Using Title I, Title II, Title IV + ESSER Funds for Wayfinder

Existing federal funding sources can be used for Wayfinder’s products and services. A needs assessment process will use school and district data to assess fit. If this process confirms a need for Wayfinder, the following options are available to you.

Adults using Wayfinder toolkits in professional development setting

Explore the Various Funding Options for Purchasing Wayfinder

Title I, Part A

The purpose of Title I “is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.”
(ESEA Section 1001) 

Title I, Part A can be used to fund all Wayfinder products and services. 

There are two different ways schools that receive Title I funds operate: Targeted Assistance Programs and Schoolwide Programs. Wayfinder is a great fit for Title I funding as a schoolwide program. Wayfinder’s curriculum supports equal-access education in the following ways. 

  • Our curriculum is developed using Universal Design for Learning principles to ensure that goals are clear, implementation is flexible, and students are able to own their learning.
  • Wayfinder is useful as part of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to help schools provide students with necessary support and interventions at multiple levels. 
  • Waypoints, our formative and summative assessment suite, provides insights and data-informed content recommendations to help plan timely interventions and meet students’ unique needs. 

Title II, Part A

Funds from Title II, Part A are designated for professional development of teaching staff intended to improve instructional practices. 

Title II, Part A can be used to fund Wayfinder training + learning packages. 

Wayfinder offers several professional learning opportunities designed to improve teachers’ relationship-building capacity, facilitation skills, and whole-child teaching strategies. 

  • Adult SEL offerings are available to all. These sessions build educators’ personal and professional capacities to facilitate high-quality SEL. 
  • Training + Implementation support is available to all current Wayfinder partners. This includes kickoff training, individualized product + implementation guidance, ongoing technical support, and more. These training sessions equip teachers and staff with the background knowledge and technical skills to implement a comprehensive SEL implementation plan and successful MTSS. 

Title IV, Part A

Title IV, Part A is also known as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grant. It provides funding to school districts to be used across three categories: (1) access to a well-rounded education, (2) improving school conditions for learning to ensure safe and healthy students, and (3) effective use of technology to improve academic achievement and digital literacy.

Title IV, Part A can be used to fund all Wayfinder products and services, mainly as they fall into the second category. 

1. The first category of Title IV, Part A aligns with Wayfinder’s objectives. 
  • Wayfinder provides social-emotional learning and purpose-development education that supplement and bolster academic learning. 
  • Through a partnership with Roadtrip Nation, Wayfinder also supports career exploration and readiness through our high school Core Curriculum, multi-grade Activity Library activities, and career-focused Collections. 
  • Wayfinder’s Purposeful Leadership Course is an additional offering schools can use in upper high school grades to provide student leadership opportunities and develop peer mentorship programming. 
2. The second category is directly aligned with Wayfinder’s mission. 
  • Third-party independent program evaluations show that Wayfinder effectively improves student belonging, purpose, and social awareness in both public and independent schools. 
  • Wayfinder helps schools build belonging, form strong relationships across campus, and guide students to develop healthy habits. 
  • Wayfinder for Counselors supports MTSS, restorative justice, and RTI efforts.  
3. The final category is connected only to select selections from Wayfinder’s Activity Library and Collections. 
  • Wayfinder’s Activity Library and Collections contain activities and lessons on digital literacy, digital citizenship, and building healthy online habits.


Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) provides funding to help US school districts prevent and respond to COVID-19. This program is available until September 2024. ESSER can be spent on activities that support students’ social-emotional well-being and academic achievement. 

ESSER funds can be used to fund all Wayfinder products and services. 

Wayfinder meets the requirements of ESSER as an evidence-based SEL intervention. Students who have completed Wayfinder are 4x more likely to feel confident about their futures, which aids in reducing student anxieties—including those that came about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wayfinder can be funded for any of the following uses. 

  • To introduce or upgrade your existing social-emotional learning programming
  • To support the implementation of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
  • To integrate mental health and well-being into school schedules
  • To prioritize educators’ social-emotional learning

Standard practice dictates that all services and materials must be delivered prior to the liquidation of grant funds. However, according to FAQs issued in 2022, the US Department of Education recognized the unique circumstances pertaining to pandemic recovery needs and the flexibility these circumstances require. This flexibility allows for the pre-payment of contracts that allow Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to: 

  • Sign a contract with a vendor by the obligation deadline of September 30, 2024
  • Fully pay for that contract by December 30, 2024
  • Receive services for the length of the agreed-upon contract 

A 2023 memo from the US Department of Education reiterates that ESSER funds may be used to pre-pay for contracts extending beyond the liquidation date of December 30, 2024 and provides the following clarification. 

The question of whether services may extend a reasonable time beyond the obligation and liquidation period is fact-specific and should be considered by the State on a case-by-case basis.

For example, as noted in E-3.d., a State may determine that it is reasonable and necessary under 2 CFR §§ 200.403-200.404 for an LEA to enter into a multi-year software licensing contract with a vendor during the period of availability of ARP ESSER funds and pay for the entirety of the software license within the liquidation period. However, under the contract, the vendor would continue to provide the services (i.e., software and technical support) for some time after the funds had been liquidated. The LEA in that instance should document, at the time it enters into the contract, its analysis leading to the decision to enter into the multi-year contract. 

For example, the LEA might document factors such as: 

  • the per-month cost of the multi-year contract is less than the cost of a shorter-term contract; 
  • the software license will be needed throughout the period of the contract; 
  • the LEA is allowed to enter into the contract extending beyond the obligation and liquidation period under State and local procurement rules; 
  • and prudent business practices and internal controls support entering into the contract.

LEAs should contact their State Education Agencies (SEAs) to discuss the prepayment of a contract. If planning to sign a multi-year contract that includes physical student workbooks, it is advisable to mention to your SEA contact that Wayfinder updates its curriculum every year to ensure relevance, respond to educator feedback, and provide optimal teaching and learning experiences. If used in lieu of the Wayfinder app, these workbooks are part of Wayfinder’s comprehensive program, not standalone products. This means that advance delivery of multiple years of workbooks by the liquidation date of December 30, 2024 is not possible. For this reason, it’s worth asking your SEA contact if the flexibility given to ESSER-funded services and software contracts may extend to supplies unavailable by design until past the liquidation date. Wayfinder can provide evidence of our curriculum updating process if helpful for securing prepayment permissions. 

ESSER Funds Reminder

Go to Funding + Grant Writing