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ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grant Program


The application window for the ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant closed on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 11:59 pm. ELO Grant Awards were announced in September 2022. Here is a list of grant recipients.

Overview of the ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grant

As Colorado students and families continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado Department of Education seeks to support and empower students and families across the state through a coordinated, comprehensive, and consistent community approach. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the academic and personal challenges many students face. Helping them overcome those challenges requires not only the efforts of educators during the school day but also the efforts of student-centric afterschool and summer programming.

As such, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is creating a grant program that will support districts and community-based organizations (CBOs) in creating new, or expanding existing, expanded learning opportunities (ELOs). This program will be funded under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) state reserve.  

The Colorado Department of Education will be making up to $10 million of ARP ESSER III funding available for this program. Eligible applicants are invited to submit applications that meet the needs of their program(s) with a maximum of $2 million per application and a maximum of $2,000 per student served annually.

Application opened on May 2nd, 2022 and closed on June 28th, 2022. If interested in applying for this funding opportunity, submit the Intent to Apply by Friday, May 13, by 11:59 pm MDT. The Intent to Apply is encouraged, but not required to submit an application.

ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grant

This program exists to distribute funds to qualified applicants, pursuant to the American Rescue Plan requirements for the state education agency to reserve 1% of the state set aside to fund evidence-based comprehensive afterschool programs and an additional 1% to fund evidence-based summer enrichment programs, to create expanded learning opportunities that address students’ academic and personal needs, ensure families can continue to engage in and support their students’ learning, and ultimately continue to strengthen schools and communities during COVID-19 recovery.

This funding opportunity seeks to accelerate student learning and strengthen student engagement in that learning by:

  1. Providing students with comprehensive out-of-school time programs, including after school and during the summer, that build upon a student’s school-day instruction to provide the continuity necessary to meet their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Providing students a safe and healthy environment where additional educational enrichment services, programs, and activities are offered to students, particularly those who are disproportionately adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Offering families of students served opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education, to ultimately positively impact student academic outcomes.
  4. Providing students and their families with a deeper connection to their school and community, allowing them to understand and take advantage of the full breadth of school and community supports and opportunities available to them.

The following are projected outcomes of this funding opportunity:

Please see “Allowable Use of Funds” below for additional information regarding allowable programs.

Eligible Applicants and Priority Criteria:

Eligible entities may apply for this funding opportunity. The term “eligible entity” means:

Note: A group of two or more such agencies, organizations, or entities (listed above) is eligible to apply as a consortium.

Applications will not be accepted from individual non-charter schools. Those schools must be included in an application submitted by their district. Only a single application per LEP will be accepted.

Charter schools may submit a stand-alone application but must receive sign-off from their authorizer. The authorizing district, BOCES, or CSI will be the fiscal agent, if funded.

Allowable Use of Funds:

Each eligible entity that receives a grant award may use the award funds to carry out a broad array of after school and summer program activities through in-person (when health guidelines allow), virtual, remote or hybrid models of programming. Attachment A within the application (page 26) provides a non-exhaustive list of allowable programs/activities.

For the purpose of this application:

  • After school programs are defined as programs that occur within the traditional school year but outside of the traditional school day including, but not limited to:
    • Extended school days;
    • 5th-day academies;
    • Tutoring programs;
    • Saturday programs; and
    • Community-based afterschool academic and enrichment programs.
  • Summer programs are defined as programs that occur outside of the traditional school year including, but not limited to:
    • Summer camps;
    • 9th grade academies;
    • Intersession programs;
    • Summer credit recovery programs;
    • Summer library literacy programs; and
    • Back to school activities.

Examples of unallowable activities/costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Pre-award costs (those incurred before the grant effective date- indicated on the Grant Award Letter- including preparation of the initial grant application);
  • Services that duplicate or supplant those provided by the Colorado Talking Book Library;
  • Non-academic/entertainment programming;
  • Food for staff; and
  • The purchase or rehabilitation of real estate or other real property.

These funds are specific to this program, the ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant Program, and uses of funds for any other purpose are not allowed. Please review the ESSER Allowable Uses document for further clarity. If you have any questions regarding allowable expenses, please reach out to Evan Davis ( for assistance.

Priority Considerations

This program is designed to support eligible applicants in creation and/or expansion of expanded learning opportunities through after school and summer programming. Available grant funding will be distributed to eligible applicants based on the application rubric described within the "Eligible Applicants” section of the paper application (page 4). Priority will be given to applications meeting the following priority considerations: 

Review Process and Timeline:

Applications will be reviewed by CDE staff and peer reviewers to ensure they contain all required components. This review will be based on the specific criteria listed in this funding opportunity and detailed in the scoring rubric (pages 23-25). Applicants will be notified of final award status no later than Thursday, September 1, 2022, at 11:59 pm MDT.

Note: This is a competitive process – applicants must score at least 70 points out of the 100 possible points to be approved for funding. Additional points are awarded for prioritized high-need districts, schools, and student populations. Applications that score below 70 points may be asked to submit revisions that would bring the application up to a fundable level. There is no guarantee that submitting an application will result in funding or funding at the requested level. All award decisions are final. Applicants that do not meet the qualifications may reapply for future grant opportunities.

Submission Process and Deadline:

Applications must be completed (including all elements outlined within the paper application) and submitted through the online application form by Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at 11:59 pm MDT. The Budget Workbook and Program Assurances will be completed through the online application form.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Applicants should receive an automated confirmation email from the online system upon submission. If you do not, please email

Technical Assistance

The Office of ESEA will be hosting bi-weekly Office Hours on Thursdays from 2:00 to 3:30pm. This time is devoted to providing updates and answering questions, to the best of our abilities given the fast-changing current events. During the ELO application window, a portion of the weekly office hours will be devoted to the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) grant program. Register here to attend the ESEA Office Hours.

Application Assistance

Program Questions:

Contact Robert Beauchamp

Expanded Learning Opportunities Manager

Or call 720-595-4893

Fiscal Related Questions:

Contact Evan Davis

Federal Grants Fiscal Supervisor

Or call 303-866-6129

Application Process Questions:

Contact Kim Burnham

Grants Program Administration Supervisor

Or call 720-607-1495