Implementation Process Begins for CARES Act Education Funds
Federal Update: April 15, 2020

Person typing on a laptop

While the CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, the $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund authorized by the legislation is still in the early stages of the implementation process led by the US Department of Education. Four grant programs were created through the CARES Act under the umbrella of the State Education Stabilization Fund:

  • the Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grants;
  • Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund;
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund; and
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

This week the Department of Education set up a website for the Fund and announced the application process for the $3 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. Under the law, the Department has thirty days from March 27, 2020, to publish an application for both the Governors Fund and the $13.5 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Once a state education agency or Governor’s Office has submitted an application, the Department has thirty days to deny or approve the application. The funds need to be spent by September 2021.

Allowable uses for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund include anything already in ESSA (which includes 21st CCLC), IDEA, Perkins-CTE, and the McKinney Vento Homeless Youth Act, as well as the following activities outlined in the CARES Act:

  • Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including “providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.”
  • Planning and coordinating meals
  • Online learning and other educational services
  • Purchasing technology
  • Mental health support

For the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, the law gives governors wide discretion for grants to local districts that the State Education Agency deems most impacted by COVID-19 to continue educational support and ongoing district operations. 

California is estimated to receive $1.7 Billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and $369 Million for the Governors’ Emergency Education Relief Fund.  90 percent of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund amount for each state must be granted to local school districts.

Additional details can be found on the Afterschool Alliance blog post.