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Rural Schools, as defined by Idaho Code §33-319, are schools that have fewer than 20 enrolled students per square mile, or school districts within a county that contain less than 25,000 residents. While there are a number of challenges rural schools face, there are federal programs such as the Small Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Program and the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) Program to help Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and State Education Agencies (SEAs) provide financial assistance to meet their needs.

The purpose of the Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) program is to provide rural LEAs with financial assistance to fund initiatives aimed at improving student academic achievement. Local education agencies (LEAs) are entitled to funds if they meet basic eligibility and application requirements. Awards are issued annually, and award amounts are determined using a formula.

The purpose of the Rural and Low-Income School (RLIS) grant program is to provide rural districts with financial assistance for initiatives aimed at improving student achievement. The grant is non-competitive, and eligibility is determined by statute.

​Awards are issued annually to state education agencies (SEAs), which make sub-grants to local education agencies (LEAs) that meet the applicable requirements. Awards are made to all SEAs that apply and meet the applicable requirements of the act (see legislative citation above).

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