Pennsylvania Department of Education Announces $1.5 Million in Grants to Combat Campus Sexual Assault

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has recently announced the availability of $1.5 million in It’s On Us PA grants. These funds are targeted at colleges, universities, and other postsecondary schools across the state to help address the issue of sexual assault on campus.

Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin emphasized the importance of creating a safe learning environment for all Pennsylvanians. “By participating in the It’s On Us PA program, higher education institutions will strengthen their commitment to making their campus communities safer and more welcoming for the students who call it home,” said Dr. Mumin.

The It’s On Us PA campaign is a statewide initiative supported by Governor Josh Shapiro and education leaders across the Commonwealth. The campaign is founded on the belief that no student should experience sexual violence as part of their education. It invites education leaders and all Pennsylvanians to be part of the solution to protect students from sexual violence.

Grant applications are currently available on the PDE website. The deadline for application submissions is 11:59 PM on November 13, 2023.

Eligible institutions and schools with 10,000 or fewer students may request up to $40,000; while those with more than 10,000 students can apply for up to $60,000. Private licensed career schools that do not offer specialized associate degrees may request up to $10,000.

The grant funds are intended to be used by institutions to implement strategies on their campuses to address the goals of the It’s On Us PA campaign. These goals include:

  1. Enhancing awareness, prevention, reporting, and response systems regarding sexual violence in schools, colleges, and universities to better serve all students.
  2. Removing or reducing barriers that prevent survivors of sexual violence from reporting and/or accessing vital resources by creating a more consistent, empowering reporting process for student survivors of gender-based violence.
  3. Demonstrating significant, proactive, and sustainable leadership to change campus culture by challenging Pennsylvania’s education leaders as well as students, teachers, faculty, staff, families, and communities to pledge to improve their institutions’ climate.
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Since its inception in 2016, the It’s On Us PA Grants program has awarded nearly $7 million across 264 grants to 95 post-secondary institutions throughout the state. These include public and private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The institutions have used these grant funds to implement strategies on their campuses to address the goals of Governor Shapiro’s It’s On Us PA campaign.

The PDE is inviting all Pennsylvanians to visit the It’s On Us PA webpage and take the pledge to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

This initiative represents a significant step towards creating safer learning environments across Pennsylvania. By providing funding to institutions to improve their processes and systems, the state is showing a strong commitment to combatting sexual assault on campus.

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