Federal Stimulus Funds for Education

1/27/2021

Alternative Text

Relief Aid for Education

In 2020, Congress passed two stimulus bills that provided nearly $113 billion as relief aid for education through the Education Stabilization Fund.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed on March 27, 2020, provided $30.75 billion through the Education Stabilization Fund, divided across three separate funds:

  • $13.5 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief (ESSER) Fund.
  • $3 billion to the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
  • $14.25 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund.

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), passed on Dec. 27, 2020, provided an additional $82 billion through the Education Stabilization Fund, divided across three separate funds:

  • $54.3 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief (ESSER) Fund.
  • $4.1 billion to the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
    • $2.75 billion is reserved for relief for private schools.
  • $22.7 billion to the Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER) Fund.

NCSL is tracking how states are using the Education Stabilization Fund and other stimulus funds to address education challenges.

To date, governors have obligated at least 93.1% of available CARES’ GEER funds, and nearly every state education agency has announced plans for the allowable state set-aside in the ESSER. Among the GEER Funds, at least 46 states have obligated $1.7 billion for K-12 education, while 34 states have obligated $729 million to higher education.

In addition to the Education Stabilization Fund, governors have worked with state legislatures to allocate $11.3 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to address statewide early childhood, K-12 and higher education needs.

Across these funding streams, nearly $1.3 billion in 39 states has been dedicated exclusively to supporting online learning, while an additional $388 million provides districts the option to address the digital divide.

NCSL will continue to track how states are spending additional stimulus funds provided by the CRRSA.

How States Are Using the Funds

  • Ensuring schools have supplies and equipment to safely reopen.
  • Closing the digital divide.
  • Addressing learning loss.
  • Supporting early childhood education.
  • Providing professional development for educators.
  • Incorporating social-emotional learning.

Resources