Frequently Asked Questions

NOAA-21st Century Community Learning Centers STEM Education Partnership Grants


Proposals that fail to meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the request for proposals will be rejected without further review.

Q: Can a federal employee or agency apply for the grant?                            

A: No, federal employees or federal agencies cannot be the primary applicant or recipient, but can be an in-kind partner on a proposal.

Q: Are projects outside the United States eligible for funding?                            

A: Watershed STEM Education Partnership grants are focused on domestic projects. Submitting organizations must be U.S.-based and project work must take place within the United States or its territories. Proposals from organizations outside of the United States will not be reviewed. Additionally, projects must be performed in one of the areas listed in the request for proposals.

Q: Are organizations that are previous recipients of grant funds from NAAEE eligible for funding?            

A: Yes 

Q: Are organizations that are current or previous recipients of grant funds from the 21st Century Community Learning Center program eligible for funding?

A: Possibly.  If an applicant is a current 21st CCLC grantee, the site(s) they propose to work with under this funding opportunity cannot be site(s) for which they are currently funded by the 21st CCLC program to operate. Current 21st CCLC grantees may apply to work with new 21st CCLC site partners.

Q: Can organizations that participated in the 2017 pilot project (sites or watershed grantees) apply for this opportunity?

A: Yes.

Q: Do applicants need to be located in the areas identified in Appendix 1? Can a national organization apply to serve sites in the eligible area?

A: Applicants to this opportunity are not required to be located in the geographic areas identified in Appendix 1 of the RFP, but must partner with 21st CCLC sites in those areas. A national organization can apply if they can demonstrate how they will support a local partnership with 21st CCLC site(s) in the eligible area.

Q: Can 21st CCLC sites apply directly? I am a 21st CCLC grantee and an environmental education provider. Can I apply for these funds to serve the 21st CCLC sites I manage?

A: This opportunity is intended for NOAA partners (environmental education providers) to apply, and generally 21st CCLC sites should aim to partner with those organizations. The only instance when it would be appropriate for a site to apply directly is if they can also serve as the environmental education provider/NOAA partner. If an applicant is a current 21st CCLC grantee, the site(s) you propose to serve must not be the site(s) that you are currently funded by the 21st CCLC program to operate. A goal of this opportunity is to help provide these programs to 21st CCLC programs that don’t already have the capacity to implement STEM-based environmental education. 

Q: What if my 21st CCLC partner is not funded for the duration of the project? Can I still apply?

A: Participants in activities funded by this program must be active 21st CCLC grantees. Projects will not be funded to serve sites whose 21st CCLC grants have ended/lapsed. When preparing your application, please be aware of partner funding timelines. If you have a partner that is only funded for the first year of the project you may apply to work with them, but you will need to identify an additional active partner to receive funding for the second year of the project. If the funding status of partner sites changes during the period of performance of this grant, projects may be adjusted to incorporate or remove sites if necessary. However, applicants should not rely on assumptions of renewed partner funding in their proposals.



Q: Am I required to submit a pre-proposal?                                        

A: No pre-proposals are required. 

Q: Are there specific requirements related to the evaluation work I will be asked to do?

A: All grantees will be required to evaluate their projects, as appropriate for the proposed outcomes. Evaluation results will be reported to NAAEE and may be included in NOAA and U.S. ED’s evaluation work, as applicable. Please see the  request for proposals for more information about project evaluation and outcomes. In addition to project evaluation, grantees may be asked to participate in NOAA’s program evaluation and/or an evaluation study led by U.S. ED. Grantees will get details about these other evaluation activities after they have been selected, and may be asked to participate to the extent practicable for their projects. 

Q: Do I need letters of support/commitment from partners?                                

A: Yes. Letters of collaboration from 21st CCLC site partners are required. Letters from NOAA partners and other major partners are strongly encouraged. Letters of collaboration will help reviewers confirm the participation of your partners and evaluate the strength of these partnerships.

