What is ESSER?

Since March of 2020, Congress has passed three stimulus relief packages totaling $5 trillion in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within each of these bills, nearly $190 billion has been allocated to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. These funds are awarded to state educational agencies in order to provide local educational agencies with the funds necessary to address the impact of COVID-19. Distribution of these funds are based on Title I.



On March, 27 2020, Congress passes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). The $2.2 trillion stimulus bill included $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund, which created four grant programs centering around education: Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grants; Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund; Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund; and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.



On December 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) was passed into law. The $900 billion relief package included an additional $81.9 billion to the Education Stabilization Fund.



On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The $1.9 trillion relief package directly allocated an additional $122 billion to the ARP ESSER Fund. The ARP requires that districts use 20% of ARP ESSER funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time.

To track funds awarded by your state, please visit the Education Stabilization Fund

Allowable Uses of ESSER Funds

These emergency resources are available for a wide range of activities to address the individual needs as schools continue to respond and recover from the pandemic. Some uses of these funds may be focused on health and safety -- such as improving facilities and prevention strategies. Additional uses may be focused on addressing the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students.

  • Address the needs of individual schools
  • Purchasing educational technology that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors
  • Addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time by administering and using high-quality assessments through differentiating instruction, implementing evidence-based activities to meet the needs of all learners, providing information and assistance to parents and families, and tracking student attendance and improving engagement in distance education
  • Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care
  • Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures, including providing technology for online learning to all students
  • Summer learning and enrichment and supplemental after-school programs including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months

For a complete list of allowable uses, click here.

Big Ideas Learning is Aligned with ESSER Funding

As districts begin to assess the impact of lost instructional time due to COVID-19 we are here to help provide you with the solutions necessary to accelerate student learning.

Below you will find how our solutions that align with the funding guidelines of ESSER.

Frequently Asked Questions

School districts (LEAs) must apply to the relevant SEA. Every SEA must use at least 90 percent of its ESSER Fund grant to make subgrants to LEAs by formula based on FY 2019 Title I, Part A allocations.

No. The ESSER Fund is a separate Federal program. ESSER Funds must be awarded and tracked separately from Title I, Part A Funds.

Yes. SEAs must award ESSER formula subgrants to LEAs within one year of receiving the State allocation. An SEA must also make awards with its SEA Reserve within one year of receiving the state allocation. Any funds that the SEA fails to award by the one-year deadline must be returned to the Department for reallocation consistent with the CARES act.

ESSER Funds are available for obligation by LEAs and other subrecipients through September 30, 2022, which includes the Tydings period (General Education Provisions Act §421(b)(1)).

Yes. An LEA must file a local application with the SEA in order to receive an ESSER formula subgrant. For information about what an SEA must include in its local application for an ESSER formula subgrant, please refer to the ESSER Fund Certification and Agreement.

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