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$280 Million Promised for Second Early Learning Challenge Competition

The U.S. Department of Education has released the application for a new round of competitive grants focused on early learning.

Nine states split $500 million in the first round of Early Learning Challenge grants, which were awarded in fiscal 2011. The next five highest-rated states from the first competition received $133 million in funding in fiscal 2012. And earlier this month, the Education Department distributed another $89 million to six grantees who did not receive the full amount they asked for.

The department said that the new application includes a request for data on participation of children, disaggregated by race and ethnicity. The competition also includes a priority that will allow states to address the needs of their rural populations, and to create preschool-through-3rd-grade approaches to sustain early learning.

The grant awards will range from $37.5 million to $75 million, depending on a state's proposal and its share of children ages birth through 5 from low-income families. Applications are due Oct. 16, and the department will announce the winners of the competition in December.

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