English Language Learning

Migrant Education Program - Overview

Program Purpose

The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is a federally funded program authorized under Title I, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The purpose of the MEP is to:

  • Support high-quality and comprehensive educational programs for migrant children in order to reduce the educational disruption and other problems that result from repeated moves;
  • Ensure that migrant children who move among the states are not penalized in any manner by disparities among the states in curriculum, graduation requirements, and state academic content and student academic achievement standards;
  • Ensure that migrant children are provided with appropriate educational services (including supportive services) that address their special needs in a coordinated and efficient manner;
  • Ensure that migrant children receive full and appropriate opportunities to meet the same challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards that all children are expected to meet;
  • Design programs to help migrant children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit their ability to do well in school, and to prepare them to make a successful transition to postsecondary education or employment; and
  • Ensure that migrant children benefit from state and local systemic reforms

Eligible Children

Trained recruiters interview families to determine each child's eligibility for the Migrant Education Program. To qualify for the program a migrant child must have moved within the last three years across state or school district lines with a parent or guardian or on his/her own to obtain qualifying temporary or seasonal work in agriculture or fishing. Qualifying work must be directly related to (1) planting, harvesting or processing of crops, dairy products, poultry or livestock or (2) catching or processing of fish or shellfish. Children and youth through the age of 21 who have not graduated from high school may be eligible.

Priority for Services

Eligible migrant children must receive priority for service if they:

  • have interrupted schooling related to their migrant lifestyle during the regular school year and
  • are failing or at risk of failing to meeting state content and performance standards


Funds may be used for supplemental educational and ancillary services for migrant children including preschool programs, summer school, tutorial support during the regular school year, and secondary services to help high school students graduate. Other activities include identification and recruitment of students, student record exchange and information transfer with other states, health services, parent involvement initiatives and professional development for school personnel.