What Is a Title 1 School? A Guide to Funding Benefits & Requirements

What Is a Title 1 School? A Guide to Funding Benefits & Requirements
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

The term “title 1 school” traces its roots to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty policy in 1965, with Title 1 funds being one of its cornerstones. Now, it is a focal point of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The program gives a fair chance of improving US students’ academic achievements through funding, holistically. To put it more clearly, Title 1 funds grant school districts federal sponsorship, which covers the provision of clothing, support personnel, and classroom materials. These center on economically disadvantaged students to which funding is apportioned (Bajak, et al., 2020).

The U.S. Department of Education affirms that Title 1 was developed to guarantee that underprivileged students obtain a just, yet high-quality education by bridging gaps in educational achievement. This funding is considered the largest federal assistance program for public schools all over the country (Spivey, n.d.).

So, what are Title 1 schools? You can learn more about these schools, their funding, eligibility requirements, and more in this article.

What Is a Title 1 School? Table of Contents

  1. What does a Title 1 school mean?
  2. What programs are available for Title 1 schools?
  3. What is the Federal Loan Teacher Forgiveness program?
  4. Eligibility of Schools to Receive Title 1 Funds
  5. How the Title 1 Funds Are Used in Schools
  6. Other Qualified Students for the Title 1 Funds
  7. The 2019 List of Title 1 Schools

What does a Title 1 school mean?

First, what does a Title 1 school mean? A school consisting of a lower-income student population is given Title 1 sponsorship to aid students who are behind or have high chances to fall behind.

Through state educational agencies (SEAs), the financial aid is delivered to local educational agencies (LEAs) and public schools (Clark, 2019).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2018 and 2019 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

The Goals of Title 1 Schools

Title 1 schools throughout the country provide additional educational support to students. Such support goes beyond the traditional classroom, helping low-income students satisfy state requirements in basic pedagogical subjects. They organize and consolidate services and materials from federal, state, and local sources. At least 40% of the students must be identified as low-income to be eligible for Title 1 school funding.

What do Title 1 schools get? According to recent U.S. public education spending statistics, Title 1 funds provide more than $14 billion annually to school systems nationwide for poverty-stricken students or students who are living near poverty.

Pediatrics‘ 2019 article “Poverty and Early Childhood Outcomes” probes the relationships among the different results and poverty levels at different points during a child’s initial five years. Leslie L. Ross, et al. begin by describing how poverty affects students at an early age and later in life. “Children born into poverty face significant challenges. Family difficulties are likely to result in poor educational, social, and health outcomes. Poverty is associated with various factors that lead to poor academic achievement, including atypical structural development, limited language development, and a greater likelihood of experiencing food insecurity. Lack of school readiness predicts later cognitive problems and adult psychosocial adjustment.”

Title 1 funding of the U.S. public school systems

What programs are available for Title 1 schools?

The targeted assistance school program and the schoolwide program are the two available programs for Title 1 schools. Both programs strive to enhance teaching and learning to let students meet the learning requirements. The requirements to achieve this goal are:

  • The Consolidated Application targeting procedure needs to determine qualified schools to benefit from Title 1 sponsorship.
  • Students must present achievements to participate in the program.
  • The regular academic program needs to be organized and supported.
  • Highly eligible teachers need to provide instructions.
  • The growth in parental participation must be observed.
  • May offer services to students below 21 years of age who are eligible for a free public education until grade 12, and/or not yet at a grade level where the LEA offers free public education

Title 1 Targeted Assistance School Program

The targeted assistance school program is provided to schools that do not comply with the schoolwide program’s 40% low-income student threshold. Title 1 teachers only offer services to selected students. The financial aid can only be used to offer services to selected students who exhibit a significant need for academic assistance.

