5 Ways to Spend Your Close the Gap Money

5 Ways to Spend Your Close the Gap Money


The Missouri Close the Gap Grant Program provides an opportunity for parents to enhance their child's education through additional educational resources. With up to $1,500 available through the grant, there are numerous ways to utilize this funding for educational advancement.

What is Missouri's Close the Gap Grant?

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Odyssey, an organization that helps connect families to educational resources, has established the Close the Gap Grant to address educational inequities across the state. This initiative is an important step towards leveling the educational playing field, offering financial support to families in need.

This grant aims to provide up to $1,500 per eligible student. The purpose of the grant is multifaceted: enhance the quality of education for Missouri students, provide access to additional learning resources, and help families manage the costs associated with a comprehensive education.

Eligibility for the Grant

This one-time grant is designed to assist with education expenses for Missouri residents who are students in K-12, including those attending public schools or as a charter school student. It focuses on supporting families that earn less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level, ensuring that the most economically disadvantaged applicants receive priority. However, the program also remains open to families with higher incomes if there are remaining funds available.

How to Spend Close the Gap Grant

Here are five of the best ways to use the Close the Gap Grant funding:

Enhancing Academic Skills through Tutoring

Personalized tutoring is a powerful way to address individual learning gaps and challenges. It provides focused, one-on-one support in subjects where your child may be struggling or needs extra attention. This ensures that your child receives instruction tailored to their specific needs, enhancing their understanding and mastery of the subject matter.

Tutoring services available under the Close the Gap Grant cover a wide range of subjects and educational needs:

  • STEM Areas: Specialized tutoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics can help students grasp complex concepts and develop problem-solving skills.
  • Language Learning: Language tutors can assist in learning new languages, improving communication skills, and gaining cultural insights.
  • Reading and Writing Enhancement: Tutors can help improve literacy skills, reading comprehension, and writing abilities, which are foundational to academic success.
  • Standardized Test Preparation: Specialized tutoring for tests like the SAT, ACT, or GRE can provide strategies and practice to help students perform their best.

Enrichment Beyond the Classroom

Before-school and after-school programs extend learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom setting. These programs play an important role in early development and can significantly enrich a child’s educational experience.

Benefits of these programs include:

  • Academic Support: Additional help with homework and challenging subjects can reinforce classroom learning.
  • Social Skills Development: Interacting with peers in a structured setting fosters socialization and teamwork skills.
  • Independence and Confidence: Engaging in a variety of activities helps children become more independent and confident learners.
  • Diverse Activities: Exposure to arts, sports, and other extracurricular activities encourages children to explore and develop new interests.

Technology for Today’s Learners

In today's digital world, having access to the right technology is essential for educational success. The Close the Gap Grant can be used to purchase various technological tools:

  • Computers and Tablets: Essential devices for accessing online learning platforms, completing assignments, and conducting research.
  • Software: Educational software can enhance learning experiences, provide interactive learning opportunities, and assist with various subjects.
  • Internet Connectivity: Reliable internet access is crucial for uninterrupted learning, especially for students engaged in online classes or research.

Expanding Options with Online Learning and Resources

The grant's support for online courses and textbooks opens up new options for learning. This flexibility is incredibly beneficial for personalized education plans:

  • Access to Diverse Subjects: Online courses can offer subjects and topics not available in traditional curriculums, allowing students to pursue unique interests.
  • Advanced Study Opportunities: For students seeking more challenging coursework, online platforms can offer advanced courses that go beyond what's available in their schools.
  • Textbook Availability: Having the necessary textbooks and resources supports effective learning and keeps students on track with their studies.

Educational Summer Camps for Continued Learning

The Close the Gap Grant can also be used for educational summer camps, providing a blend of learning and fun during school breaks:

  • Academic Engagement: Camps focusing on subjects like science, technology, or the arts keep the mind active and prevent learning loss during the summer.
  • Skill Development: These camps often offer hands-on learning experiences, fostering practical and creative skills.
  • Exploration of New Interests: Summer camps provide opportunities for students to explore subjects and activities they might not encounter in their regular school curriculum.

Taking Advantage of the Grant Opportunities

Taking advantage of Missouri's Close the Gap Grants can significantly enhance your child's educational journey. This program is not just about providing financial assistance; it's about opening doors to a world of educational possibilities that may have been previously inaccessible.

Utilizing these funds wisely means you can invest in high-quality classroom materials, cutting-edge learning tools, and unique educational experiences for your child. These resources help reinforce your child's academic foundations, making learning more engaging and effective. Whether it's textbooks, educational software, or individualized tutoring, having access to the right materials and resources can make a significant difference in your child’s understanding and interest in various subjects.

The program's flexibility allows for reimbursement of expenses in various educational areas. This means that after investing in your child's education, whether it be through purchasing materials, enrolling them in special programs, or other educational expenses, you can apply for reimbursement through the grant. This aspect of the program ensures that families can make educational decisions without being immediately constrained by cost.

If your child is eligible for this program, embrace this opportunity to support their educational growth and success!