Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kristen Crossney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeremy Phillips, Ph.D.


Federal discretionary grant awards provide school districts with opportunities outside the regular budget that enhance programming and services for staff and students. Research has shown that project champions, community support and involvement, and sustainability plans increase grant sustainability in various sectors. This project demonstrates how these federal discretionary grant awards are sustained by rural school districts after the federal funding ends through an evaluation of the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program grant. Building on existing work on sustainability, it asks: Is federal discretionary grant funding sustainable for rural public school districts’ programs? Grant sustainability is defined as an organization’s ability to maintain programs or services after funding has ended.

An online survey was distributed to recipients of the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program grant who received the award in 2011 and 2012. Analysis of the responses indicated rural public school districts did not sustain programs and services as frequently as urban and suburban public school districts. Rural public school district respondents also lacked sustainability plans, project champions, and community engagement and support for the project funded. Further research is needed to identify other variables that could influence sustainability and extend the opportunities provided by funded programs and services.