Enactment of the Targeted Assistance School Program

  • Staff uses different ways to identify which children are qualified to be included in the program.
  • Various academically related goal standards are set by the LEA for grade 3 students and above.
  • Criteria, like teacher judgment, parent interviews, and developmentally suited means for students from preschool through grade 2.
  • The same criteria are used to identify financially disadvantaged, physically and/or cognitively disabled, and migrant children.
  • Resources are used to hire staff who work only for qualified students.
  • Files reporting that Part A funds are used on qualified students only must be kept.

Title 1 Schoolwide Program

The Title 1 schoolwide program aims to reform the full academic program in Title 1 schools, thus increasing educational achievement for all the students. This program is provided to schools that have at least a 40% student population from low-income households. The main objective is to guarantee that all children, specifically the disadvantaged ones, will showcase at least proficient achievement levels.

There are no differences between employees compensated with Title 1 assets and those who are not. All school employees must do their best to improve the overall academic program and student achievement, specifically the low-achieving ones. According to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all schoolwide projects that wish to be continuously granted with funds must carry out a needs assessment and a suitable plan and perform a yearly program review.

Enactment of the Schoolwide Program

  • No less than 40% of the students must come from low-income households.
  • The planning schedule must be completed.
  • An extensive plan must have been created in consultation with the LEA and the school support personnel for upgrading the overall school academic program. Parents and other community fellows, teachers, principals, administrators, technical assistance staff, school staff, and students must be included in planning.

The Benefits of the Schoolwide Program

Schools administering schoolwide programs cater to all students to enhance student achievement. They do not have to select particular students as all enrolled students are qualified to benefit from the Title 1 services, which include firsthand directives from employees compensated with Title 1 funds. A report showing that Part A funds are being used on services to unqualified students is not mandated.

Schoolwide programs can use their Title 1 aid in multiple ways, but they need to take part in improvement approaches that boost learning time and quality and deliver an outstanding curriculum (Clark, 2019).

Title 1 School Teachers

The ESSA states that all teaching personnel of Title 1 schools, as well as paraprofessionals, must be highly eligible and experienced. For areas with serious needs, a unique process must be observed and done.

Teachers instruct, while paraprofessional academics support and supervise students, assist teachers, and augment traditional classroom programs with more activities or offer managerial guidance for teaching.

Licensed teachers in other subjects and paraprofessionals may supplement instructional activities but not the actual instruction. The involvement of parents is also a vital element of day-to-day Title 1 school operations.

What are the requirements for Title 1 teachers and paraprofessionals?

Reading and math tests have serious implications for schools, most especially those that cater to the disadvantaged group. If results turn out bad, the reputation of the school will also gain a bad image. Many parents now ask: Are Title 1 schools bad? (Nicolas, 2018).

The link between academic underachievement and poverty is real, and this is where competent and skilled teachers and school personnel come into the picture. Title 1 teachers are required to be aptly licensed for the grade and content, whether the program is targeted assistance or schoolwide.

Meanwhile, all paraprofessionals are required to comply with ESSA criteria to be qualified both for Title 1 targeted assistance and schoolwide program. A paraprofessional must earn a high school diploma and two years of college education or an associate’s degree or have satisfied certain standards. He or she must also be able to exemplify knowledge of and the capacity to support the teaching of reading, writing, and math (Clark, 2019).

Title 1 funds and parental role

What is the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?

The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is hailed as the most advantageous forgiveness option for teachers. Teachers are qualified for an instant principal reduction of $5,000 to $17,000 on their loans and finish forgiveness after 10 years. Any balance will also be forgiven after the 10-year term. The 10-year forgiveness is a component of the public service loan forgiveness program. However, teachers mostly qualify and gain benefits from both programs (Wadia, 2019).

