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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2024: Primary Instruction by Volunteers

Fund Code: 287


The purpose of this Competitive grant program is to provide access to highly effective adult basic education services to eligible adults who cannot or will not enroll in class based instructional services at a Community Adult Learning Center.


The priority is to support one statewide standalone program that offers volunteer tutoring services annually to approximately 1,000 eligible adult students in cities and town in the Commonwealth including Gateway cities and that:

  1. demonstrates past effectiveness in providing one-on-one academic instruction for ABE or ESOL students;

  2. provides one-on-one adult basic education instruction through the use of well-trained and well-supported volunteer tutors;

  3. for ABE services, ensures the program implements a curriculum that is aligned with the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE)

  4. for ESOL services, ensures that the program implements a curriculum that is aligned with the standards and benchmarks of the Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (MA ELPS) and the standards of the College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education (CCRSAE) at all levels;

  5. provides services that are effective in assisting adults to develop the college and career readiness skills needed to successfully transition to higher education and stable jobs that provide a family-sustaining wage; and

  6. Provides services that are aligned with the strategy and goals identified in the Local Workforce Development Plan Package.


Eligible applicants may include, but are not limited to:
(a) A local educational agency; (b) A community-based organization or faith-based organization; (c) A volunteer literacy organization; (d) An institution of higher education; (e) A public or private nonprofit agency; (f) A library; (g) A public housing authority; (h) A nonprofit institution that has the ability to provide adult education and literacy activities to eligible individuals; (i) A consortium or coalition of the agencies, organizations, institutions, libraries, or authorities described in any of paragraphs (a) through (h) of this section; and (j) A partnership between an employer and an entity described in any of paragraphs (a) through (i) of this section.

Funding Type:

State Line Item 7035-0002


The total allocation available for one statewide primary instruction by volunteers' program is approximately $500,000. Funds are contingent upon satisfactory performance, the appropriation of state and federal funds, and the continuance of federal authorizing legislation.

Funding is contingent upon availability. All dollar amounts listed are estimated/approximate and are subject to change. If more funding is to become available, it will be distributed under the same guideline as listed in the initial RFP document.

Funding is contingent upon availability. All dollar amounts listed are estimated/approximate and are subject to change. If more funding becomes available, it will be distributed under the same guidelines that appear in this RFP document.

Fund Use:

Funds must be used to provide Adult Basic Education instructional services, delivered by well-trained volunteers, including basic skills, pre-adult secondary education, adult secondary education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

Personnel costs may include paid staff time for: recruitment; volunteer/student orientation; volunteer training and ongoing support; required and ongoing assessment of student progress; establishing and maintaining tutor/student matches; advising; follow-up; referral; professional development data collection/entry; and administration. A portion of the funds may be used to support non-personnel related costs.

The FY24-FY28 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Adult Education in Community Adult Learning Centers and Correctional Institutions should be used as guidance to provide adult education to eligible students; eligible students are:

  • are at least 16 years of age;

  • are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under state law; and

  • do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent and have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or are basic skills deficient; or are English language learners.

Students under 18 must provide a letter of withdrawal from the local school district in order to enroll in the program. Students who are home schooled must provide a letter from the local school district stating that they are not enrolled.

As defined by the Code of Federal Regulations, 34 CFR §463.25 and §463.26, not less than 95 percent of funds must be spent on adult education direct services and literacy activities. If awarded, programs may negotiate on an individual basis with DESE to determine an adequate level of funds for non-instructional purposes by submitting a written request and rationale annually with their continuation applications. Administrative costs must be reasonable, necessary, and allocable.

Adult Education and Family Literacy Services is a restricted rate program that is subject to a statutory "supplement not supplant" restriction. For this competition, applicants may include indirect cost rates to recover certain business-related expenses necessary to support the proposed services.

  • Local Education Agencies (LEA) may apply their district rate .

  • A non-LEA that has a current federally approved restricted indirect cost rate may use that rate.

  • A non-LEA that has an FY22 approved indirect cost rate may use that rate for purposes of an application under this funding opportunity. However, if awarded a grant, the agency must reapply to DESE for FY24 and annually through the grant cycle (2 CFR 200.332).

