QZAB (Qualifed Zone Academy Bonds) Program Eligibility Requirements

The QZAB program is the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds program. It is a federal program designed to help struggling public schools renovate their facilities and improve their programs. The program assists public schools by issuing Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. Usually, when schools borrow money for these kinds of projects, they have to buy bonds and loans that generate considerable interest charges. The Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, on the other hand, charge little to no interest. In order to apply for the program, the schools must meet certain eligibility requirements.

Which Schools Are Qualified Under QZAB Program

Qualified Zone Academy Bonds are available to public schools in all U.S states and territories. The school must be either located in an Empowerment Zone or Enterprise Community. It can also qualify if they have at least 35 percent of its students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Each state has a right to impose additional requirements. Schools are allowed to apply once a year, and if they fail to qualify for the QZAB program once, they can always apply again.

Establishing Partnership with a Private Business

In order to be eligible, schools cannot qualify unless they established a partnership with a private business. That business will have input on the QZAB-funded programs. The private business and the school will have to work together to finalize any programs that are covered using QZAB funds. The private business will have to make a contribution to the school that's worth at least 10 percent of the money it received in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. This contribution can take on many forms. It can be be cash, equipment, technology and other educational tools, as well as internships and field trips that allow students to learn outside the classroom.

What QZAB Program Funds Can Be Used For

Once the school's eligibility for the program has been established, a clear explanation of what the bonds will be used for will be required. While the schools have some leeway in deciding how they can be used, the uses must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Repairing and renovating buildings: the bonds can be used to repair, renovate and otherwise improve the structure of the school buildings and related facilities. Priority is given to schools where buildings have extensive wear and general damages, especially if they threaten the quality of learning. The bonds, however, cannot be used to rebuild the school facilities from scratch.
  • Acquiring new and more up-to-date equipment: the bonds can be used to buy things like computers, new projectors, etc. It can also be used to replace the dated equipment with it's new technology. This can encompass any technology and equipment that serves as a learning tool.
  • Developing challenging curricula: the bonds can be used to develop educational programs that will improve test scores, give them access to more skills and otherwise improve their education. A big emphasis is placed on getting students involved in their learning process and inspiring them to try harder.
  • Training quality teachers: the bonds can be used to help schools fund the certification of well-qualified teachers, as well as programs that help the existing teachers new skills.