Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Programs for Schools

The following IIJA programs below may be of interest to public schools in New Hampshire.

Grants for Energy Improvements at Public School Facilities

The IIJA allocates $500 million into a grant program for K-12 public schools managed by the US Department of Energy. The grants may be used for investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure at K-12 schools. This funding represents a unique opportunity for NH’s public schools to create healthier learning environments and lower their energy costs. Program funding is likely to be significantly competitive. NH’s public schools are encouraged to review the latest program materials for additional information on program eligibility, criteria, federal requirements, and how to apply.

This funding specifies that eligible entities as a consortium of:

  1. One Local Education Agency (LEA); and
  2. One or more schools; nonprofit organizations that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements; for-profit organizations that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements; or community partners that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements.

The US Department of Energy released a Request for Information in April 2022 to gather feedback to develop this program. The Request for Information closed in May 2022. In October 2022, the US Department of Energy released a Notice of Intent to issue the first round of more than $80 million of the $500 million in grants authorized under the IIJA. 

On November 29, 2022, the US Department of Energy announced a Funding Opportunity Announcement for two programs under the first round of funding: 

Renew America's Schools Program

This program will distribute $80 million in grants to facilitate substantial additional investment, prioritize schools with high needs, minimize administrative burden, and build enduring capacity in LEAs and the states to maximize impact equitable and efficiently. 

Eligible applicants are encouraged to consider projects that accomplish the following:

  • Enable replicable and scalable impacts.
  • Creative innovative, sustaining partnerships.
  • Leverage funding and economies of scale.
  • Target disadvantaged communities.
  • Improve student, teacher, and occupant health while enriching learning and growth.
  • Target schools that serve as community assets (neighborhood cooling centers or disaster recovery shelters).
  • Can be completed quickly and are crafted thoughtfully within the context of public school facilities (e.g., procurement constraints, construction windows, etc.).

Potential applicants will be considered based upon the following:

  • The LEA’s demonstrated funding need for energy improvements.
  • Whether the school serves a high percentage of students who are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch, or the LEA is designated with a school district locale code of 41, 42, or 43 as determined by the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Whether the proposal leverages private sector investment through energy-related performance contracting.
  • The extent of the disparity between the fiscal capacity of the eligible entity to carry out energy improvements at school facilities and the needs of the partnering LEA for those energy improvements.
  • The likelihood that the partnering LEA or eligible entity will maintain the school facilities receiving improvements.
  • The potential energy efficiency and safety benefits from the proposed energy improvements.

Eligible applicants must submit concept papers by 5:00 p.m. EST on January 26, 2023, with full applications due by 5:00 p.m. EST on April 21, 2023. 

NH’s public schools are strongly encouraged to review the Funding Opportunity Announcement on the US Department of Energy’s EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange.

Energy CLASS Prize Program

In response to stakeholder feedback that LEAs lack the bandwidth and knowledge to find and fund projects, the US Department of Energy created this $4.5 million prize program to facilitate capacity building within LEAs to identify and implement health and energy improvements, especially in disadvantaged school districts. The program includes two phases:

Phase 1 – Application (November 2022 to February 2023)

  • Schools will submit their statement of need and letters of support.
  • Demonstrate their commitment to making building energy upgrades and identify staff to participate in the program.
  • Up to 25 LEAs will each receive $100,000 in cash prizes to support participation over a 12-month period during Phase 2.

Phase 2 – Skills Development and Coaching (May 2023 to May 2024)

  • Phase 1 participants will be invited to participate in 80-160 hours of online educational courses delivered by training professionals.
  • In addition to USDOE-funded trainings, teams will receive one-on-one support and coaching pertaining to building upgrades associated with the specific LEA district.
  • At the conclusion of Phase 2, participants will submit a progress report on actions identified or take and a plan for future building upgrades for a chance to win a $50,000 bonus prize.

On November 29, 2022, the US Department of Energy released Energy CLASS Prize rules and is now accepting applications. Applications may be submitted now through February 28, 2023. 

NH’s public schools are strongly encouraged to review the Energy CLASS Prize Program rules.