For a school to be an eligible Title I school, 40 percent or more of its student body must be from households that qualify as low-income under the United States Census definition. The U.S. Department of Education establishes this requirement, and the requirement applies to both public and private school students.
The term "Title I" refers to a section in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was reauthorized in 2001 under the No Child Left Behind Act. Title I is intended to prioritize schools in significant need of funding, low-performing schools, and those institutions that are working towards improving their test scores and standards.
Title I provides two types of assistance to schools. School-wide programs provide unrestricted funding, which the institution may use to meet its goals as desired. These programs consist of grants based on the total number of poor children they serve and grants based on the concentration of poor students in the student body.
Targeted assistance programs take a different approach, since these funds are allocated toward assisting students at risk of failing. Generally, these grants allocate more funds for each child served as the poverty rate increases in the district where the school is located.