ERIC Identifier: ED260872
Publication Date: 1984-09-00
Author: Binder, Eugene
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools Las Cruces NM.

Alternative Funding Sources for Migrant Education.

Federal dollars for migrant education were first allocated in 1967 by Congressional amendment of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The initial authorization of $9,737,000 was used to implement 121 elementary projects for some 43,000 children.

By 1983, the allocation had grown to $225,744,000 and supported more than 3,000 projects for some 600,000 pre-school, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary migrant children and young adults. These figures reflect a cost-per-pupil increase of more than two times the initial allocation (EDUCATION BRIEFING PAPER 1981).


Yes. Despite the federal effort to provide increasing funds through a wide range of both single-funding agencies and multi-funded program operations, migrant educators continue to fall behind in their efforts to maintain the necessary dollar amounts to keep pace with the needs of the children of migrant farmworkers (TITLE I, ESEA, MIGRANT EDUCATION PROGRAM FUNDING HISTORY 1981).

Spiraling inflation, increased program costs, and increased numbers of eligible children have surpassed the federal government's ability to provide additional resources. To keep pace with real dollar costs of migrant programs, alternative funding sources must be identified and tapped.


If migrant education is to maintain its national momentum and effectively meet the educational needs of migrant children, new fiscal sources, apart from a shrinking share of the federal dollar must be found. Administrators for migrant groups and migrant support groups should become acquainted with the vast range of funding opportunities available.

Federal, state, local, and private sector agencies that have traditionally served the poor, the disadvantaged, and other special-need target populations could serve the migrant student as well. Such publications as CORPORATE FOUNDATION PROFILES (1983), THE FOUNDATION DIRECTORY (1983), and the CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE (1983) are good places to start.


Funding sources may be found in provisions of Title I, Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by Public Law 95-561. Ten percent of the $3,200,394,000 provided by the amended act is reserved for migrant education. The remainder is appropriated for other special programs for disadvantaged student populations.

There is little evidence that these "other" funds are being leveraged to any great extent by migrant educators to supplement their own program costs even though migrant children are eligible for all services under these funds. Besides Chapter I funds, migrants are eligible for Chapter II funds and for Title VII bilingual funds of the act. This approach to federal funding suggests many opportunities for alternative funding that are not being thoroughly used.

Other federal discretionary funds are also available to provide educational services to migrants. Agencies such as Labor, Health and Human Services, Commerce, Agriculture, Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Office of the Attorney General may be approached. Currently, few requests are being made for these funds by migrant education administrators. A recent review of the Federal Catalog of Domestic Programs noted some 27 federal agencies that had established funding priorities for migrants.

Another potential funding resource is the states' Title I set-aside monies. Each year individual states reserve a certain percentage of all federal Title I dollars received to cover either existing or projected funding shortages that might result if federal appropriations are cut off. The formulas used to determine the amount of carry-over or held-back dollars were calculated many years ago when the first flow of federal aid to education began.

Although the formulas vary from state to state, they add up to significant amounts of unused dollars. If these old formulas were recalculated to reflect the current philosophy of federal aid to education, they could release significant amounts of program dollars. Migrant programs could be among the beneficiaries of such a change.

Such state agencies as those for employment and training, health and human services, and agriculture continue to target funds for direct and supplemental migrant education services. The possibility of securing funds from local service agency contractors -- such as community based organizations (CBO's) funded by economic development block grant monies, by United Way dollars, or by Service Delivery Administrative Agencies funded under the new Job Training Partnership Act -- also should be explored.


The final and most underused source for migrant funds is the private sector. Despite more than 100 years of foundation, corporate, and individual giving to promote a wide range of education, welfare, health, income assistance, and cultural and arts activities, only a handful of migrant educators have turned to this source for funding assistance.

Yet in 1983, foundations contributed more than $1.8 billion to educational activites, corporations more than $1 billion, and individual benefactors more than $20 billion (FOUNDATION NEWS 1984).

Although much of the private sector contributions for education went to activities that served disadvantaged populations, there is only scattered evidence that these activities included migrant children. In a very recent review of major foundations located in Texas whose resources exceed $3 billion and who have prioritized educational activities for disadvantaged populations, only two small grants out of literally hundreds could be identified as migrant related. A review of the educational contributions made to disadvantaged populations by 75 of the leading corporate sponsors revealed no evidence of any significant monies going to migrant education (THE FOUNDATION DIRECTORY 1983).


The resources are available, but appropriate steps must be taken to reach them. Raising additional funds is a long-range process that requires coordinated action and sustained effort. The following steps are important in achieving success:

--Identify alternative funding sources. There are a number of directories, indices, and reports which catalog the activities of private foundations and corporations. Most useful are the publications prepared by the Foundation Center and distributed by the Columbia University Press. The basic references are the FOUNDATION DIRECTORY and the CORPORATE FOUNDATIONS PROFILE. They list all U.S. foundations and corporate foundations which have assets of more than $1,000,000 or which distribute at least $100,000 in grants. There are four indexes to each of these publications: (1) geographic location; (2) donors, trustees and administrators; (3) an alphabetical list of foundation names; and (4) fields of interest.

--Research each source to find those with interests similar to yours.

--Determine how the source prefers to be approached. Some may accept no more than a prospectus.

--Cultivate new sources. Develop written proposals, make personal calls, and use mutual friends. Establish and maintain contact by direct mail, by telephone, or in person.

--Acknowledge each source for its past services on similar populations.

--Thank the source for any time and effort given. This increases the likelihood of receiving financial support.


Be sure that the survival of your agency is not solely dependent upon the alternative source you have chosen. New funding support must be merited; it must be sought, earned and then won.

Once you decide what is needed -- whether funds for staff, for program operations, for building maintenance, or for some other area that is most critical, then prepare a proposal limited to that area.

A good proposal should not exceed two or three single-space typewritten pages and should include a detailed budget. The message should be conveyed simply and directly so that the reader can easily understand your program's mission and need.


Federal aid is not sufficient to meet the funding needs of migrant education programs that must serve a growing, deserving student population. The challenge, now, is to prevent any drastic cuts in traditional migrant funding while simultaneously finding additional funds in other federal, state, local and private agencies. Endeavors in both areas will be needed to ensure that migrant education continues to maintain a national focus.



TITLE I, ESEA, MIGRANT EDUCATION PROGRAM FUNDING HISTORY. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 1981. ED 209 033.

CORPORATE FOUNDATION PROFILES, 3rd Edition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

THE FOUNDATION DIRECTORY, 9TH EDITION. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983.

Hinkle, Glenn R., Robert L. Tipton, and Terrence R. Tutchings. WHO CARES? WHO COUNTS? A NATIONAL STUDY OF MIGRANT STUDENTS' EDUCATIONAL NEEDS. FINAL REPORT. Austin, TX: St. Edward's University, 1979. ED 180 701.

FOUNDATION NEWS (May/June 1984):9.

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