NEF Offers $180 Million Matching Grant to Schools
ALEXANDRIA, Va., April, 9, 2009 — Dr. Appu Kuttan, Chairman of the National Education Foundation (NEF), the national nonprofit leader in bridging the digital and academic divides, announced today a nationwide $180 million matching grant initiative for schools.
With most states awash in red ink and with several states proposing to cut K-12 education funds, NEF is working to leverage a $1.8 billion dollar recently enacted Federal Stimulus program that permits states to allow disadvantaged school districts to borrow money at zero interest to support their critical needs.
This Federal program is known as Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB). NEF has teamed up with several organizations to make it possible for all eligible schools -- those with 35% of students on free or reduced lunch -- to receive QZAB funds for renovation, energy, equipment, curriculum and professional-development. NEF also donates the 10% match required by law, and helps to build a world-class K-12 CyberLearning Academy that enables students to acquire critical 21st Century workforce skills by improving their math, science and technology skills.
NEF’s CyberLearning Academies provide high quality online courses mapped to Federal standards, teacher training, technical support, 24/7 live mentors, onsite mentoring, teacher stipends, student rewards and parent recognition. This offers a complete solution with proven 25-50% increases in student scores.
NEF President Dr. Appu Kuttan argues, “Our students desperately need help to compete with their counterparts in India, China, Europe and Japan for the 21st Century jobs. We are already 24th out of 28 countries in math skills of 15-year olds! For us to maintain our technology and economic leadership, we must help our disadvantaged students now! Our grant program helps schools to get funds, improve student scores and reduce dropout rates significantly.”
“NEF gave us 10% match, helped us to receive $8 million in QZAB funds at zero interest and set up a QZAB Academy that has increased student math and technology scores by 25% every semester,” states Camella Mouton of St. Landry School District in Louisiana.