Funding guide

Department of Education - Rural and Low-Income School Program

Broadband Funding Guide

Department of Education

Federal Agency

Department of Education

Agency Overview

The U.S. Department of Education promotes student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. The Department recognizes the importance of access to high-speed broadband both inside and outside of school as critical for expanding educational and career opportunities for students—particularly those in rural, tribal, or under-resourced communities—and is committed to identifying Department funds that can be used to support access to broadband.


Program Name

Rural and Low-Income School Program

Program Overview

The Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) grant program provides rural districts with financial assistance for initiatives aimed at improving student achievement. The grant is non-competitive, and eligibility is determined by statute.

Awards are issued annually to state educational agencies (SEAs), which make sub-grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) that meet the applicable requirements. Awards are made to all SEAs that apply and meet the applicable requirements of the program.

Program Purpose
  • Broadband Infrastructure (e.g. construction)
  • Other: Distance learning and telemedicine equipment
Eligible Recipients
  • K-12 Schools
  • State and Local Governments

Agency Contact

(202) 401-0039

Funding Type


FY2018 Funding Amount


FY2019 Funding Amount


Additional Information

This is one of a number of Department programs that provides funds that could be used to support broadband access.  However, the allowability of costs is always situation specific. For that reason, if you decide to use funds under this program for costs related to broadband access, you must be sure that the use of the funds is, under the specific circumstances of the expenditure, reasonable and necessary and does not violate other program requirements, such as supplement not supplant. We also note that, while funds under this program can be on broadband access, its primary focus and purpose is not primarily focused on that issue.

The use of Rural and Low-Income School Program funds for broadband infrastructure must be consistent with the definition of “minor remodeling” in 34 CFR Part 77.  That definition of minor remodeling means “minor alterations in a previously completed building. The term also includes the extension of utility lines, such as water and electricity, from points beyond the confines of the space in which the minor remodeling is undertaken but within the confines of the previously completed building. The term does not include building construction, structural alterations to buildings, building maintenance, or repairs.”