowable activities that encourage the healthy growth and development of preschool-aged students.
Award Information & Duration
Total Appropriations: $1B; (Individual state allocation varies, see here to determine how much funding each state received)
Estimated # of Awards
Number of awards to LEAs are state dependent
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) of 2022 provided historic funding to support LEAs and schools in establishing safe, healthy, and supportive learning opportunities and environments. This includes $1 billion through Title IV, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for States to competitively award subgrants to high-need LEAs to establish safer and healthier learning environments, and to prevent and respond to acts of bullying, violence, and hate that impact school communities at individual and systemic levels, among other programs and activities. LEAs are encouraged to use Stronger Connections funds to establish partnerships within the community to provide resources (e.g., mental, and physical health services, parent engagement classes, housing assistance, and nutrition programs) and support for schools which will ultimately strengthen relationships between schools and communities to improve student success.
How this grant can be used:
LEAs will be expected to utilize funds for programs and activities that prevent violence through the creation of safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that positively impact student well-being and academic outcomes. Schools should take a comprehensive approach by implementing school-based violence prevention programs in coordination and alignment with broader evidence-based community violence prevention strategies. These activities can be coordinated with community-based services and prevention programs and may include a wide variety of activities designed to meet students’ physical, social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs and improve school safety and climate.
LEAs that receive a grant under this program can use funding to support activities that are reasonable, necessary, and allowable such as:
- Threat assessment systems and teams
- Drug and violence prevention activities that are evidence-based.
- School-based mental health services.
- Comprehensive health education programs.
- Integrating health and safety practices into school or athletic programs.
- Nutritional education and physical education activities/
- Implementation of schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports.
- Bullying and harassment prevention.
- Activities that improve instructional practices for developing relationship-building skills.
- Prevention of teen and dating violence, stalking, domestic abuse, and sexual violence and harassment.
- Mentoring and school counseling.
- Establishing or improving school dropout and reentry programs.
- Suicide prevention.
- Crisis management and conflict resolution techniques.
- School-based violence prevention strategies.
- Reducing exclusionary disciplinary practices.
- Establishing partnerships within the community to provide resources and support for schools.
- Strengthening relationships between schools and communities.
- High-quality training for school personnel in effective practices related to any of the above.
Funding may not be used for food, school construction, or to provide any person with a dangerous weapon or training in the use of a dangerous weapon. To determine the status of Stronger Connections Grant opportunities in your state, please visit your State Education Agency’s website for more information.