21st Century Community Learning Centers

What is 21st Century Community Learning Centers ?

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant program supports the creation of community learning centers that conduct programs for students. The Community Learning Center is a federally funded program. This program is specifically aimed at students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. This program offers students a wide range of enriching activities, which can complement the regular academic programs of the students. The program provides educational services to families of participating children and helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects such as reading and math.

The 21st CCLC Program is the only federal funding source devoted exclusively to after-school programs. In 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) re-authorized the 21st CCLC, moving the administration of grants for each state low-income students from the US Department of Education to state education agencies. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides other academic enrichment activities to complement their regular academic programs with a range of youth development opportunities and the center provides students with a range of core academic subjects such as English language, math and arts to local and state student standards.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center Initiative is a key component of the Every Student Success Act. Authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by ESSA of 2015, the federal law has specific purposes :
  • Providing tutorial services for students attending low-performing schools and opportunities during non-school hours for academic enrichment.
  • Providing opportunities for families of students served by community education centers to be active in their children's meaningful engagement and education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development.
  • Providing students with a wide range of extracurricular programs, services and activities during non-school hours such as, service learning, youth development activities, nutrition and health education, counseling programs, music, arts, mathematics, science, careers, physical fitness , Wellness Programs, Financial Literacy Programs, Technology Education Programs, Environmental Literacy Programs, Technical Programs, Internships or Apprenticeship Programs.

Objectives of 21st Century Community Learning Centers

  • The mission of the 21st CCLC Program is to prepare students to compete on a global scale and to promote student achievement.
  • To offer enriched programs as a complement to the regular academic programs.
  • The purpose of the program is to help students achieve standards in core academic subjects such as reading and mathematics.
  • To provide educational services to the families of students participating under the program.

21st CCLC Organizational Structure

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is implemented at several different levels. The core implementation starts at the federal level then is moved to the state level and is finally distributed at the local level to the eligible entities on the front lines.

Federal Structure :

The ESEA describes the objectives and processes of the 21st Century Program. State and local levels of government also function within the procedures and limits provided by ESEA. USDE distributes the appropriated funds to the state. But the state has to fulfill the following requirements :
  • The state has to apply for grant money
  • The state has to utilize the funds as per the ESEA requirements then the eligible states will be allocated the amount as prescribed by the ESEA.

State Structure :

Once states receive funding from the USDE, they distribute the funds to those eligible local entities that meet the requirements. These organizations can be any local organization. States distribute funds to institutions in grants of three to five years. The funds are distributed after the following requirements:
  • The institution must use the funds as per ESEA standards
  • Have to apply for a grant
  • Must be eligible to receive the grant

Local Structure :

Institutions receiving these grants are expected to serve a total of 1.7 million students nationwide each year. In addition, these programs likely serve hundreds of thousands of adults. Organizations receiving grants may also be supported by NGOs.

21st CCLC Applicant Information

State Grant Program Application Timeline

Several states across the country are organizing competitions for the granting of 21st Century Grant. The state contact list now includes links to state websites and recent RFPs.

21st Century Program Activities

Each institution that receives the award can use the funds to complete a wide range of after- or pre-school activities to advance student achievement. These include the following activities :
  • Remedial education activities
  • Academic enhancement learning program
  • Entrepreneurship education program
  • Math's and science education activities
  • Art and music education activities
  • Programs that provide after-school activities for students with limited English proficiency
  • Tutoring services, including counseling programs and services provided by senior citizen volunteers
  • Extended library service hours
  • Telecommunications and technology education program
  • Programs promoting family literacy and parental involvement
  • Mentoring program
  • Character education program

Eligibility for 21st CCLC Program 

Who can apply for 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program?
  • The (category wise) grants are given to the State Education Agencies (SEAs).
  • Non-profit organizations and local education agencies can apply for sub-grants in the states.
  • Formula grants are provided to state educational agencies, which in turn administer statewide competitions and provide grants to eligible institutions.
  • States will give priority to applications that are submitted jointly by a community-based organization, a local educational agency, or other public or private entity.
  • For the 21st CCLC program, a community-based organization, a local educational agency, any other public or private institution, association of organizations and institutions is eligible.
  • Faith-based organizations are eligible to participate in the 21st CCLC program. Regulations are available governing the participation of faith-based organizations in federal programs.

21st CCLC Grant Duration 

 Period of Availability

Cohort 9

Cohort 10

Cohort 11

Period of Availability for Year One

October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018

July 1,2019-June 30, 2020

October 1, 2022-September 30, 2023

Period of Availability for Year Two

October 1, 2018-September 30, 2019

July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021

October 1, 2023-September 30, 2024

Period of Availability for Year Three

October 1, 2019-September 30, 2020

July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022

October 1, 2024-September 30, 2025

Period of Availability for Year Four

October 1, 2020-September 30, 2021

July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023

October 1, 2025-September 30, 2026

Period of Availability for Year Five

October 1, 2021-September 30, 2022

July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024

October 1, 2026-September 30, 2027

Period of Availability for Year Six

October 1, 2022-September 30, 2023


The new 21st CCLC Annual Performance Report website can now be accessed at 21apr.ed.gov.

If you need help, you can email 21apr@thetactilegroup.com or call 1-888-282-4589.


The Authorizing Legislation : Click Here 

Non-Regulatory Guidance

21st Century Community Learning Centers Non-Regulatory Guidance : Click Here

Program Fees & Technical Assistance

21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Income/Parent Fees : Click Here

Resources for 21st CCLC Program

You for Youth (y4y.ed.gov) online professional learning community helps local and state 21st Century Community Learning Centers program staff and their stakeholders to share best practices and connect with each other. This site includes afterschool training toolkits, tools, hundreds of searchable webinars and resources to make 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs a positive experience for all children. This site provides the following services:
  • Management of 21st CCLC Program
  • Create partnership
  • Supporting positive relationships with children and youth
  • Provide opportunities for professional development and technical support
  • Provide professional and instructional development resources

How to Apply for 21st CCLC Program ?

If you want your child to participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program for 2022-23, the enrollment/application process is simple. Enroll your child by completing the 'Enrollment Application' through the Google Form for the child you wish to enroll.

21st Century Grant Application 2024 : Click here for Google Forms

21st CCLC Contacts

US Department of Education Contact :

Mailing Address :
U.S. Department of Education, OESE
Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers
400 Maryland Ave. S.W., 3W202
LBJ Federal Office Building
Washington, DC 20202-6200
  • E-mail Address : 21stCCLC@ed.gov
  • Toll-Free Telephone : (800) 872-5327
  • Call : (800) 872-5327 or (800) 
  • Fax : (202) 453-5514
  • Call : (202) 260-8969