The Intersection

How States are Using Federal Relief Dollars for K-12 Education

May 14, 2021


Multiple federal relief funding streams are being used to support K-12 education. The Hunt Institute combined tracking of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) State Reserves, Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds, and Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to provide an overall picture of how states are investing their relief dollars. Each of these three funding streams have been used by states to support K-12 education.

The map and table below are intended to be a resource to state leaders who are interested in exploring ways to invest their remaining education dollars. It provides an overview of specific categories of funding that The Hunt Institute created after reviewing state plans, reports, and other documentation. This resource does not include all ways that states have used federal relief dollars, but instead focuses specifically on the selected categories outlined in the map and table below.

By selecting one or multiple categories, you can see which states are spending their federal relief dollars on those education categories, as well as the funding stream they are using for those investments.

This resource will be continually updated as more state decisions are made – check back often for updates!

Description of Categories

Beyond Traditional Public Schools: Includes states that made funding available to non-public schools – either as part of a larger program or as a separate funding stream – as well as states that dedicated funding specifically to charter school grants or to juvenile justice or other facilities. [NOTE: While some states also provided equivalent funds to their residential schools, juvenile justice facilities, or tribal schools, these expenditures are based on state-specific structures and therefore not included in this map.]

Career & Technical Education (CTE): Includes pandemic-related supports specifically for CTE students or instructors, primarily addressing the more “hands on” nature of CTE coursework through support for safe in-person instruction or specialized software for remote learning.

Closing the Digital Divide: Includes expenditures on student or staff devices and on connectivity such as mobile wi-fi hot spots.

College Transition: Includes programs to help seniors transition successfully to higher education and dual enrollment or other early college opportunities. Funding may flow to institutions of higher education.

Community Partnerships & Child Care: Includes partnerships with other organizations for supervised care for students in virtual learning, child care for critical workers, after school services, and other community-based services and supports.

Data, Assessment, and Evaluation: Includes assessments, progress monitoring, personalized learning, longitudinal data system augmentation, and program evaluation.

Early Childhood: Includes expansion or additional funding for pre-K or other early education programs and supports for child care facilities.

Grants for Innovation: Includes competitive grant programs to LEAs to come up with innovative practices or programs to address the impact of the pandemic.

Internet Safety: While most states invested in technology supports, this category includes those states that expended funds to improve some element of cybersecurity.

Learning Loss: Includes strategies to mitigate learning loss and address learning gaps, such as summer programs, after school or tutoring programs, and training on specific interventions for at-risk populations.

Literacy: Includes literacy programs and supports such as training for teachers, literacy screeners or assessments, and curricula.

Remote Instruction: Includes expenditures on learning management systems, professional development on remote or blended instruction, and digital curricula.

Special Education and English Learners: Includes funding specifically dedicated to supporting students with disabilities and/or English language learners, or funding in which those groups are prioritized populations.

Teacher Recruitment & Diversity: Includes the expenditure of federal relief funds on existing or new programs in expand teacher recruitment or the diversity of the teaching profession.

Whole Child: Includes screening and training on social-emotional learning, as well as investments in additional physical or mental health supports.

[NOTE: While many states chose to use a portion of their education relief funds (primarily ESSER state reserves) for formula or competitive grants to LEAs, for state personnel, for charter schools or other non-LEA public schools that received little or no allocation from the 90 percent allocation to LEAs, and for PPE, sanitization, etc., these broad or short-term uses are not included in the map.]

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of Education, GEER Awards
U.S. Department of Education, ESSER Awards
U.S. Department of Education, Education Stabilization Fund
National Conference of State Legislatures, How Governors Have Spent CARES Education Funds
National Conference of State Legislatures, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Tracker
FutureEd, How Governors Are Using Their CARES Act Education Dollars

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