Federal Grant Programs

Ed-Flex Program Waivers

Massachusetts is an approved Ed-Flex State under section 9207(d)(1) of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). Provided by the United States Department of Education, Massachusetts' Ed-Flex authority is effective through the 2023-2024 school year.

The Ed-Flex Program allows the Secretary of Education to delegate to states the authority to waive certain federal education requirements that may impede local efforts to reform and improve education. It is designed to help districts and schools carry out educational reforms and raise the achievement levels of all children by providing increased flexibility in the implementation of federal education programs.

Waiver Requests

Massachusetts has the authority to waive provisions of the following federal programs.

  • ESSA Title I, Part A (other than section 1111)
  • ESSA Title I, Part C
  • ESSA Title I, Part D
  • ESSA Title II, Part A
  • ESSA Title IV, Part A
  • Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2018

To date, the two most common Ed-Flex waiver requests have been under ESSA Title I, Part A, to waive:

  • the poverty threshold requirements for school-level Title I eligibility (enabling districts to serve schools that do not meet the required poverty threshold, but that still have significant needs)
  • the 15% limit on Title I, Part A allocation carryover from one fiscal year to the next.

Prior to requesting an Ed-Flex waiver for any of the allowable purposes listed above, we encourage you to consult with your federal grant program liaison directly, or contact federal grants programs at federalgrantprograms@mass.gov or (781) 338-6230.

To request an Ed-Flex waiver, complete and submit the Ed-Flex waiver form Download Word Document.

Waivers Not Authorized

Under Section 9207(c) of ESSA, the following statutory or regulatory requirements cannot be waived:

  • Maintenance of effort;
  • Comparability of services;
  • Equitable participation of students and professional staff in private schools;
  • Parental participation and involvement;
  • Distribution of funds to States or to local educational agencies;
  • Applicable civil rights requirements;
  • Serving eligible school attendance areas in rank order on in accordance with section 1113(a)(3) of ESSA;
  • the selection of a school attendance area or school under subsections (a) and (b) of section 1113 of ESSA, except that DESE may grant a waiver to allow a school attendance area or school to participate in activities under Title I, Part A if the percentage of children from low-income families in the school attendance area of such school or who attend such school is not less than 10 percentage points below the lowest percentage of such children for any school attendance area or school of the LEA that meets the requirements of such subsections; and
  • Use of Federal funds to supplement, not supplant, non-Federal funds.

Last Updated: April 8, 2020

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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