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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Analysis of Funding for Education, Children, and Families

Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
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The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes $123 billion to K-12 education through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and $39 billion for higher education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). 

What’s in the law? How can schools use the funding? And will it be enough to address the gaps that COVID-19 exposed and exacerbated? Despite variation in local context, in many places, ARPA will represent a windfall of funding for education.

This brief provides a look at the K-12 and higher education-related provisions of ARPA, as well as an overview of other ARPA provisions related to families and children, including childcare, food, housing, and income supports. Among the big-ticketed funding streams:

  • Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER): $123 billion
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF): $39 billion
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): $3 billion
  • Bureau of Indian Education: $850 million
  • Childcare Development Block Grant Program: $15 billion  
  • Childcare stabilization grants: $24 billion 
  • Head Start: $1 billion 

Download the brief or read it in the viewer below.