Department of Education Announces American Rescue Plan Funds for All 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to Help Schools Reopen

Department of Education Announces American Rescue Plan Funds for All 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to Help Schools Reopen

$122 billion from the American Rescue Plan will help achieve President Biden’s goal to open the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office
March 17, 2021

Today, less than a week after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the amount of ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding that each State, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will receive to support their efforts to reopen K-12 schools safely this month and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivered the news directly to state education commissioners in a letter issued today and said the Department will begin to make these funds available to state educational agencies (SEAs) this month. The announcement coincides with the Department of Health and Human Services' announcement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10 billion to states to support COVID-19 screening testing for K-12 teachers, staff, and students in schools, and marks swift action by the Biden-Harris Administration to meet the President's goal of safely reopening the majority of K-8 schools within the first 100 days of his administration.

"This pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on students, parents, educators, and schools, and we know that our schools, students, and communities need help now to reopen safely and quickly, and to stay open," said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "These funds from the American Rescue Plan and the extraordinary steps the Department is taking to get these resources to states quickly will allow schools to invest in mitigation strategies to get students back in the classroom and stay there, and address the many impacts this pandemic has had on students—especially those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic."

The Department announced the allocation that each SEA will receive under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund, totaling $122 billion in relief for K-12 schools. The Department will begin to make these funds available this month so that they may act to fund health and safety measures consistent with CDC guidance, address the disruptions to teaching and learning resulting from the pandemic—especially for students hardest hit by the pandemic—and get students back in the classroom quickly and safely.

In his letter, Secretary Cardona urged states and school districts to utilize these funds with the same sense of urgency the President and Congress used to pass the American Rescue Plan Act and with the same commitment that families and educators have to getting students back in classrooms for in-person instruction safely.

The ARP ESSER funds may be used to address the many impacts of COVID-19 on pre-K through 12 education, including:

  • Investing in resources to implement CDC's K-12 operational strategy for in-person learning to keep educators, staff, and students safe; improving ventilation; purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE); and obtaining additional space to ensure social distancing in classrooms.
  • Avoiding devastating layoffs and hiring additional educators to address learning loss, providing support to students and existing staff, and providing sufficient staffing to facilitate social distancing.
  • Implementing strategies to meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students hit hardest by the pandemic, including through evidence-based interventions and critical services like community schools.
  • Funding crucial summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs.
  • Hiring additional school personnel, such as nurses and custodial staff, to keep schools safe and healthy.
  • Providing for social distancing and safety protocols on buses.
  • Funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and devices for students without connectivity for remote learning and supporting educators in the effective use of technology; and
  • Additional uses as allowed in the statute.

Secretary Cardona also underscored the importance of advancing equity in states' efforts to reopen schools quickly and safely. The Secretary encouraged states to make sure students who have been hit hardest by COVID-19 are provided with the resources and support they need to emerge from this pandemic stronger.  American Rescue Plan funds can be used by SEAs and school districts to equitably expand opportunities for students who need the funds most, including students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, students experiencing homelessness, and students with inadequate access to technology. Secretary Cardona also reaffirmed the Department's ongoing commitment to providing technical assistance, guidance, and best practices to states as they work to utilize these funds.

The below table outlines the amount of funding each SEA will receive from the ARP ESSER Fund. Additional information, including an ARP ESSER Fact Sheet and allocation tables, can be found at https://oese.ed.gov/american-rescue-plan-elementary-and-secondary-school-emergency-relief.

 STATE

American Rescue Plan ESSER Fund Allocation

ALABAMA

2,020,070,466

ALASKA

358,707,134

ARIZONA

2,582,098,697

ARKANSAS

1,253,227,833

CALIFORNIA

15,068,884,546

COLORADO

1,166,328,632

CONNECTICUT

1,105,919,874

DELAWARE

410,733,965

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

386,317,154

FLORIDA

7,038,246,438

GEORGIA

4,249,371,244

HAWAII

412,328,764

IDAHO

439,942,041

ILLINOIS

5,054,988,054

INDIANA

1,994,734,056

IOWA

774,516,216

KANSAS

830,585,182

KENTUCKY

2,084,773,157

LOUISIANA

2,605,463,325

MAINE

411,303,282

MARYLAND

1,951,136,802

MASSACHUSETTS

1,830,128,073

MICHIGAN

3,719,833,128

MINNESOTA

1,320,645,901

MISSISSIPPI

1,627,197,854

MISSOURI

1,956,529,215

MONTANA

382,019,236

NEBRASKA

545,908,619

NEVADA

1,071,998,392

NEW HAMPSHIRE

350,501,633

NEW JERSEY

2,764,587,703

NEW MEXICO

979,056,256

NEW YORK

8,988,780,836

NORTH CAROLINA

3,599,191,706

NORTH DAKOTA

305,266,879

OHIO

4,472,067,097

OKLAHOMA

1,493,582,570

OREGON

1,121,028,734

PENNSYLVANIA

4,996,953,151

PUERTO RICO

2,965,938,760

RHODE ISLAND

415,015,610

SOUTH CAROLINA

2,112,051,487

SOUTH DAKOTA

382,019,236

TENNESSEE

2,487,638,081

TEXAS

12,418,588,778

UTAH

615,526,070

VERMONT

285,164,138

VIRGINIA

2,109,490,751

WASHINGTON

1,852,501,071

WEST VIRGINIA

761,417,928

WISCONSIN

1,540,784,854

WYOMING

303,709,391

TOTAL

121,974,800,000

These funding levels do not include the $10 billion in funding HHS will invest for screening testing to help schools reopen.

In addition to the ARP ESSER funding for states, the American Rescue Plan includes $7.6 billion for special education, children and youth experiencing homelessness, Tribal educational agencies, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives, emergency assistance to non-public schools, and the Outlying Areas (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), as well as $40 billion for higher education.