Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Odyssey Launch the Close the Gap Grant Program
the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and Odyssey, a platform that helps states connect families to public funding and education services, announced the launch of the Missouri Close the Gap Grant program. This is a one-time grant of up to $1,500 for parents/guardians who reside in Missouri to use for allowable education expenses. Applications are now open and must be submitted by October 25, 2023.
To be eligible for the grant, students must be a Missouri resident and be enrolled in grades K-12 in a Missouri public school district or charter school. Per state statute, the distribution of funds will be prioritized for families whose income is below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. If sufficient funds are available after those below 185 percent of the federal poverty level receive funds, families at or above that poverty level may receive funds.
“Close the Gap is another way to support our mission to provide students access to opportunities," said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “In partnership with Odyssey, we are providing families a platform to search for and purchase the resources, tools, and enrichment their student needs to be successful inside and outside of the classroom.”
“Every student deserves access to a high-quality education, and Odyssey will provide Missouri families and students with convenient and modern technology to quickly and easily access funds to get what they need to succeed,” said Joseph Connor, founder and CEO at Odyssey. “The pandemic brought on unimaginable challenges for our students and their learning. Missouri’s Close the Gap Program will help support the ongoing efforts to accelerate learning and get students back on track.”
Close the Gap Grant applications will be administered on Odyssey's website, where families can access both the application and the Odyssey Marketplace. Listed below are additional program details and allowable educational expenses.
- Parents/guardians will need to create an Odyssey account to submit an application.
- If the system is unable to verify income level or residency through an automated process, parents/guardians will be requested to submit additional information.
Allowable educational expenses include
- Instructional resource materials;
- Academic day or summer camps;
- Computer equipment;
- Internet connectivity;
- Before- and afterschool educational programs;
- Course fees and textbooks;
- Online access for an academic app or subscription;
- Education, learning, or study skills services;
- Arts-related day or summer camps; and
- Art enrichment.