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Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs

FY2024: Transition to College

Fund Code: 668


The purpose of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Transition to College grant program (Transition Program) is to provide a foundation of services, free of charge, within Massachusetts colleges that enable adult learners to enroll, persist, and complete postsecondary education.

Self-sufficiency is the ultimate goal of Transition Program services. To that end, applicants may propose Transition to College services and College Support Services as described below.


Transition to College Services (required)

The following priorities have been established for Transition to College Services:

  • establish two or more Memoranda of Agreement with DESE-funded Community Adult Learning Centers (CALCs) or Correctional Institutions (see Appendix A in FY 2024 – FY 2026 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Transition to College Programs);
  • enroll and retain at least one cohort of 15 adults, 12 of whom were previously enrolled in DESE-funded CALCs or Correctional Institutions for a program design lasting one academic year;
  • incorporate at least one cohort strategy (e.g., students' enrollment in a common course, ongoing group advising);
  • fully integrate students into the college;
  • provide academic instruction, including a College for Success course, and intrusive advising;
  • offer a program design that focuses on providing students in-person or hybrid classes and on-campus experiences;
  • offer at least two credit-bearing courses (3 credits per course);
  • provide access to additional credit-bearing courses (priority funding will be given to proposals that propose high numbers of credit-bearing courses above the required minimum).

College Support Services (optional)

The College Support Services program is an optional service offering intended for colleges interested in providing services to Transition students after one academic year. It is DESE's expectation that these students have achieved some level of self-sufficiency and would not need the same level of intrusive advising they had in their first academic year. Applicants will need to describe the need for continued services and how they will provide a gradual release of responsibility in order for students to achieve full self-sufficiency.

The following priorities have been established for College Support Services:

  • propose a number of Transition students to serve and retain;
  • propose a period of time to serve these students (maximum of two semesters or one academic year);
  • propose advising and other services to build on the self-management competencies students acquired in the first academic year such as ongoing advising that will move students to self-sufficiency.
  • provide additional services such as access to credit-bearing courses and facilitating students' transition to four-year colleges.

Eligible applicants are Massachusetts colleges.

Funding Type:



Approximately $3.5 million is available to fund Transition to College services. See the grant ranges below.

Transition to College grants:

  • One cohort of 15 students: up to $140,000
  • Two cohorts of 15 students up to $175,000

College Support Services grants: up to $50,000 (optional)

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.

DESE will award funding to meritorious proposals based primarily upon the quality of the responses to this Request for Proposals and the score and rank of proposals as determined by proposal review teams. Though award amounts will vary, in general, proposals with higher scores will receive larger proportions of their requests for funding than proposals with lower scores. Exceptions, however, may exist.

Fund Use:

Funds must be used in accordance with the FY 2024 – 2026 Massachusetts Policies for Effective Transition to College Programs. Programs should adhere to the community college's policies around student eligibility when determining the eligibility of prospective students.

Administrative costs (including indirect) may not exceed 15% of the total grant award.

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.

  • A non-LEA that has a current federally approved restricted indirect cost rate may use that rate.
  • A non-LEA that has an FY23 approved indirect cost rate may use that rate. 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 through June 30, 2024; conditionally renewable for up to additional two years.

Renewals are subject to satisfactory performance, the appropriation of state, and the continuance of federal authorizing legislation. Total grant award duration will not exceed three years (initial year plus renewals).

Program Unit:

Adult and Community Learning Services

Contact & Inquiries:

All inquiries must be submitted in writing to Transitions RFP Question Submission Form. 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, February 17, 2023.

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:

Friday, February 24, 2023, by 5:00 p.m. Eastern*

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

*All responses must be received by the due date listed above. Failure to do so will result in disqualification. Responses not received on time will not be reviewed. Applicants applying after the due date may be notified their application was received late and will not be reviewed. Applications must be submitted as directed in the Submissions Instructions below. Failure to do so may result in disqualification. If you need assistance with submitting your application, please reach out to the contact person listed on this funding opportunity.

Bidder's Virtual Conference:

Prospective applicants are invited to a Virtual Bidders' Conference to be held on:

Thursday, January 5, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting

Friday, January 6, 2023, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting

Required Forms:
Additional Information:

It is the responsibility of the applicant to return to this Request for Proposals and the Q&A page for updates and amendments. All updates and amendments supersede previous versions.

Submission Instructions:

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the 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 February 10, 2023 contact Paula Jurigian .

Submit a response to all narrative prompts as applicable. (Note: The Part III narrative response application may not exceed 20 pages for Transition to College services and five pages for College Support Services). Pages that exceed the above 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. All required forms must be attached in EdGrants in addition to the following based on applicant type:

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 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)

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

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the RFP submission portal.

Last Updated: February 15, 2023

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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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