ED Arts Education Resources

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), emphasized the importance of providing a well-rounded education to all students. The ESEA specifically noted that music and the arts (dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts) are included in the list of subjects that provide a well-rounded education for all students. States and local districts have the discretion to define specifically what a well-rounded education means for students and how to best use Federal, State and local funds to meet the needs of their students to provide a well-rounded education.

Title I funds and other Federal funding sources can be used to support core art academic courses as well as arts integration throughout multiple academic subject areas.  Below, is a list that includes but is not limited to, ED Federal funds that a State, district, or school could use to support and enhance their arts education programs:

Title I, Part A

ESEA defines the arts as a core academic subject and, as such, the arts play a significant role in the development of children and their learning process. As such, activities that support the arts, in conjunction with other activities, can form an important part of a district’s Title I program. A district may use Title I funds to support arts education as a strategy to assist Title I students with meeting the State’s challenging academic standards. Consistent with Title I requirements, whether funds may be used for a particular activity depends on that school’s needs assessment and schoolwide or targeted assistance plan. Title I provided more than $18 billion in FY23 to States, school districts, and schools.

To determine the eligibility of Title I funds being used in support of arts education, a district must analyze such use in the context of its Title I program and the needs of its students. Depending on those needs, a district may use Title I funds to support activities related to the arts, provided those activities are part of an instructional strategy that is designed to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students so they can meet the State’s academic standards.

Title IV, Part A

The Office of Safe and Supportive Schools in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education administers the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Program (Title IV, Part A of the ESEA). One of the goals of this program is to provide all students with access to well-rounded educational opportunities. Under section 4107, funds may be used for programs and activities that support student access to music and the arts, which may include dance, media arts, theater, visual arts, and other art programs, to help promote academic achievement and student success in preparation for college, career, and life. Congress appropriated $1.38 billion for Title IV, Part A for FY 2023.

Title IV, Part B (21st Century Community Learning Centers)

The purpose of the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities in community learning centers that provide opportunities for academic enrichment as well as offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, including arts and music programs.  The 21st CCLC programs, which operate in districts, schools, and community-based organizations, are designed to align with and complement the academic program in the school by providing enrichment activities before- and after-school and during the summer. The programs provided $1.3 billion in FY 2023 to States, which in turn award competitive subgrants to eligible entities.

For more information about Federal Funding for the Arts Education, see our Topic Area Resources page.

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