How $274 billion in federal emergency aid funded education programs across the country

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How $274 billion in federal emergency aid funded education programs across the country

Two years after the Education Stabilization Fund was enacted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, HeyTutor analyzed how $274 billion earmarked for emergency funding for the education have been spent. Data on funding amounts comes from the US Department of Education.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, many school systems across the United States were sadly unprepared for the shift to remote learning. Technological devices and protocols for online classes were lacking while students without reliable home access to the internet or laptops struggled to keep up. Help came in the form of the CARES Act – enacted in March 2020 – which created the ESF: an investment of more than $263 billion in state and institutional relief and recovery efforts against COVID-19, managed by the United States Department of Education.

ESF was designed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the educational impacts of the coronavirus on American students. Subsequent allocations to the fund were codified by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, signed into law in December 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March 2021.

In addition to providing financial assistance to small businesses, public transit, taxpayers (through stimulus checks), and community health programs, the ARP Act also allocated $274 billion for education, split into four broad categories: emergency relief for elementary and secondary schools; Governor’s Education Emergency Relief; Emergency assistance to non-public schools; and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This continued federal funding has helped schools return to in-person instruction and recovery, allowing districts to prepare necessary PPE and cleaning protocols, update ventilation systems and safety guidelines. social distancing, and more.

Keep reading to see how these funds have been used across the United States

Classroom with students sitting at the teacher's desk in front

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Emergency aid for elementary and secondary schools: $189.5 billion

How ESSER funds were allocated:
– CARES Act ($13.23 billion)
– CRRSA Act (54.31 billion dollars)
– ARP Act ($121.97 billion)

Nearly 60% of ESSER funds are aimed at addressing learning loss in children, according to March 2022 data from the White House. Other efforts include hiring more mental health counsellors, social workers and teachers; increase the number of after-school and summer enrichment programs; providing students with access to evidence-based tutoring services; and the purchase of new learning materials such as textbooks.

Approximately 24% of ESSER funds are used to safely reopen and modernize school facilities by eliminating the risks associated with lead paint. The money was also used to upgrade HVAC systems and provide staff and students with PPE as needed.

In the Northeast, Maine’s School Administrative District 11 introduced new language arts, math, and social studies programs and hired nearly 10 new teachers, reducing average class sizes by 22-24 to 14-16 children. The White Plains City School District in New York has embarked on a $26.3 million project to purchase and install new HVAC units, using its ESSER money to fund about a third of the plan. In 2021, the College and Career Readiness Office of the New Mexico Department of Public Education used ESSER funds to establish a Summer Enrichment Internship Program, through which high school students can participate in meaningful internships at county, city, and tribal government agencies—significant opportunities for high schools hardest hit by the pandemic.

Teenage boy using laptop while studying

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Governor’s emergency education aid: $4.2 billion

How GEER funds were allocated:
– CARES Act ($2.89 billion)
– CRRSA Act ($1.27 billion)
– ARP law (not applicable)

When reviewing grant applications, the U.S. Department of Education uses a formula stipulated in the legislation that 60% is based on the relative number of children and young adults ages 5-24 in a state. given, and 40% is based on the relative number of pupils considered under Section 1124(c) of the Primary and Secondary Education Act 1965.

Several states have combined GEER with similar funds to address learning gaps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California, for example, combined GEER and CRRSA funding (for a total of $5.3 billion) to distribute to communities most in need, such as those with a high proportion of students with disabilities, English language learners, low income students and homestay students. Meanwhile, Connecticut’s GEER and CARES Act combined funds ($43.5 million) to purchase 50,000 laptops and pay for home internet access for 60,000 college students.

Other states have allocated all of their GEER funding to specific causes, in accordance with the NCSL. South Carolina sent its $2.4 million funds to the eight historically black colleges and universities in the state, while New Jersey gave all of its funds ($68 million) to its public colleges and universities.

Schoolgirl wearing face mask in class


Emergency aid for non-public schools: $5.5 billion

How EANS funds were allocated:
– CARES Act (not applicable)
– CRRSA Act (2.75 billion dollars)
– ARP Act ($2.75 billion)

The EANS program is subject to expansion under the ARP Act and allows non-public schools to receive assistance from state educational services if a large portion of their student body is from low-income families and the school has been severely affected by the pandemic.

Accredited, licensed, not-for-profit and non-public schools, including faith-based institutions established before March 13, 2020, can use EANS rewards for several purposes, such as purchasing PPE and physical barriers for distancing education, improving HVAC and air purification systems in schools, and investing in hardware and software to facilitate blended and distance learning.

Examples of EANS awards in 2021 included $250 million for New York, $213 million for Florida, $187.5 million for California, and other multi-million dollar distributions to the most populous states. By comparison, North Dakota received just under $4 million in EANS money, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Cropped view of three students with notebooks at table

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Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund: $74.9 billion

How HEER funds were allocated:
– CARES Act ($14.1 billion)
– CRRSA Act (21.2 billion dollars)
– ARP Act ($39.6 billion)

Established alongside the ARP Act in March 2021, HEER funding provides more than $14 billion in grants to institutions and students. These funds can cover the costs of student/campus accommodation, student child care, transportation, and on-campus food services.

At North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, for example, HEER aid was used to create a scholarship for on-campus housing. In Texas, Tarleton State University has funded pantries at its Stephenville and Fort Worth campuses. Meanwhile, Bergen Community College in New Jersey used its funding to subsidize on-campus daycare for students’ children while they attended classes.

This story originally appeared on HeyTutor and was produced and
distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.


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