Magnet Schools:

Information on the Grant Award Process

HRD-88-20BR: Published: Oct 16, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 16, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Education's grant award process for its Magnet Schools Assistance Program, specifically the: (1) legislative, regulatory, and policy guidelines under which the grant award process operates; (2) differences in the award processes between the program's first (1985) and second (1987) grant competitions; (3) procedures for selecting grant panelists, including panelists' views on the process and suggestions for improvement.

GAO found that: (1) Education awards the grants competitively to local school districts for use in achieving voluntary desegregation; (2) three-member panels review and score grant applications based on six selection criteria; (3) the overall grant process was the same for 1985 and 1987, with the only significant difference being the number of federal and nonfederal panelists; and (4) both federal and nonfederal panelists had expertise in three or more of the required areas. GAO also found that several panelists felt that the: (1) time provided to review grant proposals was inadequate; and (2) absence of an honorarium could negatively affect their decision to serve again.

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