Federal Afterschool Policy

From afterschool funding streams to nutritious meals to STEM programming, federal policy plays a big role in the afterschool landscape. Learn more about our federal policy priorities for the 118th Congress, as well as the latest federal policy developments.

The Afterschool Alliance has several key policy priorities for the 118th Congress aimed at increasing access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs for all young people with an emphasis on children most in need:

21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.
Central to increasing access to programs and building program quality is ensuring that local afterschool and summer learning programs are able to leverage federal funding. 21stCCLC is the primary source of federal afterschool and summer learning funding. For fiscal year 2024, we urge Congress and the Administration to fund 21st CCLC at the $2 billion level to ensure children and their families continue to have access to quality programming when school is out.
Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
School-age children represent approximately 45 percent of all chidlren served through CCDBG. Strengthening school-age program quality and access continues be a priority at the federal as well as state and local level.
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
In addition to 21st CCLC (Title IV part B), Title I, Title IV Part A, and Title IV Part F funds of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can support local afterschool programs.
Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Act Reauthorization is an opportunity to build career pathways and include afterschool and summer learning programs as partners in the effort to provide students with activities and experiences such as competency based learning, hands-on STEM, mentorships, site-visits and apprenticeships.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
Increasing access to quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) afterschool. Learn how to make the case for afterschool STEM with talking points and other resources from The Afterschool STEM Hub.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
Improving access to nutritious meals in afterschool and summer learning programs is vital - including streamlining federal child nutrition programs like the afterschool meal and summer feeding programs , and increasing physical education and activity, nutrition education and access to nutritious food in out of school time programs.
Social and Emotional Learning.
Increasing access to social and emotional learning in afterschool and summer learning programs.
Higher Education Act (HEA)
Last reauthorized in 2008, the legislation is due for an update and Congress is activitely considering how to move forward. In 2019, the House Ed and Labor Committee introduced the College Affordability Act which had some excellent provisions on afterschool and community engagement in education but also includes a troubling change to Federal Work Study that would remove the important 7% Community Service Set Aside. Read a letter from the group Campus Compact to learn more.

This year, the most important fight is to ensure increased funding for 21st Century Community Learning centers in appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2024. Our "take action" page is for those ready to advocate! You can also learn more about bills we are watching on our page of current federal legislation in afterschool.

Reach out to us at any time if you have a question about a piece of federal legislation.

Additional Federal Policy Issues

Expanded Learning is a key issue in ESEA reauthorization and in the out of school time field. Expanded learning time (ELT) - adding time to the school day, week or year - is a relatively new approach to expanded learning opportunities. Find resources and policy documents on this topic here.

Older Youth and Afterschool: Partnering to Improve Results As the nation struggles to improve high school achievement and prepare the next generation for college and the 21st century workforce, it is clear that older youth in the middle grades are critical. More time is often needed to ensure that students are prepared during these transition years for long-term success. The Afterschool Alliance has research and policy efforts aimed at securing more support for afterschool programs serving older youth.

Afterschool in Rural Communities: The Investment in Afterschool Programs Act  Afterschool programs are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of young people in rural communities.  That’s why the Afterschool Alliance is working with Congress to create a funding stream specifically for afterschool programs in rural communities.