The Office of Head Start (OHS) is providing an opportunity for Head Start grantees to apply for a 1.8 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The Program Instruction (PI) describing the COLA was issued on April 27, 2016 to all Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) grantees. Grantees subject to competition through the Designation Renewal System, as well as Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grantees, are also eligible.
The PI indicates that Regional Offices will send a Funding Guidance Letter to programs, and the letter will include the level of funding available as well as requirements for submitting an application. A timeline for application isn’t specified in the PI, though you can begin to think about how your program will use COLA funds. COLA funds may be used for two primary purposes – to increase staff salaries and fringe benefits, and to cover higher operating costs. Even though the PI doesn’t provide significant detail on what will be required in the application for funding, we know that all COLA increases must be clearly justifiable and detailed in the budget.
We suggest beginning your planning early, particularly if you anticipate being stretched by other applications in the near future (e.g., Supplemental Funds, EHS-CCP Round 2). All great opportunities to support the needs of EHS and HS staff, children, and families!
We have successfully worked with agencies in every round of recompetition to write winning grants, design competitive programs, confirm prudent budgets, and plan for a manageable start-up period. Contact Amy Augenblick, Executive Director, at (703) 599-4329 or [email protected] to learn about how we can help.