UPDATED: June 4, 2021
On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on ESSER and GEER funds.
This document helps educators justify how and why they can access these funds for their program. It is important to note that for the first time, the DOE states that ESSER funds can be used to implement or expand music programs, which includes purchasing instruments.
UPDATE FROM May 5, 2021: The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed into law on March 11, 2021. This COVID relief bill extends or modifies several provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in March 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) that was passed in December 2020.
The new relief bill authorizes $168 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund. The bulk of that funding falls under Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III), which will receive an additional $122 billion on top of the $54 billion (ESSER II) and $13 billion (ESSER I) that was allocated in the previous acts.
Below is the COVID relief bill update to the CARES Act article. Please refer to Funding Resource Roundup and How to Get Funds from ESSA’s Title IV-A Grant Program for information about federal funds.
UPDATE FROM February 25, 2021: The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. This new COVID relief bill extends or modifies several provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in March 2020.
The new relief bill authorizes $81.9 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund. The bulk of that funding falls under Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II to differentiate it from the original K-12 funding under the CARES Act), which will receive an additional $54 billion on top of the $13 billion that was allocated under ESSER in March 2020.
ESSER II funds cannot be used until original ESSER funds are spent. ESSER funds are still available — check out this dashboard of ESSER funding that has been allocated and spent by each state and territory.
ESSER II funds must be spent within one year of allocation. All ESSER II funds must be spent by Sept. 30, 2023.
Below is the original article about the CARES Act.
We are living in challenging and unprecedented times, requiring intervention from the federal government. On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that $30.75 billion of the CARES Act will be distributed through four grant programs to address the impact of COVID-19 on students, K-12 schools and higher education institutions. This allotment is new grant money and not part of Title IV-A or other grant programs.
Only one of the CARES Act grant programs requires an application — due by July 1, 2020 — through the federal government. The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) provides $13.5 billion in emergency relief funds to support continued learning for K-12 students. State education agencies (SEAs) must apply for ESSER grant money by July 1, 2020 — time is of the essence! — and local education agencies (LEAs) will have one year to use the money. See below for information about how ESSER Funds can be used and how to get started on the application.
The other three grant programs are distributed to states or directly to higher education institutions. 1) The Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grants (ESF) provides a portion of $307 million in grants to states most affected by coronavirus to address specific educational needs of students, their parents and teachers. 2) The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEERF) includes $3 billion of discretionary funds distributed to state governments to support K-12 and higher education needs related to COVID-19. 3) The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provides $14 billion of funding directly to higher education institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to students whose lives have been disrupted.
States have been informed of the funds they will receive. Here is the state-by-state breakdown of the GEERF, HEERF and ESSER Funds Allocations.
ESSER Funds can be used for the following:
For a detailed list on how ESSER Funds can be used, refer to pages 7 and 8 of the Certification and Agreement for Funding under the Education Stabilization Fund Program.
Please be aware that this information changes daily. Refer to the U.S. Department of Education website for current information.
Music Education Policy During a Global Pandemic Webinar by the NAfME Public Policy Team (webinar slides are available here)