Title IV Toolkit

Use Federal Title IV Money For Your Music Program in Pennsylvania

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), new funding opportunities are available that could directly benefit music education.  One of those is in Title IV of the law and known as Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG).

ESSA eliminated what we knew as “core” academic subjects and created what we now know as “well-rounded” subject areas.  Music has, for the first time, been called out in federal law as a well-rounded subject.  The SSAEG grants are designed to be used to ensure a well-rounded education and that means music is a part of it.

It’s important for music educators to explore using these funds because:

  1. Any additional funds can be helpful to music education programs
  2. Proving the value of this new funding stream may serve to increase the amount of funding in the future
  3. By asking for funding, you may find your administration will find ways to fund your program, even if it’s isn’t through these federal funds

Each state will have a different process to gain access to these funds.  We have reviewed the way the Pennsylvania Department of Education will distribute these funds and compiled a to do list for music educators to attempt to use some of this funding for music education in their district.

We’ve spelled out the process in detail to help you get money for your music program.  You can view a PDF spelling out the process.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Conduct a “needs assessment” to determine in what areas your program can be improved
  2. Present a case to your administration that you can use this SSAEG money for things or experiences that your district’s regular budget doesn’t support
  3. Provide supporting information to your administration so they can include it on their Pennsylvania federal funds application

Using Federal Title IV, Part A Funds for Music Education in Pennsylvania

What is ESSA, Title IV?

ESSA (The Every Student Succeeds Act) is the nation’s PK-12 education law.

The law spells out policies schools must follow but also funding opportunities.

ESSA defines subject areas as “well-rounded” – the law specifically defines MUSIC and ARTS as well-rounded subjects.

That means Congress intends for ALL students to have access to every WELL-ROUNDED subject listed in the law.

Title IV of the law (knows as Student Support and Academic Achievement Grants) provides funding for three areas: a WELL-ROUNDED education, safe and healthy school, the effective use of technology.

Schools receive funding and have flexibility in the amount and the way they spend these federal funds.

What Can I Use It For?

These federal funds are supplemental.  That means they can’t supplant or take the place of funds your school is already providing. Providing more student access and/or providing new access to all students is a goal of this funding.

You can make the case to use these funds for a variety of things including:

  • Musical Instruments
  • Sheet Music
  • General Music Supplies/Text Books
  • Performance Space Upgrades
  • Music Technology
  • Curriculum Materials
  • Content Area Specific Professional Development
  • Arts Integration
  • Additional Music Courses
  • Music Related Field Trips
  • Summer Program for Music Lessons or Summer Concert

You can use the NAfME Opportunity to Learn Standards to perform a needs assessment to begin.

How Do I Access the Money?

Conduct a needs assessment. That can be as simple as looking at your school or district’s entire music program and see where students are lacking or there is unequal access to music education.

Collaboration is key!

Consult with your colleagues, administrators, parents, and community members to assess the needs of your program.

Talk to the federal program coordinator in your district. (This could be someone in central administration or another building level administrator assigned to this district-wide position.)

Explain to the coordinator that you are interested in finding out about Title IV funding being used for the music program in your district.

Come prepared with what you’d propose using the funds for and WHY you want to use them. (Who will benefit from the funds and how will they be spent? How will more students gain access to programs by using these funds?)


NAfME Opportunity to Learn Standards

Contact Mark Despotakis, PMEA DIrector of Public and Government Affairs – advocacy@pmea.net

Title IV questions/Need assistance with next steps for your proposal or application: Contact Dorie Martin-Pitone, Ed. D of the Lower Merion School District.


Have you successfully used Title IV funds for arts education in your school? If you have, let us know as we want to collect success stories to share. E-mail us at advocacy@pmea.net