Update on Department of Education Response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

Archived Information

Update on Department of Education Response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma

September 12, 2017

Washington — As part of its ongoing efforts to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and in the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Department of Education released the following update:

Higher Education

  • Last week (Sept. 6 and 7), FSA conducted pre-disaster outreach to nearly 2,400 institutions in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, foreign schools located in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. FSA also continues to reach out to institutions in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
  • On Sept. 8, 2017, FSA issued a post-disaster email to more than 260 institutions in the Caribbean impacted by Hurricane Irma. In the coming days, FSA will send the post-disaster email to institutions in the continental U.S. impacted by Hurricane Irma.
  • FSA has established contact with nearly 20 institutions in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Irma and is responding to requests for regulatory relief and reporting flexibilities.
  • FSA has invited 446 impacted institutions to participate in a webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. FSA and other U.S. Department of Education officials will provide updates on the Department's guidance related to Hurricane Harvey, as well as ongoing assistance.
  • FSA has updated the StudentAid.gov/naturaldisaster page to provide general information relevant to students, parents and borrowers affected by a federally declared natural disaster (including hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the wildfires burning in the western U.S.).


  • The Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) has entered into discussions with the Texas Education Agency about its Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program. Project SERV grants support activities and services that enable schools to restore the learning environment after a natural or man-made disaster.
  • OESE will be conducting a webinar on Sept. 19 in collaboration with FEMA on its Public Assistance Program. The Public Assistance Program provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly-owned facilities.
  • OESE is working with its Federal partners and reaching out to State educational agencies in localities impacted by Hurricane Irma to understand the nature and scope of the damage that Irma has inflicted on their educational institutions.
  • The Department's Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) has contacted charter schools or their representatives in state affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma regarding their emerging needs. These states are still assessing damage, and the Department expects to provide technical assistance and support as needed in the coming weeks.
  • OII has contacted the major private school associations in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky via email, in addition to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for their VI schools, to receive updates on the status of their schools in Irma-impacted areas. OII will send a message to all hurricane-impacted areas on Sept. 12 regarding the upcoming ED/FEMA Public Assistance webinar on Sept. 19, 2017.

Office of the Inspector General

  • On Sept. 10, a team of 10 agents from the Office of the Inspector General arrived at a staging area at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, as part of a quick response team in support of the Federal government's Emergency Support Function #13 (Public Safety and Security) for Hurricane Irma. They have been assigned to provide security for a Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) in the Florida Keys.

The Department's K-12 and Higher Education stakeholders who are seeking informational resources as well as those seeking relief from Department-based administrative requirements should contact the Department toll free at 1-844-348-4082 or by email at HarveyRelief@ed.gov and Irmarelief@ed.gov.