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Related Topic: Fiscal

More Federal Funds in the Pipeline

During the pandemic, Congress established the $279 billion Education Stabilization Fund to support K-12 and higher education systems across three separate pieces of legislation The stabilization fund includes:

  • The $189.5 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund provides flexible relief aid to states and schools to respond to the effects of the pandemic. States can set aside up to 10% of ESSER funding for statewide use. Local school districts have spending authority over 90% of ESSER funding and have broad discretion over how the funds are distributed and spent in schools. ESSER funds must be spent by January 2025.
  • The $76 billion Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provides relief to nearly every higher education institution in the country. At least 50% of these funds must be distributed as emergency aid to students, which can fund anything under a student’s cost of attendance, including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. The remaining 50% can be used to defray the impact of lost revenue or expenses required to respond to the pandemic, among other uses.

States also invested in education through the CRF. According to NCSL’s analysis, 38 states allocated $9.8 billion in relief funds for education, including $6.6 billion for K-12 education and $2.5 billion for higher education.

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