CARES Act: Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER)

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    Funder Type

    State Government

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    Department of Education (DoEd)


    The ESSER Fund provides State Education Agencies (SEAs), and their local educational agencies (LEAs), with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had - and continues to have - on elementary and secondary schools across the country. At a time when so many school boards and superintendents have closed campuses for the balance of the school year, ED urges SEAs and LEAs to think creatively and use these funds to facilitate new instructional delivery methods - focusing on investment in the technology infrastructure and professional development and training that will help all students continue to learn through some form of remote learning.

    Generally though, grant funds awarded under the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund may be used by Local Education Agencies for the following:

    1. Any activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965, including the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support, and Assistance Act (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) (‘‘IDEA''), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) (‘‘the Perkins Act''), or subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.).
    2. 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.
    3. Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
    4. 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.
    5. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
    6. Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
    7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
    8. Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including for how to provide meals to eligible students, how to provide technology for online learning to all students, how to provide guidance for carrying out requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
    9. 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 students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
    10. Providing mental health services and supports.
    11. Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after school programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
    12. 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.

    In late March 2023, the U.S. Department of Education approved seven states, in addition to the District of Columbia, to extend districts' ESSER I spending timeline until March 30, 2024. These states include: Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.


    History of Funding

    To review the Certification & Agreement documents, as well as the 60-day reports filed by SEAs, visit:

    An interactive map of funding spent can be found at

    Additional Information

    With funds not otherwise regranted to Local Education Agencies, a State may reserve not more than 1/2 of 1 percent for administrative costs and the remainder for emergency needs as determined by the state educational agency to address issues responding to coronavirus, which may be addressed through the use of grants or contracts.

    Funds under this program will remain available for obligation through September 30, 2022. However, an SEA must award funds received under this program to eligible entities (i.e., LEAs, or, in the case of the SEA reserve, recipients of grants or contracts) within one year of receipt of the funds by the SEA. Any funds that the SEA fails to award by the one-year deadline must be returned to ED for reallocation to other SEAs.

    An SEA must ensure that an LEA that receives an ESSER Fund subgrant provides equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools located within the LEA in the same manner as provided under section 1117 of the ESEA, as determined through timely and meaningful consultation with representatives of non-public schools. In providing services or assistance to students and teachers in non-public schools, the LEA or another public agency must maintain control of the funds, and title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with such funds must be in a public agency. Services for non-public school students and teachers must be provided by a public agency directly or through a contract with another public or private entity.


    Christopher Tate

    Christopher Tate
    400 Maryland Ave, SW room 3W229
    Washington, DC 20202
    (202) 453-6047

  • Eligibility Details

    State Education Agency are eligible to apply initially. It is expected that State Education Agencies will then redistribute or regrant awarded funds to Local Education Agencies within their jurisdiction.

    NOTE: A local educational agency receiving funds shall provide equitable services in the same manner as provided under section 1117 of the ESEA of 1965 to students and teachers in non-public schools, as determined in consultation with representatives of non-public schools. However, the control of funds for the services and assistance provided to a non-public school, and title to materials, equipment, and property purchased with such funds, shall be in a public agency, and a public agency shall administer such funds, materials, equipment, and property and shall provide such services (or may contract for the provision of such services with a public or private entity).

    Deadline Details

    In an effort to get these emergency funds out as quickly as possible, all that is required is the completion of a brief Certification and Agreement package, which can be digitally signed and submitted in PDF to the email address This document must be submitted no later than July 1, 2020.

    As part of the Certification and Agreement Package, SEAs must submit to ED the following information:

    • A completed cover sheet that includes the signature of the Chief State School Officer or an authorized representative
    • Programmatic, fiscal, and reporting assurances
    • Information on the uses of ESSER funds (featuring short answer prompts)
    • Other assurances and certifications

    Once the signed PDF has been submitted, ED will process the Certification and Agreement package and obligate funds within 3 business days. SEAs will be able to draw down these emergency funds using the Department's G5 system.

    LEAs should contact their SEA for steps on how to access these funds once they have been obligated to the state.

    This is a one-time emergency funding opportunity. Future deadlines are not anticipated.

    Award Details

    A total of $13,229,265,000 has been allocated for the Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Education Relief Fund.

    The amount of each grant shall be allocated to each State shall be based upon the calculation used to determine the proportion of funding that the State receives under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 in the most recent fiscal year.

    Further, each State shall regrant no less than 90% of the funds awarded to local educational agencies (including charter schools that are local educational agencies) in the State in proportion to the amount of funds such local educational agencies and charter schools that are local educational agencies received under part A of title I of the ESEA of 1965 in the most recent fiscal year.

    With the funds not subgranted to LEAs, the SEA may reserve up to an amount equal to ½ of 1 percent of the total allocation for administrative costs, and the remaining funds may be used for emergency needs as determined by the SEA to address issues responding to COVID-19. These emergency needs may be addressed through the use of grants or contracts.

    The total allocation for each state, the minimum amount each SEA must regrant to LEAs, and the maximum amount it is allowed to keep in reserve or use for Fund administration can be viewed at:

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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