Q. Who should the 21st CCLC partner letter of support be addressed to?

To Whom It May Concern:

NAAEE 1725 Desales St. NW Suite 401 Washington, DC 20036

Q: Can I send any additional attachments that showcase our work?                            

A: Please provide links to any additional information that helps illustrate your proposal. If an attachment is the best way to send the information that is allowed, but please be clear about the purpose of the attachment. Additional attachments may not be reviewed as part of the application package.

Q: Can I propose a professional development project?

A: Yes. From the RFP (p.5): Projects that focus on training and capacity building of 21st CCLC educators may apply, but the applicant should have significant previous experience working in out-of-school settings and must show how subsequent implementation at sites will also be supported as part of the project. Applicants for PD focused projects should also ensure that their proposal can address the review criteria published in the RFP.

Q: Can I use the first year as a planning year?

A: Projects should include some form of implementation in both years of the grant period. Capacity building, partnership building, and professional development activities are appropriate, but should actively involve 21stCCLC site partners. Proposed activities should be responsive to site and program needs. Clear timeline communication of the approach that would yield the most impact for the site/sites and participants is recommended.

Q: How do applicants identify the watershed area of focus for their project? 

A: Program geography is structured around the NOAA B-WET program watershed regions, as defined in Appendix 1 of the RFP. Applicants will be asked to select one of these regions as their focus area in the application based on where the 21st CCLC site partners are located. Projects should address local watersheds and connect to broader topics and issues related to the selected watershed region as appropriate. 

Q: My 21st CCLC program has multiple sites. Are all sites required to participate? 

A: Funded projects may serve a single 21st CCLC site, or multiple, and they can be part of the same or different 21st CCLC programs. Projects will depend on the capacity of the applicant (number and location of sites they can reach) and the needs of the 21st CCLC site/program partner(s), and be determined through partner collaboration on project design.

Q: Is the audience for this opportunity only kids, or could a project be geared towards support for educators that will be conducting programming for 21st CCLCs?

A: All projects should include collaboration with and capacity building for 21st CCLC sites. Projects that focus on training and capacity building of 21st CCLC educators may apply, but the applicant should have significant previous experience working in out-of-school settings and must show how subsequent implementation at sites will also be supported as part of the project. 

Q: What age ranges are targeted with this opportunity?

A: Any age or K-12 grade range served by a 21st CCLC site or program is an eligible audience for this funding opportunity. Project activities should be age appropriate and tailored to the learning needs of the audience served.

Q: Do the interactions with scientists and related professionals need to be with NOAA staff?

A: No. Scientists and other subject matter experts should be recruited from NOAA when possible, but many other relevant organizations, such as local government or resource management agencies, can provide this expertise. Subject matter experts can facilitate field experiences, discuss watershed and environmental education content, and/or showcase NOAA and STEM-related careers. These professionals may be recruited from the local community, or brought in through virtual interactions (such as chat, streaming video, or collaborative software). Subject matter experts should have experience in youth engagement or be provided with training on how to interact with students and the program sites.  For more on connecting with NOAA please see “Connecting with NOAA” here:

Q: Can this opportunity fund a summer-only component of a year-round 21st CCLC program?

A: Yes. Program models (after-school versus summer programming) may vary based on partner site needs and may be a subset of the 21st CCLC-funded activities or timeline. A typical engagement is expected to be a minimum of 1-2 hours per week at each site over a 6 to 10 week period, each year of project implementation. Activities may occur in the spring, summer, fall, or some combination of these.



Q: Can I include a match, even if it is not required?                        

A: Match may be included, but is not required and will not be considered in the review of proposals.

Q: Can I use funds for salaries, overhead, etc.? Is there anything I cannot use funds for?                

