May 24, 2021
2021-22 Pennsylvania Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Request for Applications - Action Required
Required Letter of Intent Deadline June 24, 2021
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is announcing a competitive Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) Request for Application (RFA) for fiscal year 2021-22. OCDEL encourages all eligible Head Start and Early Head Start providers to apply.

This RFA is intended to support providers in preparing to serve and enroll children by September 2021. The RFA is being released in May 2021 to give providers time to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and plan for implementing the program, pending grant approval. Applicants may submit funding proposals aligned with the program models outlined in the Head Start Program Performance Standards 1302 Part B.

Applicants must submit Letters of Intent to by 3 PM on June 24, 2021. Only applicants that submit a complete Letter of Intent by the deadline will be permitted to apply for funding.
The intent of HSSAP is to increase the number of low-income, Head Start-eligible children receiving high quality pre-kindergarten services in Pennsylvania. The proven high standards of Head Start programs ensure that young children are prepared for school, helping to close the achievement gap between groups of students in the K-12 educational system while their families receive additional services that enable them to support their children’s successful entry into school.

HSSAP began in fiscal year (FY) 2004-05 with a $15 million state allocation that benefited 2,469 children served by 35 grantees across 39 counties. Since then, the program has grown considerably. In FY 2020-2021, there were 6,497 funded slots in state-funded Head Start programs being administered by 41 lead agencies in 52 counties.

Governor Wolf’s proposed 2021-22 state budget expands HSSAP by $5 million. With this expansion funding, the state will be able to increase the number of children served in high-quality pre-kindergarten.

OCDEL is using a competitive application process to disperse available state expansion funding to eligible grantees beginning in FY 2021-22.

The ceiling or limit on the potential number of slots that may be awarded to any applicant will depend upon a county’s unmet need percentages and the amount of funding available. Funding is contingent upon approval by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

HSSAP grants are funded via state dollars and, therefore, carryover funds are not permitted. All grant dollars identified in this FY 2021-22 application must be encumbered or spent by June 30, 2022.

Eligible entities include:
  • Head Start grantees; and
  • Early Head Start grantees.
  • Successful applicants MUST demonstrate:
  • Current federal funding for Head Start or Early Head Start as a grantee or delegate; and
  • No uncorrected deficiencies from the most current federal Monitoring Review.

Eligible applicants who apply for HSSAP funding must provide assurance that they operate in full compliance with the federal Head Start Performance Standards as reported on their Integrated Monitoring Report. They also must assure they will provide updates to OCDEL and the Head Start Collaboration Office director when changes in their compliance occur. Failure to report changes may jeopardize current or future grant funding.

Applicants must also have the following in place to complete an application:
  • REQUIRED Letter of Intent (see below);
  • Vendor number (SAP #);
  • Administrative unit number (AUN);
  • Master provider index number (MPI); and
  • Federal ID number or tax ID number.

All information relevant to the application process is available in the HSSAP Application Guidance. Applicants should review all information in this document before submitting the required Letter of Intent to apply.

Letter of Intent
HSSAP applicants must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) using the template posted at How to apply. The LOI represents the applicant’s intent to apply for HSSAP funding and includes preliminary information about requested funding, program model, provider type, and area to be served. Information submitted in the LOI may be modified in the final eGrants application.

Programs interested in applying must submit a fully completed mandatory LOI by 3 PM on June 24, 2021 to Programs that do not submit the LOI will not be able to access or submit a funding application in the eGrants system. Late submissions will not be accepted. Agencies submitting a fully complete LOI by the due date will be notified when the HSSAP application is open in eGrants. 
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