Applying for federal relief

Education Department opens application process for Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund
By: | April 15, 2020
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The U.S. Education Department released on April 14 an application package for the $2.95 billion Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, authorized by Section 18002 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136.

Along with the application and certification, ED released a state-by-state allocation table and a letter explaining the application process.

“This extraordinarily flexible emergency block grant empowers you to decide how best to meet the current needs of students, schools (including charter schools and non-public schools), postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations in your State so that faculty continue to teach and students continue to learn,” wrote Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Letter to Governors. 120 LRP 12828 (EDU 04/14/20).

“My Department will not micromanage how you spend these funds, but I encourage you, at a time when so many school boards, superintendents, and institutions of higher education have had to close their brick and mortar campuses for the balance of the school year, to focus these resources on ensuring that all students continue to learn most likely through some form of remote learning,” DeVos added.

States that electronically sign and submit the certification and agreement to GEERF@ed.gov can expect ED to obligate the funds within three business days. States must submit quarterly reports on the use of funds, containing information the Education secretary may “reasonably require in the future,” and may be required to provide additional reporting on which entities received the GEER funds; how the state educational agency, local educational agencies, or institutions of higher education spent the funds; the number of public and nonpublic schools that received services or funds; and which internal controls the state has in place to ensure funds were used allowably.

DeVos wrote that the department will provide more FAQs about the GEER fund in coming days, and information on other CARES Act relief funds, including the $13.23 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, will come “in the very near future.”

Allowable uses of GEER funds

SEAs may use grants awarded under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund to:

  • Provide emergency support to LEAs that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 to continue to provide educational services to students as well as support the LEA’s ongoing functionality. CARES Act Section 18002(c)(1).
  • Provide emergency support to institutions of higher education that provide services to students significantly affected by COVID-19. CARES Act Section 18002(c)(2).
  • Provide support to any education-related entities deemed essential for carrying out emergency educational services to students for activities that are authorized under the ESEA, IDEA, Carl D. Perkins
  • Career and Technical Education Act, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, and McKinney-Vento. CARES Act Section 18002(c)(3).
  • Provide support to any education-related entities deemed essential for providing child care and early childhood education, social and emotional support, and the protection of education-related jobs. CARES Act Section 18002(c)(3).

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for ESEA Now, a DA sister publication.

For more information on the documents listed above, visit the website Special Ed Connection, a DA sister publication available by subscription.