educator with students, collaborating and discussing their chalk drawing of the world, while outdoors.

Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) provides federal funding for the establishment of community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools, to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects such as reading, math, and science. This program is also intended to offer students an array of activities and to include families and the community in the educational process.

The 21st CCLC program is authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.

Program Goals

Assist youth in meeting state standards for core academic subjects by providing students with academic enrichment opportunities before school, after school and during holidays or summer recess.

Offer participants a broad array of other services and programs, such as art, music, recreation activities, character education, career and technical training, drug and violence prevention programming, and technology education.

Provide educational services for families of participating students, such as literacy instruction, computer training and/or cultural enrichment.

Ensure that both youth and their families have decision-making roles in the creation, operation and evaluation of every 21st CCLC in Pennsylvania.

Mobilize school, community, and private sector social and health services support and resources in order to remove barriers that impede students’ learning.

Apply for a 21st CCLC Grant

The 21st CCLC grant is a competitive grant that provides federal funding to establish community learning centers that provide academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities for students and their families. These opportunities must occur during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session. Opportunities must help students attending high-poverty and low-performing schools meet state and local standards in core academic subjects. Centers must also offer students an array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, literacy, and other educational services to their families.

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s 21st CCLC grant webpage for more information and how to apply instructions. For answers to the most frequently asked questions, visit their FAQ webpage.


A 21st CCLC Pennsylvania grantee is monitored at least one time during the first three years of the grant period (Cohort 9, 10 and 11). The contracted monitor from the Pennsylvania Department of Education will communicate about the monitoring visit. The self-assessment tool and itinerary guide are to be completed and returned to the monitor prior to the scheduled visit.

Please visit the AIU website to download the Monitoring Self-Assessment and Report and the Hybrid Monitoring Site Visit Itinerary Guide.

Center for Schools and Communities (CSC) contracts with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide training and technical assistance to Pennsylvania Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers. CSC employs a diverse and well-qualified staff to respond to requests for training and technical assistance relating specifically to the following topics pertaining to afterschool and youth development.

  • Quality Programming
  • Community and Family Engagement
  • Program Management and Administration
  • Professional Development Training