21st Century Community Learning Centers

21st CCLC is a critical source of funding for many local afterschool and summer learning programs.

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to supporting local  afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs. The program serves more than 1.5 million youth and their families, through grants awarded by state education agencies.  Each state receives funds based on its share of Title I funding for low-income students. Grants support local schools and community based organizations that provide afterschool and summer learning programs to students attending high-poverty, low-performing schools. 21st CCLC was reauthorized in 2015 as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Programs support:

  • Academic enrichment activities that can help students meet state and local achievement standards.
  • A broad array of additional enrichment services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program, such as: drug and violence prevention programs, career and technical programs, counseling programs, art, music programs, STEM programs, and physical activity and nutrition education programs.
  • Literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program.

Funding and Advocacy.  The funding level for 21st CCLC is set each year by Congress in an appropriations bill that is then signed into law by the president. The government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. In a typical year, the president releases a proposed budget in February for Congress to consider. The House and Senate then debate and develop their own funding proposals and bills through the spring, and then work together on a compromise bill that both entities must pass, ideally before October when the fiscal year begins. A history of funding levels per year are shown on the table below, or view a Table of funding and students served per state. Eliminating or cutting support for 21st CCLC would have a devastating effect on the more than 1.5 million students and more than 10,000 rural, urban and suburban communities who rely on these programs nationwide.  Learn more about how you can reach out to Congress in support of 21st CCLC. See the Policy Blog for updates.

21st CCLC 101 - Facts and Figures and Who is Served. For more than 20 years 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been providing high quality programming to a wide range of children grades pre-K to 12th grade in communities nationwide. This downloadable fact sheet is a great primer on who is served and key outcomes of local programs.

Data and Evaluation. Are 21st CCLC programs effective in helping students improve academic outcomes, increasing school day attendance, and moving the needle on a range of other important indicators? The answer is yes. View state and national evaluations and reports that demonstrate conclusively the effectiveness of 21st CCLC and afterschool programs.

ESSA Background and Toolkit. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes 21st CCLC as well as a host of other important funding streams and policies that support quality afterschool programs. An ESSA Toolkit helps advocates understand the law and the opportunities within to support afterschool. View 21st CCLC legislative language  (see pages 233 through 244 of the legislation).

21st CCLC and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  In June 2022, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which included gun safety measures, mental health support investments, and school safety provisions that aim to prevent gun violence. Among the youth- and school-related provisions in the BSCA is $50 million in additional funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, to be available through September 30, 2023. The additional 21st CCLC funds include a focus on afterschool and summer learning programs for middle and high school students.


Funding History, 21st CCLC

Fiscal Year

Amount Appropriated

Amount Authorized in ESEA


$40 million



$200 million



$453 million



$846 million

$1 billion


$1 billion

$1.25 billion


$993.5 million

$1.5 billion


$991 million

$1.75 billion


$991 million

$2 billion


$981 million

$2.25 billion


$981 million

$2.5 billion


$1.08 billion



$1.13 billion



$1.16 billion



$1.154 billion



$1.152 billion



$1.092 billion



$1.149 billion



$1.152 billion n/a


$1.167 billion n/a
2017 $1.192 billion $1 billion
2018 $1.212 billion $1.1 billion
2019 $1.222 billion $1.1 billion
2020 $1.25 billion $1.1 billion
2021 $1.289 billion n/a
2022 $1.329 billion n/a