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Education Department to assess ‘equity’ when awarding grants across the country

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The Department of Education has released a document outlining its plan to increase “equity” in US schools.

The 19-page report explains the Department of Education’s plan to implement President Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting Racial Equity and Supporting Federally Underserved Communities.” The President’s administration has been tasked with strategizing equitable outcomes through federal government intervention in institutions perceived to be biased.

“As we enter a new era of opportunity for our nation, education must be at the forefront of our recovery, reconstruction and resilience efforts,” the department wrote in the report. “To realize this potential, our nation’s education system must address and address the long-standing disparities that students from underserved communities face in achieving equal educational opportunity.”


The department said it will assess how state and local governments and other entities plan to build equity into their grant proposals. The department awards millions of dollars in grants nationwide.

“To that end, the department intends to revise its regulations on the selection criteria used to assess applications submitted in a grant competition to allow non-federal peer reviewers to assess how a candidate incorporates equity into their proposed project,” the department wrote.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Education and Labor Committee hearing.

The report says funding for schools that educate low-income and racial minority students will be reallocated.

“Community Colleges, Regional State Universities, and HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, including Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), HSIs, AANAPISIs, Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions (ANNHs), and Non-Black Institutions Tribal Serving Native Americans (NASNTI)—some of the most inclusive colleges in the nation—disproportionately serve low-income students and students of color, but generally receive less education revenue per student than four-star institutions years.

Applications for government student loans will also be simplified, the ministry said. Citing a drop in college applications, the department is streamlining the FAFSA system to avoid “bullying.”

Seeking greater racial representation, the education department will begin “including collecting data on race, ethnicity and gender from FAFSA applicants for the first time and eliminating questions about drug convictions “.

The Department of Education Building, Washington, DC

The Department of Education Building, Washington, DC
(Robert Knopes/Educational Images/Universal Images Group)

Additionally, the government will increase funding for Pell grants, saying they are a key method for low-income students to attend university.

However, the department notes that “the value has declined as university prices continue to rise. The President has pledged to double the maximum Pell grant.”

The Department of Education will also use an “Equity Dashboard” program to better inform its decision-making. This “dashboard” will also serve as a “single source of truth” for government officials.

“The dashboard is intended to […] provide the Department and other stakeholders with a “single source of truth” accompanied by statistically appropriate plain language interpretations,” the department wrote.


After more than a year of review, more than 90 federal agencies, including all major cabinet departments, released their “fairness action plans” on Thursday.

Education efforts are among the hundreds of strategies and commitments that Biden Administration announced Thursday. They are the product of an executive order that President Joe Biden signed hours after taking office with the goal of advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities across the federal government.

the justice department improves language access to its programs to help people with limited English proficiency better report crimes. The Department of the Interior provides technical assistance to Native American tribes to help them apply for grants. The Department of Energy helps low-income households access programs to cool their homes and save energy.


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