21st Century Community Learning Centers — which can be located in elementary or secondary schools or other similarly accessible facilities — provide a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development, including tutoring and mentoring, homework help, academic enrichment (such as hands-on science or technology programs), and community service opportunities, as well as music, arts, sports and cultural activities. At the same time, centers help working parents by providing a safe environment for students during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session.
Authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (and amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), the law’s specific purposes are to:
- Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students (particularly students in high-poverty areas and those who attend low-performing schools) meet State and local student performance standards in core academic subjects such as reading and mathematics;
- Offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, and recreation programs, technology education programs, and character education programs, that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students; and
- Offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for literacy and related educational development.
Each eligible organization that receives an award may use the funds to carry out a broad array of before- and after-school activities (or activities during other times when school is not in session) that advance student achievement within this scope as defined by the U.S. Department of Education:
- Remedial education activities and academic enrichment learning programs, including providing additional assistance to students to allow the students to improve their academic achievement;
- Mathematics and science education activities;
- Arts and music education activities;
- Entrepreneurial education programs;
- Tutoring services (including those provided by senior citizen volunteers) and mentoring programs;
- Programs that provide after-school activities for limited English proficient students that emphasize language skills and academic achievement;
- Recreational activities;
- Telecommunications and technology education programs;
- Expanded library service hours;
- Programs that promote parental involvement and family literacy;
- Programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended, or expelled, to allow the students to improve their academic achievement; and
- Drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, and character education programs.
Department Learning Center grantees
List of programs and sites running 21st Century Learning Center grants for School Years 2015-16 and 2016-17, with contact information, funding amounts and year of funding.
States must conduct a comprehensive evaluation (directly, or through a grant or contract) of the effectiveness of programs and activities provided with 21st CCLC funds. In their applications to the U.S. Department of Education, states are required to describe the performance indicators and performance measures they will use to evaluate local programs. States must also monitor the periodic evaluations of local programs and must disseminate the results of these evaluations to the public.
Each grantee must undergo a periodic evaluation to assess its progress toward achieving its goal of providing high-quality opportunities for academic enrichment. The evaluation must be based on the factors included in the principles of effectiveness. The results of the evaluation must be:
- used to refine, improve, and strengthen the program and to refine the performance measures; and
- made available to the public upon request.
Local grantees, working with the Department, must evaluate the academic progress of children participating in the 21st CCLC program.
The Department is committed to open communication with 21st CCLC sub-grantees. When disagreements arise relating to CCLC programs, services and staff members, they need to be resolved in a timely fashion. Please refer to
our complaint procedures.