February 11, 2021

Updates made 3/11: A 3/4/21 notice by the Department of Education in the Federal Register announced updated deadlines for the Assistance for Arts Education fiscal year (FY) 2021 grant applications. The deadline for Transmittal of Applications was moved from March 16 to April 15, 2021.The Deadline for Intergovernmental Review was moved from May 17 to June 14, 2021. Additionally, new potential grantees was removed as a Competitive Preference priority, while applicants that are national nonprofit organizations were maintained.

We want to share with you a recent notice by the Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education inviting applications for new awards for FY 2021 for the Assistance for Arts Education (AAE) Program. The agency identifies Art Therapy as a program priority—so we encourage you and your colleagues to consider applying. This is an excellent opportunity to support the work of art therapists making an impact every day in our schools! 

We created this FAQ to help you review the program and determine if it’s the right opportunity for you and your workplace. We hope you follow the links provided with more information and consider sharing this opportunity with your employer and art therapy network. Please note that the deadlines are fast-approaching: The notice of intent is requested by February 16th and the application deadline is March 16th




What is the purpose of the grant?

According to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website, the program “supports national-level, high-quality arts education projects and services for children and youth, with special emphasis on serving students from low-income families and students with disabilities.”

What types of projects are funded? 

Projects funded under this program must include:

  1. Professional development for arts educators, teachers, and principals; 
  2. Development and dissemination of accessible instructional materials and arts-based educational programming, including online resources, in multiple arts disciplines; and 
  3. Community and national outreach activities that strengthen and expand partnerships among schools, LEAs [Local Education Agency], communities, or centers for the arts, including national centers for the arts.

Where does art therapy come in? 

Art Therapy is the single “Invitational Priority” listed in the notice, which states:

Under this priority, an applicant must describe how it will include art therapy in their project to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, or reduce and resolve conflicts and distress.

The notice also lists a “Competitive Preference” priority for national nonprofit organization applicants. 

What types of institutions are eligible to apply?

The notice states that eligible applicants must be one of the following:

  1. An LEA [Local Education Agency] in which 20 percent or more of the students served by the local educational agency are from families with an income below the poverty line;
  2. A consortium of such LEAs;
  3. An SEA [State Education Agency];
  4. An IHE [Institute of Higher Education];
  5. A museum or cultural institution;
  6. The Bureau of Indian Education;
  7. An eligible national nonprofit organization; or
  8. Another private agency, institution, or organization.

What are the deadlines? 

  • Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: April 15, 2021
  • Deadline for Intergovernmental Review: June 14, 2021

How much funding is available? 

Here are the estimates offered in the notice: 

  • Type of Award: Discretionary grants
  • Estimated Available Funds: $16,500,000
  • Estimated Range of Awards: $375,000–$2,000,000
  • Estimated Average Size of Awards: $675,000
  • Estimated Number of Awards: 20–25
  • Project Period: Up to 60 months

How can I apply? 

Follow the links provided below. We recommend starting with the Pre-Application Slides that walk you through the process. 

Important Links: