i3 Validation and Scale-Up Federal Grants


The U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) program was developed in order to support educational initiatives that proved to be effective in improving student achievement. The i3 program targets initiatives that improve student growth, close achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, increase graduation rates, or increase college acceptance and attendance rates.

Transform Consulting Group highlighted the i3 grant opportunity last year. The overall grant focus and structure has not changed, and the timeline remains somewhat the same.

The i3 program comes in three different grant opportunities. The first, Developmental grants, finished their pre-application process on March 14th. However, two more grant opportunities remain: Validation grants and Scale-up grants. Both of these grants fund the development of already existing projects that have shown evidence of effectiveness.

Initiatives seeking the Validation grant must show “moderate” evidence of effectiveness.  Programs must be able to make an impact at least at the regional level.  In past years, Validation grants have prioritized initiatives that focus on improving educator effectiveness, STEM education, educational outcome for English Language Learners, the use and student learning of technology, and/or education in rural communities.  Validation grants have typically awarded around $15,000,000 to awardees.

Initiatives seeking the Scale-up grant must show “strong” evidence of effectiveness and be capable of creating impact at the national level. These grants have prioritized programs that improve educator effectiveness, improve STEM education, improve education in rural communities, improve low-performing schools, and/or implement internationally benchmarked, college- and career-ready standards. Scale-up grants in the past have awarded between $25 and $50,000,000 to awardees.

Invitations for applications for the Validation and Scale-up grants have yet to be released but will be released soon (by the end of spring). Parties interested in applying for these grants in the upcoming weeks should:

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