Application Deadline for Close the Gap Grant is Almost Here
The application deadline for Missouri’s Close the Gap Grant Program is quickly approaching. The law was passed back in 2022, but after finally solving some logistical hurdles, the program is up and running. Parents have until October 23 to apply for a one-time grant of up to $1,500 to spend on education expenses.
So, what exactly is the “Close the Gap Grant”?
Close the Gap is a one-time grant paid to families with students enrolled in Missouri public schools—those in private school or homeschool are not eligible to receive these funds. With these tax-exempt funds, parents can pay for:
- Tutoring services
- Academic/summer camps
- Educational materials
- Computer equipment
- Internet connectivity
- Learning-relating subscriptions
- Software to support educational activities
- Before- and after-school programs
- Study skills services
- Costs associated with college credit for AP, dual credit, dual enrollment, ITV (instructional television), and international baccalaureate
- Art enrichment lessons (such as piano, singing, or dancing lessons)
Additionally, because this program was supposed to be up and running last year, parents can also request reimbursement for an allowable service or product they purchased since July 1, 2022.
After all the applications are received, grant awards will be divvied out to families below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. If there are surplus funds still available (which there could be from the $75 million budget), applicants above the stated poverty level will receive grant awards. Parents will be notified regarding the amount of their grant reward starting on November 1st. For the awardees, grant funds do not roll over and must be used by June 1, 2024. These funds are a one-time payment; these payments are not recurring and are only available for this year. Unless Missouri finds a way to carve out new funding to continue this program, there will be no grant in 2024–2025—this grant comes from emergency federal COVID relief funds in 2022.
Who is administering this program?
An organization called Odyssey will be administrating the program. The founder of Odyssey previously founded SchoolHouse, an at home micro-school company. Odyssey is a startup that manages education scholarship accounts (ESAs) and microgrant programs. Odyssey will handle basically everything required for the Close the Gap grants: all application management, marketing and outreach, marketplace creation, payments, and customer support.
Odyssey will have an online marketplace with listed vendors where individuals can see all allowable education services and products. Along with a marketplace, the Odyssey Parent Portal will also have a tab to upload receipts for reimbursement.
With the deadline quickly approaching, make sure to sign up and get your grant award now.