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Start-Up Funding

This topic only deals with initial funding of online learning programs. Information about ongoing funding issues may be found in the Funding Section. A related topic to funding is costs of online learning programs which can be found in the Budget/Staffing Section.

Most programs need a significant amount of funding to cover start-up costs. How much you need depends on whether your program is full-time or supplemental and other considerations regarding the scope of your program.

Because of the wide variations among district, charter school and private school programs it is difficult to provide initial cost estimates for these types of programs. Much depends on the desired initial size of the online learning program and if the program is able to share facilities, program staff, and support resources with a parent organization. Depending on the type of your program, initial funds may come from your state, your district, charter school start-up funds, grants, donations, or combinations of these sources.

State Virtual Schools: If you are starting a state virtual school, your initial funding will likely come from a specific appropriation from your state legislature or from your state’s department of education. …more info

District/Consortium Programs: If you are starting a program within a district or a consortium of districts, your initial funding will likely be a special allocation from your parent organization. …more info

Charter Schools: If you are starting a new virtual charter school, your initial funding will come from the charter school start-up grant that is normally part of your state’s application process. Charter school start-up funds generally come from the federal government and are distributed by your state to approved charter schools. …more info

Grants and Donations: A wide range of grants may be available for virtual school start-up. These grants may be from public or private sources and can cover the costs of anything from hardware to courseware to staffing. Funding through donations is far more common in the private school world than in the public schools, but is an option for both in most states. Both cash and in-kind donations can be extremely helpful in the start-up phase. …more info