7 Funding Opportunities for CTE Health Science Programs

Many health science instructors enter the world of education after pursuing accomplished careers in the healthcare field.

Whether you’re starting a new health science program or you’re on your 10th year of teaching, your most important task is helping your students become the next generation of healthcare professionals.

To accomplish this, you need the most relevant, effective health science curriculum possible.

When you build your health science program, you need resources to go along with it. That includes textbooks, lab equipment, digital curriculum, test prep materials, and more.

So how can you afford everything you need without paying for it yourself?

The answer lies in seven common funding opportunities available to CTE health science teachers!

  1. Your school or district CTE budget
  2. Federal funding through Perkins V
  3. The Department of Education’s Pay for Success Program
  4. Educational grants
  5. Your local education foundation
  6. Community fundraising and networking
  7. Crowdfunding websites

We’ll start with the most common place health science teachers get funding -- your school or district budget!

1. Your School or District CTE Budget

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At the start of the school year, most health science teachers get a classroom budget.

Most health science teachers don’t know that you also have access to more than just your classroom budget for purchasing resources!

As a CTE instructor, you should also be able to use a portion of your school or district’s CTE budget.

In addition, you may even have access to the technology budget!

But how do you gain access to those budgets?

Usually, all it takes is talking to the right person with the right information.

That means you’ll need to talk with your department head, CTE coordinator, or assistant superintendent.

To locate the right person, ask other teachers in your school or district who they speak with about funding requests. You can also check your school directory for anyone with a job title like “purchasing director.”  

Once you find the right person, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to say!

We recommend health science teachers follow these tips when requesting funds from their administration:

  • Have a plan for implementing what you’ll purchase
  • Explain how it will work in your classroom and highlight the value
  • Share how you’ll measure success with that new tool or resource
  • Discuss how it could save money (or why it’s worth an added expense)

At the end of the day, we’ve found that most health science teachers can secure funding if they follow these steps.

However, there are always cases where there just isn’t room in the budget for that school year.

If that’s true for you, you have some alternative options available.

One of the largest sources of funding for CTE health science programs is the next item on our list -- Perkins V.

2. Federal Funding through Perkins V

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Perkins funding has been a long-standing source of federal funding for CTE programs, but many teachers don’t know that it’s available, much less how it can impact their individual programs.

Perkins money comes from the federal government. It’s allocated to state departments of education, who then distribute the funding to state-funded school districts.

Then, the districts can spend the funding as needed for their CTE programs.

The most recent revision of Perkins funding is The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, referred to as Perkins V.

As of July 1, 2019, Perkins V will provide $1.193 billion in funding throughout 2019, the first major increase in federal CTE funding since 2006 when Perkins IV was enacted.

If your program received funding from Perkins IV (it probably did, even if you don’t know it), you’ll almost certainly be funded under Perkins V as well.

Compared to the Funding through Perkins IV, it appears that every state will see an increase in funding with Perkins V!

Note: These estimates may differ from the finalized funding amounts. To stay up with the latest information, keep an eye on CTE Policy Watch.

Overall, Perkins V is meant to improve CTE funding for local communities (rather than state or federal groups) and provide more CTE opportunities for younger students.

Previously, Perkins funding was allocated to high schools and technical programs. Perkins V empowers local communities will be able to spend the funds on students as young as fifth grade.

So if you teach a middle school health science program, this may be the first time you get a bit of the federal funding!

In addition, Perkins V implemented a new process to evaluate where school leaders can best spend their funding.

This process is called the “local needs assessment” and it ensures funding is allocated to CTE programs based on hard data — not on personal opinions or bias.

So, if you run a successful health science program, it’s likely your funding will increase based on the local needs assessment!

But what if you need more money than what your program receives through the allocation of Perkins funding?

There are plenty of other options out there for you to purchase what you need!

3. The Department of Education’s Pay for Success Program

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The Department of Education has implemented the Pay for Success (PFS) program to support and fund evidence-based initiatives across K-12 education.

The PFS program was created by a subsidiary of the DoE called the Office of Career and Technical Education.

Working in tandem with a handful of third-party education advocates, PFS is now used to support CTE programs in underserved and underfinanced areas of the United States.

Because this funding is so specific, the Department of Education developed a Pay for Success Feasibility Toolkit to help CTE educators and administrators determine if they’re eligible for financial aid.

This kit preps educators for a “feasibility study,” which then determines if a school can receive funding.

These studies include multiple participants at a time, and they can take as long as 15 months to complete. At the end of the studies, the PSF program determines which schools may receive funding. 

The study process includes:

  • A project design that dictates the needs of the target population and how those needs will improve
  • Clearly defined and measurable outcomes of the project
  • A cost-benefit analysis
  • A draft plan for measuring whether the outcomes were achieved
  • Potential sources of funding down the road

Overall, PSF is a long and intense process. However, the funding that it introduces to low-income areas can change entire communities, empowering its people with the education and tools they need to succeed.

