Nonpublic Schools

Intent & Purpose

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was amended in Dec. 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and requires school districts to provide equitable services to non-public school students, teachers, and other education personnel in some of its major grant programs. While nonpublic schools cannot receive direct funding from these federal grant programs, their students and teachers may be eligible to receive benefits, services, and materials with federal grant resources. The amount and type of services available to nonpublic schools is determined by grant program and based on equitable participation requirements. Services for nonpublic school students must be developed in consultation with officials of the nonpublic schools.


To help ensure equitable services and other benefits for eligible nonpublic school children, teachers and other educational personnel, and families, an SEA must designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce ESEA equitable services requirements under both Title I and Title VIII. (ESEA sections 1117(a)(3)(B) and 8501(a)(3)(B).)

What are the roles and responsibilities of an ombudsman?

An ombudsman should serve as an SEA’s primary point of contact for addressing questions and concerns from nonpublic school officials and LEAs regarding the provision of equitable services under Titles I and VIII. In addition, the ombudsman is required to monitor and enforce the equitable services requirements under Titles I and VIII and, thus, should have a significant role in the State’s monitoring process. Furthermore, the ombudsman should ensure that nonpublic school officials know how to contact the ombudsman. The following are examples of activities the ombudsman could undertake in fulfilling the roles and responsibilities of the position:

  • Serve as a general resource regarding equitable services requirements for both LEAs and nonpublic school officials, which may include conducting initial outreach to define the contours of the ombudsman’s responsibilities.
  • Develop, in partnership with other relevant SEA staff, monitoring protocols applicable to the provision of equitable services and participate in a sample of any monitoring activity.
  • Provide technical assistance regarding equitable services requirements for SEA staff administering applicable programs, LEA staff, and private school officials.
  • Establish a process for receiving documentation of agreement from LEAs consistent with the consultation requirement that the results of such agreement shall be transmitted to the ombudsman. (ESEA section 1117(b)(1).)
  • Participate in the State’s Title I Committee of Practitioners (ESEA section 1603(b)) and, as applicable, nonpublic schools working group.


  • What specific responsibilities does an ombudsman have with respect to monitoring and enforcement? 
    The primary responsibilities of an ombudsman are to monitor and enforce the equitable services requirements in Titles I and VIII. Accordingly, an ombudsman should work with SEA staff administering Title I and programs covered under Title VIII to develop monitoring protocols applicable to the provision of equitable services under each program. To ensure that monitoring protocols are being followed, the ombudsman should take an active role in the monitoring process, particularly with respect to the resolution of any findings regarding equitable services requirements under Titles I and VIII. The ombudsman also should serve as the primary point of contact for responding to and resolving any complaints regarding equitable services that the SEA receives under its ESEA complaint procedures.

Law & Guidance

The purpose of Title I and programs under Title VIII of the ESEA is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education and to close educational achievement gaps [ESEA Section 1001 and 8501-8506]. Each LEA that receives Title I funds identifies public school attendance areas and schools that have high concentrations of children from low-income families as eligible to participate in Title I programs [ESEA section 1113].

ESEA sections 1117 and 8501-8506 requires participating LEAs, in consultation with appropriate nonpublic school officials, to provide eligible children attending nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, their teachers, and their families with Title I or programs under Title VIII services or other benefits that are equitable to those provided to eligible public school children, their teachers, and their families. Eligible nonpublic school children are children who reside in a participating public school attendance area and are low achieving.

Nonpublic Schools have the option to participate in the following Federal Programs:

  • Title I, Part A – Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged
  • Title I, Part C – Education of Migratory Children
  • Title II, Part A – Preparing, Training and Recruiting high-Quality Teachers, Principals and Other School Leaders
  • Title III, Part A – Language Instruction for English Learner and Immigrant Students
  • Title IV, Part A – Students Support and Academic Enrichment
  • Title IV, Part B – 21st Century Community Learning Centers
    LEAs are required to conduct timely and meaningful consultation [ESEA Sections 1117(b) and 8501(c)] and to provide services that meet the needs of eligible nonpublic school students and, as applicable, their teachers and families [ESEA Sections 1117(a)(4)(A) and 8501(a)(1)].
    The goal of consultation is agreement between the LEA and appropriate nonpublic school officials on how to provide equitable and effective programs for eligible nonpublic school children [ESEA section 1117(b)(1)].

Forms & Tools

Nonpublic School Allocation Notice



2006 Equitable Services Toolkit

Back to Top
Share This Page!
Last updated on August 1, 2022