  • A non-LEA that does not have either a Federal or DESE approved indirect cost rate may budget up to 8% percent of the agency's proposed budget to recover certain business-related expenses. However, if awarded a grant, the agency must apply to DESE for FY24 and that there is no guarantee that the rate will be approved (2 CFR 200.332).

Project Duration:

Upon Approval – 06/30/2024.

Conditionally renewable annually for up to 2 (two) additional years.

Program Unit:

Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)


All inquiries must be submitted in writing to PIV Question Portal. Q&A with answers to inquiries will be posted to ACLS Funding Opportunities on the ACLS website. Requests for assistance with submitting inquiries or locating the Q&A may be directed to the ACLS receptionist at (781) 338-3850.

The deadline for applicant submission of questions is Friday, October 7, 2022.

It is the responsibility of applicants to remain up to date with the posted questions and answers. Any RFP updates or revisions contained in the Q&A will supersede previous versions of the same.

Phone Number:

(781) 338-3850

Date Due:

Monday, January 23, 2023

Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.

Required Forms:
Additional Information:

Additional Requirements:

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, As Amended, is a pre-requisite to receipt of a grant award.

Applicants are required to provide an auditable matching share of 20% of the total amount of the requested grant award.

With the exceptions noted below, no entity may receive an award unless the entity has provided a copy of the applying agency's latest completed audit report, issued by an independent certified public accountant. If this audit report is not included, the proposal will not be considered. Excepted from this requirement are state and local entities whose audits the Department accesses directly, such as state colleges, community colleges, and universities, state and county correctional facilities, local public educational authorities and city- or town-operated public libraries.

Submission Instructions:

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the PIV RFP submission portal.

Applicants will create an account and be able to enter the portal for the RFP. Once you have created a user account and entered the portal, you will be asked to:

Enter basic information

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required. You will not be able to submit your grant unless you include data or uploads in all required fields.

Please note that you are presented with two choices at the bottom of the submission webpage: <Save Draft> and <Submit>. Once you choose Submit, you are no longer able to make edits or change the files you wish to upload. Save Draft should be used routinely until you have completed the entire process and are certain you are ready to send your materials submission to us.

Also, please note that the Part II — Budget Workbook is an Excel for PC document. Please do not work on this document in Excel for Mac, as it will not render properly, even if you subsequently save the document in a PC environment.

If problems occur while using the portal anytime, or if you encounter technical difficulties with the Part II — Budget Workbook after October 10, 2022, contact Paula Jurigian .

Submit a response to all narrative prompts as applicable. Pages that exceed the page limits will not be reviewed and scored.

Applicants are required to provide page numbers on every page of the narrative response. All narrative responses must be in a font no smaller than Arial 10 font, with 1" margins on all sides.

Awarded Recipients: Upon award, recipients will be required to enter the approved budget and Part I in EdGrants. Once selected, recipients will be contacted with further instructions on the process.

All required forms must be attached in EdGrants in addition to the following based on applicant type:


State Agencies with ISAs: Waiver filed with ANF to reduce the amount of indirect charged to these grant funds in MMARS. It is the responsibility of the applying entity that is a state agency to file an indirect waiver request with ANF and send a copy of the approved request to CTR. DESE cannot request indirect waivers on behalf of state agencies. (See Fund Use section for more info; See Additional Information for Colleges/State Agencies section for the ANF Waiver Request Form)

Additional Information for Colleges / State Agencies

The information below is intended for state entities that require ISAs as part of their grant award process. Not intended for Private or Community Based Organizations.

  1. ISA process timeline

  2. MA Expenditure Classification Handbook

  3. MA Comptroller's Office Fringe Information

  4. ISA and EdGrants Amendment Requirements

  5. Process for waiving indirect costs (state agencies only)

  6. Indirect Waiver Request form (state agencies only)

  7. Section 5D: Indirect and fringe benefit costs expended from the General Fund: recovery by the comptroller (state agencies only)

  8. Federal Grants Cost Allocation

Programs with administrative costs above 5% will also need to submit an Administrative Cost Justification Form.

Note: DESE reserves the right to conduct a site visit prior to award.

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the PIV RFP submission portal.

Last Updated: October 25, 2023

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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


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