The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act

April 7, 2020

Updated: September 14, 2020

 

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – which was signed into law on March 27, 2020 – includes an Education Stabilization Fund that will provide a total of $30.75 billion for K-12 schools, institutions of higher education (IHE), and other purposes. The awards must be used within one year of receipt – any remaining balance must be returned to US Department of Education (US ED).

Leaders who work in governors’ offices, state education agencies (SEAs), LEAs, and IHEs must take a series of actions in order to ensure not only that they receive education funding through the CARES Act but also that the funding is used effectively to mitigate the harm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue brief contains information to guide and support those efforts, organized by policymaker audience.

Governors’ Offices

Program: The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. The following map shows estimates for the amount of GEER funding that each state will receive:

SHORT-TERM ACTIONS

  • Watch for notice from US ED regarding GEER applications.
  • Fill out, submit GEER applications.
  • Develop systems for gathering information that can be used to inform GEER funding allocation decisions.
  • Develop specific criteria that can be used to evaluate the impact of potential GEER funding uses.

MEDIUM-TERM ACTIONS

  • Publicize the availability of GEER funding to eligible recipients (LEAs, IHEs, “education-related entities”).
  • Gather information about eligible recipients.
  • Evaluate the impact of potential GEER funding uses.
  • Allocate GEER funding.

LONG-TERM ACTIONS

  • Provide continued support and oversight of GEER funding recipients.

State Education Agencies

Program: Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESS-ER) Fund

The following map shows estimates for the amount of ESS-ER funding that states will receive:

Formula Grants for LEAs Emergency Uses
SHORT-TERM ACTIONS
  • Calculate ESS-ER allocations for each LEA based on the proportions used for the most recent allocation of ESEA Title I A funding.
  • Develop a system for gathering information that can be used to inform decisions about ESS-ER emergency funding uses.
  • Determine specific criteria that can be used to evaluate the impact of potential ESS-ER emergency funding uses.

MEDIUM-TERM ACTIONS

  • Disburse ESS-ER funding based on calculated LEA allocations.
  • Publicize the availability of ESS-ER emergency funding to eligible recipients.
  • Gather information about eligible ESS-ER emergency funding uses and evaluate their impact.
  • Allocate ESS-ER emergency funding.

LONG-TERM ACTIONS

  • Provide continued support and oversight of ESS-ER emergency funding recipients.

Local Education Agencies

Program: Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESS-ER) Fund

LEA allocations will be calculated at the SEA level and are currently unavailable.

SHORT-TERM ACTIONS

  • Gather information about potential uses of ESS-ER funding, which could include any allowable activity authorized by the following federal laws:
    • ESEA;
    • IDEA;
    • The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act;
    • Perkins; and
    • The McKenzie Vento Homeless Act.
  • Determine specific criteria that can be used to evaluate the impact of potential ESS-ER funding uses.

MEDIUM-TERM ACTIONS

  • Publicize the availability of ESS-ER funding to eligible recipients.
  • Gather information about eligible ESS-ER funding uses and evaluate their impact.
  • Allocate ESS-ER funding.

LONG-TERM ACTIONS

  • Provide continued support and oversight of ESS-ER funding recipients.

Institutions of Higher Education

Program: Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund

The following map shows estimates for the amount of aggregate HEER funding that will be received by IHEs in each state. The U.S. Department of Education has released information for IHEs on the 50 percent of HEER funding that schools must spend on emergency grant aid for students. The information includes funding estimates for individual IHEs, a Certificate of Agreement that IHEs can sign to receive funding, and guidance on options for disbursing the funding to students.

Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund:

Emergency Grant Aid for Students Funding to Offset Costs from Moving to Online Instruction
SHORT-TERM ACTIONS
Does your IHE already have a system for some sort of emergency grant aid program, either campus-specific or statewide?
  • Work across departments to quantify and catalog expenditures associated with moving courses to online learning platforms.
  • Survey staff and faculty to determine the areas of greatest outstanding need with regards to moving to online instruction – and the estimated costs for taking action.
  • Develop decision making guidance on how to allocate stimulus funding based on needs associated with moving to online instruction.
Yes

No

Prepare to modify that system as needed so that it can be used to disburse stimulus funds.
  • Work with financial aid staff to determine the most efficient way of disbursing emergency aid grants. This will include developing:
  • An eligibility framework;
  • Guidelines for allocating scarce resources among applicants; and
  • An application process for students.

MEDIUM-TERM ACTIONS

  • Promote the emergency aid grant program among students through multiple platforms.
  • Collect and review incoming applications.
  • Use the eligibility framework and decision making guidance to allocate awards.
  • Use the decision making guidance to allocate stimulus funding to offset costs associated with moving to online instruction.

LONG-TERM ACTIONS

  • Provide continued support to grant aid recipients.
  • Share information about community resources with applicants who did not receive funding.
  • Develop recommendations to ease any future changes to the delivery of instruction and minimize associated costs.

 

 

 

 

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