The first study took place from June 2017 to November 2018 and ended up approving three out of four potential applicants to the PFS program.

If you feel your community could benefit from PFS as a funding source, contact the Office of Career and Technical Education.

If not, you still have a lot of other places to find funding for your program.

4. Educational Grants

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An educational grant is funding distributed by a non-government entity (like a business or foundation) to an educational institution for a specific purpose.

The grant’s creator sets the eligibility for educators, schools, and CTE programs, meaning each grant is unique.

Fortunately, there are thousands of educational grants available across the US, so you’ll most likely qualify for at least a few funding opportunities out there.

The most difficult part about getting funding through a grant is finding the right one for your program!

To start, we recommend reviewing national grants that could apply to CTE programs.

Some options include:

You can also use a grant database to search for more options.

In addition, you may find grants available at your state or local level.

For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has a webpage dedicated to grants for CTE programs.

These opportunities vary depending on your state, so it will take some research on your part to find out what’s available.

It’s also a great idea to connect with other health science teachers in your area to see if they’ve successfully earned grants in the past.

They might give you a few helpful pointers!

5. Your Local Education Foundation

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Education foundations, sometimes called public school foundations, are non-profit organizations created to improve public school districts with supplemental funding.

Education foundations most often help to fund new, innovative education strategies and classroom resources in a one-time funding opportunity.

They may also help fund extra-curricular activities, passion projects, or other educator-led initiatives that could positively impact the school district as a whole.

That means education foundations are not meant to replace pre-determined budgets or funding. Instead, they act as a tertiary option for programs that may not be essential to a school’s ongoing function or students’ learning. 

Once a teacher earns funding, it’s up to them to implement the new strategy and prove its success.

This all has to be determined on a case-by-case basis since education foundations are separate entities from state and federal funding.

The only downside to education foundations is that they’re based on the generosity and financial strength of your community. If businesses in your area fall on hard times, they may cut their support for the education foundation in an effort to keep their business afloat.

With that in mind, it’s smart to consider education foundations as sources of one-time funding as opposed to recurring annual funding.  

To get in touch with your local education foundation, reach out to your administrator or supervisor for the proper contact information.

If you’re unable to secure funding through a local education foundation, there is one other way to get your community involved -- fundraising!

6. Community Fundraising & Networking

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Many teachers have embraced community fundraising as a part of funding their programs year after year.

Some teachers will host fundraising events, run class bake sales, or approach local businesses for donations.

No matter which route you take, there a few key pieces to nail down in order to have a successful fundraiser:

  • Choose a specific fundraising goal
  • Plan the time frame for raising the funds
  • Be clear about what the funds will help you purchase
  • Decide how many people you’ll need to execute the event or promotion

As a CTE health science teacher, you’re in a unique position because you probably were or are a healthcare professional.

If you have a good network of people in the healthcare industry, it’s possible that your industry contacts would be willing to donate funds to help improve your health science program.

After all, your current students will inevitably be their future candidates for employment!

When raising funds, use your connections at local hospitals or medical practices to see if they will consider helping you raise funds.

Be sure to come prepared with the long-term goals of your program, what the funds will be used for, and why it’s an important addition to your classroom.

The most important piece of getting donations from local healthcare facilities is reinforcing how their contribution will ultimately help improve the quality of healthcare employees in the future!

If you have trouble raising funds locally, try out the next option -- crowdfunding!

7. Crowdfunding Websites

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Crowdfunding is the process of raising money from individual people via the Internet.

The idea behind crowdfunding is that it’s easier for 2,000 people to contribute $5 to a project than for one person to pay $10,000.

Though this is a more common practice for elementary school teachers to purchase materials that must be replaced on a yearly basis (like paper, crayons, and markers), many CTE instructors have had success with crowdfunding for one-time purchases.

Three of the most common crowdfunding websites for teachers are:

Each of these platforms is similar in that it helps your classroom get funding. But each platform also has important differences.

This chart from Scholastic gives a great overview of how each crowdfunding site stacks up:

crowdfunding-scholastic

Some teachers have had huge success raising funds through these platforms, but if you get your funds from this type of avenue, it’s unlikely to be included in your budget the following school year.

That’s because crowdfunding works on a per-project basis, so you can’t depend on it for repeat financing.

In general, crowdfunding is used as a last resort for most health science teachers because of the risk and time required to get donors to fund the campaign.

Get Funding for Your CTE Health Science Program!

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At the end of the day, the way that you get funds for your program depends on your unique situation.

In some cases, Perkins V will take care of your budget. In others, you’ll need to be more creative with how you obtain funding!

At AES, as a digital curriculum developer, we’ve found that more than 90% of teachers we work with are able to secure funding from their CTE administrator if they follow six specific steps:

  1. Determine the money you’ll need
  2. Work with other teachers
  3. Plan ahead
  4. Make your case
  5. Discuss the numbers
  6. Leverage your data

Interested in learning more?

Click below to download the funding guide and work to get the funding your program needs!

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