Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) and International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP) Alumni Small Grants Program

About the TEA/ILEP Alumni Small Grants Program

The TEA-ILEP Alumni Small Grants Program provides up to $2,500 to secondary educators who are alumni of the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) and the International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP). Grants are issued to support projects, materials, and activities that will improve secondary education in grantees’ home schools and communities. TEA and ILEP are programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State and implemented by IREX.




Candidates will be considered without respect to race, color, religion, national origin, or gender. Persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The TEA-ILEP Small Grants Program is a merit-based competition open to:

Individuals in the following circumstances are NOT eligible for the Alumni Small Grants Program:

IREX reserves the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee.


Maximum Grant Award: $2,500

All grant proposal funding requests must be in amounts between $500 and $2,500. The minimum grant award is $500 and the maximum grant award is $2,500 regardless of the number of collaborators.

Disbursement of Funds

Grant funds will be awarded in two separate payments, an 80% payment (minus any deductions for U.S. colleagues’ international travel) at the beginning of the grant period, and a 20% payment after submission and approval of the Final Report.

Grantees will receive their grant funds as a wire to their personal bank account. Grantees will be asked to supply bank information in their Terms & Conditions document. If you are not able to receive grant funds via a wire transfer, IREX will work with you on an individual basis to identify an appropriate method of sending you the grant funds.

Grant applicants are highly encouraged to demonstrate cost share through their ability to obtain in-kind donations (such as books, materials, rental space, volunteer time from colleagues or community members to work on the project, etc.) by outside sources such as the applicant’s or collaborator’s school.

Successful projects may be asked to make changes to their proposed budget and technical proposal prior to the final award decision. IREX reserves the right to alter an applicant’s budget or fund some, but not all, components of an application.

Unallowable Costs

TEA-ILEP Small Grant funds may not be used for the following:

Equipment and Software

In certain cases, small grant funds may be used to purchase equipment and/or software if critical to the project and costs are reasonable.

International Plane Tickets

According to U.S. government regulations, all U.S. colleagues who travel for professional collaboration as part of a TEA-ILEP Alumni Small Grant must use a U.S. air carrier for their international travel. This regulation is known as the Fly America Act. Therefore, all international tickets purchased with ECA/IREX funds must be purchased directly through IREX. An international plane ticket on a U.S. carrier generally ranges from $700-$2,000, although during busy travel seasons it can be more expensive. Grantees are encouraged to take into account the $2,500 maximum award amount when considering international travel. Travel must be well-justified in the project proposal and budget narrative. Travel must follow IREX’s travel rules and regulations.

Taxes and Wire Fees

Grant recipients are responsible for all taxes or bank processing/wiring fees incurred by receiving an Alumni Small Grant. However, taxes and wire fees may be included in the project budget. Please note: Some Eurasian countries consider a grant from a non-commercial organization to be taxable income. Grantees are responsible for knowing the tax laws of their home country and/or the country of research. IREX cannot and will not comment on or give tax advice.


Each eligible application will be read by a selection committee in Washington, DC. IREX staff provides administrative support only and does not vote during the selection process.

The selection committee will judge the applications based on the following criteria:


Project Sustainability

The committee reviewing your application will be looking for projects that are sustainable. These are projects in which the impact of the project activities will continue to be reinforced after the small grant funding has been spent. Please review the following tips:

Monitoring and Evaluation

Having a plan to monitor and evaluate the success of the project provides ECA and IREX with valuable information but also helps you to communicate the impact of your work to your community. Getting feedback from members of your community also will help you to build on your initiatives and improve and/or broaden your activities. We ask you to consider how you will assess the impact of your project as you design your project idea and activities. In the M&E plan, consider the following questions:


Information about program applicants and current and past Fellows consists of data contained in their applications, information derived from interviews and reports, and information gathered during the course of their program and as program alumni. IREX stores this information in written and electronic form indefinitely. Some data, such as contact information and professional experience is continually updated.

Information, which is described above, may be:

  1. Used by selection committees and interviewers to review applicants;
  2. Supplied to the program’s funding organization;
  3. Used for the evaluation of an individual’s participation in the program and in the collection of data for general program evaluation by IREX, funding agencies, or other organizations contracted to conduct evaluations;
  4. Used for notifying program Fellows/alumni of upcoming events and programs;
  5. Provided to Fellows/alumni of this and other U.S. Government–sponsored programs for the purpose of fostering alumni networking;
  6. Provided to non-commercial, nongovernmental organizations for the purposes of promoting professional development among program Fellows/alumni;
  7. Used by IREX for general promotional purposes in written or electronic form, including program directories, newsletters, web sites and other promotional materials;
  8. Provided to authorities as required by law.

If you do not want to be included in points 5-8, please notify IREX at teaalumni@irex.org or ilepalumni@irex.org as soon as possible.

IREX does not sell applicant or current/past participant information.

The principles stated herein are binding only to IREX; other organizations involved in the administration of these programs may adhere to other privacy or similar policies.


All ECA alumni are encouraged to register and use the State Alumni Web site, at http://alumni.state.gov. State Alumni is a Web-based interactive directory for alumni of Department of State exchange programs. It extends the exchange experience for alumni after they return home. This site also allows alumni to stay in contact with one another and with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through networking and the sharing of useful information about professional opportunities. ECA alumni are strongly encouraged to register.