A: Applicants will be asked to submit a line-item budget that clearly identifies how funds will be spent and specify support needed for travel, supplies, etc. Project budgets should include all the resources necessary for 21st CCLC site participation. Overhead/indirect costs may be charged to an award, as long as the applicant organization can provide an official written organizational policy regarding the overhead rate used. NAAEE considers overhead to include administrative fees of a sponsoring organization, or line items such as rent, utilities, insurance, etc. Also, salary/personnel/fringe support may not constitute 100% of your funding request. All spending allocated to the award must be considered allowable according to the Code of Federal Regulations Cost Principles ( Priority will be given to projects that propose to primarily utilize funds to deliver programming to program participants, as well as associated technical assistance and professional development for 21st CCLC staff. Funds may not be used for lobbying. 

Q: Is there a cap on indirect costs that may be included in an application?

A: There is no restriction on indirect costs for this competition. The 10% indirect cost shown in the budget template is an example. If applicants can document a federally negotiated indirect cost rate for their organization they may use that instead.

Q: When the RFP states that "higher funding requests should reach multiple sites" does this mean that we would have to be in multiple schools to receive higher funding, or that we would have to partner with multiple 21st CCLC programs?

A: Higher funding requests are appropriate for applicants working with multiple sites in a single 21st CCLC program or multiple 21st CCLC programs, as long as multiple locations are served. Please be sure to adequately justify the amount requested for the number of sites served in your project budget. 

Q: Are subawards allowed? 

A: Yes. All recipients and sub awardees will be required to provide spending reports.

Q: If I am working with a single 21stCCLC site, can I request more than $20,000 per year/$40,000 for the total project?

A: Yes. The minimum that can be requested is $20,000 and projects serving a single site should be at this end of the funding range. If you plan to request a higher funding amount, be sure to justify in the proposal/budget request (i.e. demonstrate greater contact time or duration of program implementation at that single site). Be aware that in order to reach our site targets, we are unlikely to have enough funding for a project investing very heavily in a single site, hence the guidance on these proposals being appropriate for the lower end of the funding range.

Q: Are we allowed to include stipends for 21 CCLC staff to attend professional development opportunities?

A: Yes. Be prepared to justify how opportunities will benefit the project impact.

Q: Can I request over $50,000 for one year of the project if the total project budget is still at or below $100,000? How strict is the budget range per year?

A: The total project budget maximum ($100,000) and minimum ($40,000) is strict and applicants requesting more or less than this range will not be considered. Between the two years of project implementation there is flexibility to account for different project timelines and site partner needs. However applicants should ensure that significant partnership work occurs in both years of the project and justify their timeline and budget request.



Q: Where can I find more information on the Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center Program    


Q: Where can I find information about 21st Century Community Learning Center sites near me?

A: Information about eligible 21st CCLC site partners can be found at state 21st CCLC program websites. For additional assistance identifying potential 21stCCLC site partners, please contact the Y4Y NOAA support team at

Q: Where can I find more information about NOAA’s Office of Education and the Bay Watershed Education and Training Program?                 


Q: How do I find a 21st CCLC site partner?

A: Due to the place-based nature of this program we can’t promise that there will be interested sites near potential applicants, or NOAA partners near all interested sites. 

To explore opportunities potential applicants are encouraged to:

  1. Check their state website for grantee info:
  2. Reach out to state 21st CCLC contacts for more information
  3. Contact us! The NOAA/NAAEE/Y4Y team may be able to help. Please be prepared to provide more info about the specific geographic area you could serve: zip codes, town(s), counties etc. 

Interested 21st CCLC sites should reach out to the Y4Y team at to express interest and we will do our best to connect you with a potential NOAA partner in your area.

Q: How can I become a NOAA partner?

A: Applicants to this opportunity should be experienced STEM-based environmental education providers prepared to deliver programming using NOAA resources. If you have never worked with NOAA before you may apply, but your proposal should clearly document how you will partner with NOAA and use NOAA science, sites, resources, and/or expertise in the implementation of the proposed project. Priority will be given to organizations that can demonstrate prior experience working with NOAA on education programming and/or implementing MWEEs. For more on connecting with NOAA please see “Connecting with NOAA” here: