Charter Schools Program Fact Sheet for Today’s Hearing with Secretary DeVos

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Washington D.C. – Today, Secretary DeVos will testify before the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee in a hearing on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal.

Check out the below fact sheet on the history, purpose and value of the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) for your reporting.

CSP History
Congress first authorized the CSP with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1994, to provide charter school leaders with short-term funding to aid in the costs that come with opening a school.

CSP Purpose
The CSP serves to expand the number of great public schools available to students across the nation by providing federal financial assistance for charter school start-up costs. Charter schools need funds for start-up costs because they do not typically receive state or local per-pupil funding until they enroll students. CSP funding can go toward charter school planning, program design, and the initial costs of opening a school, including the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools. The CSP also provides resources to help charter schools access facilities and technical assistance.  

CSP Fast Facts:

  • According to the US Department of Education (USED), the CSP funded nearly 60 percent of all charter schools opened between school year 2006-07 and school year 2016-17.
  • The CSP is currently funded at its highest level in the program’s history, $440 million, yet it amounts to less than one percent of federal spending on K-12 education.
  • Without the CSP single-site charter school leaders, especially leaders of color, would be disproportionately affected due to a lack of access to capital to open schools.
  • Communities apply for and access CSP funds either through their state or directly from the USED.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) enacted new safeguards in the CSP. For example, ESSA includes stronger requirements for state authorizer oversight and requires states to set aside funds specifically for authorizer quality.
  • Since 2017, 20 states have received CSP State Entity grants under the new ESSA requirements. We expect that most of this year’s (FY20) funding will be allocated to states that have not yet received ESSA CSP funding.
  • This year we anticipate that only half of the applicants that apply to the CSP State Entities competition will receive awards since the demand for charter school grants exceeds the amount of available funds. The USED only has enough funding for 3-6 awards.

Please reach out to me at if you are interested in speaking with Nina Rees, National Alliance president and CEO, following today’s hearing.