Requirements for Qualified Teachers

Qualified teachers and Title 1 teachers are qualified for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. Some of the requirements include:

  • Have worked as a full-time teacher for five continuous, complete school years. One of these years must have been after the 1997-98 school year at an elementary or high school in a school district that
  • Is eligible for sponsorship under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or
  • Has been chosen by the Department of Education based on a resolution that over 30% of the school’s population comprises students who are eligible for Title 1 services, and
  • Is included in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits

If one’s school or academic service company satisfies the requirements for a minimum of one year of teaching service but does not satisfy these requirements throughout the four succeeding years, the succeeding years of teaching may be considered regarding the mandated five years of teaching (Clark, 2019).

Eligibility of Schools to Receive Title 1 Funds

Schools that will qualify for Title 1 funds are selected by the federal poverty census information. The amount of funds that a school will receive depends on its population of low-income students.

LEAs administer the Title 1 funds they obtain to public schools where most low-income students reside.

Source: EducationData.org, 2021

How the Title 1 Funds Are Used in Schools

Title 1 funds can be used for the advancement of academic programs, teaching activities, counseling, parental participation, staff employment, and so on. The funding aims to support schools in achieving the academic goals of low-income students. The U.S. Department of Education claims that Title 1 funds usually prompt further teaching of reading and math.

What are the services offered by Title 1 Schools?

Title 1 programs carry out services that strengthen the traditional classroom program. These services are:

  • Additional teaching time and guidance for students.
  • More teachers and paraprofessionals to lessen the sizes of classes.
  • Purpose-built teaching methods and acquisition of teaching supplies and equipment.
  • Parental participation and activities.
  • Pre-kindergarten initiatives.
  • After-hours and summer projects that lengthen and fortify the traditional curriculum.

Other Qualified Students for the Title 1 Funds

Private school students who reside in Title 1 school attendance areas or manifest educational needs can also benefit from the Title 1 funds.

Migrants, children with little English skills, homeless children, children with disabilities, abandoned children, delinquent children, at-risk children, or any children in need are also considered for the funding.

Children who perform poorly in their studies, are delayed a grade for one or more years, or are homeless are all deemed at-risk (Clark, 2019).

The 2019 List of Title 1 Schools

Title 1 funding works toward helping disadvantaged children progress along with others (U.S. Department of Education, n.d.). Check out the estimated ESEA Title 1 LEA allocations per state as of 2019.

What’s next for the Title 1 School funding?

This April, President Joe Biden issued a financial blueprint for the coming year. The blueprint orders Congress to increase the funding of the U.S. Department of Education by over 40%. Title 1 funding for low-income schools would increase by $20 billion, the largest year-over-year growth since the creation of the program in 1965. At the same time, there have been proposals to invest in special education, community schools, school counselors, cheap housing, and health care while offering Pell Grants to Dreamers.

National Educational Association President Becky Pringle said that President Biden and his administration are fulfilling their promise to improve the lives of the country’s most vulnerable households by providing funding that genuinely prioritizes them. Indeed, Title 1 investment is a continued devotion to creating a better nation for everyone through education (National Education Association, 2021). Regardless of the concentration of poverty in American schools, the fund brings kids at least a step closer to a bright future.



  1. Bajak, A., Machado, T., & Wihhey, J. (2020, May 26). The 2020 census and Title 1 funding for schools: Interactive maps to localize your state’s stakes. The Journalist’s Resource.
  2. Clark, L. (2019, October 3). What Are Title 1 Schools. Student Debt Relief.
  3. National Education Association. (2021, April 9). President Biden calls for historic investment in Title 1. National Education Association.
  4. Nicolas, M. (2018, June 22). Don’t believe the hype—Title 1 schools are good schools. Tallahassee Democrat.
  5. Ross, Leslie L., Wall-Wieler, E., & Boram Lee, J. (2019, June 6). Poverty and Early Childhood Outcomes. Pediatrics.
  6. Spivey, Becky L. (n.d.). What is Title 1? Handy Handouts.
  7. U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Estimated ESEA Title 1 LEA Allocations—FY 2019. U.S. Department of Education.
  8. Wadia, J. (2019, February 18). Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Student Debt Relief.

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