California Student Author Program

A woman writes on a notebook beside a cappuccino cup.

Application Information

The California Student Author Program was created by 2018 legislation to address literacy challenges among public-school-aged children from extremely low-income communities. The goal of this program is to have students create and publish their own work, based on their participation in author workshops.

Project Timeline and Funding

The program will serve students during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years. Applicants will apply for a two-year cycle, with the second year of funding contingent on successful completion of the first program year. A total of $500,000 per year will be available ($1,000,000 over the two-year cycle) and will be divided among successful applicants by the peer review panel.

Considered together, all funded programs should serve at least 1,000 unduplicated public school students over the two-year grant period; in requesting an award amount, an applicant should plan a budget based on the number of students to be served. Award announcements for year one will be made in late spring 2019, with funding available July 1, 2019.


Applications with required attachments must be submitted electronically no later than Thursday, April 18, 2019, at 5pm. A PDF of the application form is also available for your information, but please use the application link to submit the online application. The budget and timeline documents are separate documents to be attached to the online application.

Who is eligible to apply?

Nonprofit organizations, public libraries, and local educational entities that have demonstrated experience in providing similar literacy programs to children in extremely low-income communities.

Are partnerships required?

No, but they are encouraged. Some organizations may already have experience and serve the target population. Other organizations may wish to partner with housing authorities, community based organizations, schools, afterschool programs, or writing programs. Up to two letters of commitment/letters of support may be attached to the application.

Background Information

The grant recipients selected in this program will establish a student author program to provide participants an opportunity to write, edit, and promote a short story or other forms of literature. A grant recipient should provide regular, sequential student author workshops that parallel or complement school calendars, such as quarterly, semester, or summer and vacation-intensive programs that include, but are not limited to, the following components:

  • Writing and editing, including instruction in the skills necessary for creative writing.
  • Publishing an anthology.
  • Marketing, media, and community relations, including instruction in book brand development and entrepreneurship.
  • Individual and group presentations.
  • Community-based book signing events.

Project and Evaluation Plans

In developing a project plan, applicants should develop a project that:

  • Fosters critical thinking in student authors.
  • Teaches students to practice effective problem solving.
  • Instructs students on creating an outline for their writing project.
  • Teaches students to develop promotional and advertising tools.
  • Provides students with an understanding of how to create a literary character and an engaging plot.

Project plans must include an evaluation plan designed to measure the following outcomes:

  • Improve English language skills.
  • Improve academic performance.
  • Build healthy relationships with the community.
  • Equip participants with critical life skills.
  • Promote positive life choices.
  • Increase literacy, reading, and writing among program participants.

Important Dates

  • Apply by:
    Thursday, April 18, 2019, 5pm
  • Award announced:
    Late Spring 2019
  • Funding available:
    July 1, 2019
  • Grantee six-month reports due:
    July 31, 2020

Who Can Apply

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Public Libraries
  • Local Educational Entities
  • with experience in providing similar literacy programs to children in extremely low-income communities


For more information, contact project monitor Beverly Schwartzberg at