Information for Schools on ARPA Funding
What is ARPA?
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021. This $1.9 trillion, third round of pandemic funding provides $170 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund. It includes $122.8 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER lll), and $2.75 billion for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS ll). Additionally, $3 billion was allocated for special education.
ARPA includes $122.8 billion for ESSER III and $2.75 billion for EANS II.
What is ESSER lll, and How do Funds Flow?
- ESSER lll allocates monies to State Education Agencies (SEAs), who then sub-grant to Local Education Agencies (LEAs/ Districts). ESSER lll refers to the allocation of $122.8 billion from ARPA.
- ESSER lll provides the US Department of Education with $800 million targeted for homeless children and youth.
- SEAs are awarded ESSER lll funding in the same proportion as they receive their Title l, Part A funds, and then disbursed to the LEA based on the proportion of Title 1, Part A funds each LEA received in the most recent fiscal year. Note: Although, ESSER funds are distributed to LEAs based on Title I, Part A allocations, they are not considered Title l funds and are not subject to Title l restrictions.
- The SEA can retain 10% of these ESSER lll funds for state education department efforts. However, ARPA directs that a portion of state-level funds be reserved for three activities and interventions:
- 5% for the implementation of evidence-based interventions aimed specifically at addressing learning loss, such as summer learning/summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs.
- 1% for the implementation for evidence-based summer enrichment programs.
- 1% for evidence-based comprehensive afterschool programs.
- 2.5% to be spent at the discretion of the state
- 0.5% for administration of ESSER lll
Availability of ESSER lll Funds
- The SEA must allocate ESSER lll funds to LEAs not later than 60 days after the SEA receives the funds.
- ARPA guidelines govern the flow of ESSER lll funds to the SEA and from the SEA to the LEA. These guidelines include the disbursement to SEAs of two-thirds of the ESSER lll funds immediately, with the remaining 1/3 of funds to be made after SEAs submit and receive approval of their ESSER implementation plans.
- Any funds not awarded by the SEA within one-year of receipt must be returned for reallocation.
- The LEA must track use of ESSER lll funds separately.
- SEAs and LEAs must “obligate” funds by September 30, 2024, this includes the 12-month Tydings Amendment period. Funds are considered obligated on the date of a binding written commitment for services or work, even if services are delivered later.
- To view the revised state allocation of ESSER lll funds, download ARPA ESSER lll State Allocation Table here.
How can ESSER lll Funds be Used?
- ESSER lll funds may be used for pre-award costs dating back to March 13, 2020.
- Under ARPA, use of ESSER lll funds is similar in many respects to CARES and CRRSA.
- The exception is that an LEA that receives ESSER lll funds must reserve 20% of the funds to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs or extended school year programs and ensure that such interventions address the impact of the coronavirus on student subgroups.
- The remaining funds can be used for:
- Any activity authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
- Any activity authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Any activity authorized by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.
- Any activity authorized by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.
- Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with State, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
- Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
- Planning for, coordinating and implementing activities during long-term closures, including providing meals to eligible students, providing technology for online learning to all students, providing guidance for carrying out requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and children with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidenced-based full-service community schools.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, children with disabilities English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, of the LEA, including by—
- administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction;
- implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students;
- providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment; and
- tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
- School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health services.
- Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
- Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.
For additional information, the DOE recently released (August 2021) a new report Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time. Download report.
What is EANS II (sometimes referred to as ARPA EANS)?
Under ARPA, Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) received a second round of funding at $2.75 billion.
- The EANS Program awards formula grants to Governors (with approved Certifications and Agreement) for the purpose of providing services or assistance to eligible non-public schools, that enroll a significant percentage of low-income students and are most impacted by the coronavirus.
EANS ll: Availability of Funds
- The Department of Education posted final requirements on ARPA ESSER in July 2021. Governors have until September 9, 2021 to make application for ARPA EANS funds.
- An SEA is required to make applications available to non-public schools within 30 days of receiving funds, and to approve or deny the application within 30 days of receiving the application.
- An SEA must obligate all funds for services or assistance to non-public schools no later than six months after receiving the funds.
- Any funds not obligated by the SEA must be returned to the Governor for reallocation.
- ARPA includes a new requirement for SEAs to “provide services or assistance to non-public schools that enroll a significant percentage of low-income students and are most impacted by the [COVID-19] emergency.”
How can EANS ll Funds be Used?
- Under ARPA, and like CRRSA, non-public schools under the EANS program can use services or assistance to address educational disruptions from COVID-19 for:
- supplies to sanitize, disinfect, and clean school facilities,
- personal protective equipment (PPE),
- improving ventilation systems, including windows or portable air purification systems to ensure healthy air in the non-public school,
- training and professional development for staff on sanitation, the use of PPE, and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases,
- physical barriers to facilitate social distancing,
- other materials, supplies, or equipment to implement public health protocols, including guidelines and recommendations from the CDC for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff during the qualifying emergency,
- expanding capacity to administer coronavirus testing, to conduct surveillance and contact tracing activities, and to support other activities,
- educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment) to assist students, educators, and other staff with remote or hybrid learning,
- redeveloping instructional plans, including curriculum development, for remote learning, hybrid learning, or to address learning loss,
- leasing of sites or spaces to ensure safe social distancing to implement public health protocols, including guidelines and recommendations from the CDC,
- reasonable transportation costs,
- initiating and maintaining education and support services or assistance for remote learning, hybrid learning, or to address learning loss, or
- reimbursement for the expenses of any services or assistance described above that a nonpublic school incurred on or after March 13, 2020, except for services or assistance under (C) (other than portable air purification systems, which are an allowable reimbursable expense), (D), (I), and (L)) or any expenses reimbursed through a loan guaranteed under the Paycheck Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 636(a)) as of December 27, 2020.