The Rural and Low-Income Schools (RLIS) Program provides grant funds to rural school districts that serve concentrations of children from low-income families. RLIS funds support a range of authorized activities in order to assist the school districts in meeting the state's definition of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and/or meet Annual Measurable Objectives under the ESEA Flexibility.

Awards are issued annually to NCDPI, which makes sub grants to the state's LEAs and charter schools that meet the applicable requirements. The amount of funding a state receives is based on its proportionate share of children in average daily attendance (ADA) in all LEAs eligible to participate.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 20 percent or more of children served (ages 5-17) are from families with incomes below the poverty line
  • All schools served have a locale code of 6, 7, or 8.
  • Are not eligible to participate in the SRSA program.

Use of Funds
Recipients may use program funds to conduct the following activities:

  • Teacher recruitment and retention, including the use of signing bonuses and other financial incentives;
  • Teacher professional development, including programs that train teachers to use technology to improve teaching and that train teachers of students with special needs;
  • Support for educational technology, including software and hardware, that meets the requirements of ESEA, Title II, Part D ;
  • Parental involvement activities;
  • Activities authorized under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities: State Grants program ;
  • Activities authorized under ESEA, Title I, Part A (Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEA;
  • Activities authorized under ESEA, Title III (Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students).

How to Apply
Local education agencies (LEAs) and charter schools are responsible for submitting an application through the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP). 

RLIS Laws, Regulations, and Guidance: