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ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grant Program


Expanded Learning Opportunities Summer Programming Grant application is now open. The application is due Monday, July 10, 2023 by 11:59 pm. The Intent to Apply is due Monday, June 26, 2023 by 11:59 pm. The Intent to Apply is encouraged but not required for interested applicants.​

Overview of the ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Summer 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 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.  

Eligible applicants are invited to submit applications that meet the needs of their program(s) with a maximum of $125,000 per application and a maximum of $900 per student served annually.

Application opened on May 2nd, 2023 and will close on Monday, July 10, 2023. If interested in applying for this funding opportunity, submit the Intent to Apply by Monday, June 26, 2023, by 11:59 pm MDT. The Intent to Apply is encouraged, but not required to submit an application.

Please refer to the 2022 ELO Grant Recipients here.

ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Summer 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, 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 applicant that receives an award under this application may use the award funds to carry out a broad array of summer program activities. Applicants may choose one or more of the following program types to include in their application.

For the purpose of this application:

  • 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 academies (e.g., jump start programs).

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 Anissa El-Bialy, Grants Fiscal Analyst ( 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 14-15). Applicants will be notified of final award status no later than Friday, September 1, 2023, at 11:59 pm MDT.

Note: This is a competitive process – applicants must score at least 68 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 Monday, July 10, 2023, 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

Application Assistance

Program Questions:

Contact Robert Beauchamp

Expanded Learning Opportunities Manager

Or call 720-595-4893

Fiscal Related Questions:

Contact Anissa El Bialy

Grants Fiscal Analyst

Application Process Questions:

Contact Mandy Christensen

Grants Program Administration Principal Consultant

Or call 303-957-6217