Three Big Bills, Three Ways to Access Educational Funding

Congressional Funding for America’s Schools What the CARES, CRRSA, and ARP Acts Mean for Districts and Unique Learners


CARES, CRRSA, and ARP: Big Legislation, Big Opportunities

To address the economic fallout from the pandemic, the U.S. Congress passed three related legislative acts over the past year:

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March of 2020
  • The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act in December of 2020
  • The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act in March of 2021

Together, these three legislative acts comprise not only a gigantic relief effort to stabilize the country, but also a historic investment into our nation’s schools, with billions of dollars earmarked for education.

This eBook is a reference for school leadership teams as you consider the funds available to your local educational agency and make decisions about applying for grants.

A Detailed Breakdown to Help You Understand the Available Support

To provide you with a clear idea of how much funding is available, we break down the specific funding both by state and type of funding. These categories include:

  • The Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) Discretionary Grants
  • The Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEER Fund)
  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund)
  • The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER Fund)

In addition to indexing by state and funding type, we present a detailed list of “allowable activities” for CARES and ESSER I, II, and III, as well as special funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Asking the Big Questions

Once you realize the scope and scale of available help, it’s time to consider the fundamentals: What now? What should your district prioritize? How should school principals think about the new funding available to them? What do we know is effective for accelerating learning for students with gaps? What technological innovations will best meet the unique learning needs of students with disabilities? What can bridge the digital divide within the special education community? Which funding sources should your district pursue to support your students with disabilities?

By putting all of this information in an easily shared eBook, we hope to help decision-makers for local educational agencies navigate the process of planning and applying for some of the assistance that has been made available. The U.S. Congress has created an unprecedented, once-in-a-generation surge in educational funding, and our guide will provide real, tangible assistance in securing funds for your district.