New federal aid to benefit state and local public education
On March 11, President Joe Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The measure provides substantial resources for Massachusetts schools, colleges and universities. It also provides funding for individuals, for other targeted priorities, and for state and local governments.
Preliminary information is now emerging on the education funding itself and on the aid to state and local governments that can also be used to support public education. The following are some important points:
- This funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund – known as ESSER III – will provide an estimated $1,647,115,000 for elementary and secondary schools in Massachusetts. The funds will be received in the next few months and can be used into FY2024. Rough estimates of the amounts likely to be available for each school district, along with amounts from previous federal legislation, are available here.
- This funding for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund – known as HEERF III -- will provide an estimated $438,512,747 for community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts system. About half of the funding is required to be used for grants to students. The funds will be received in the next few months and can be used into FY2024. Estimated campus-by-campus allocations and amounts from previous federal legislation can be found here.
- In addition to the funding specifically targeted for education, our state government will receive about $4.5 billion, and local governments will receive about $3.4 billion. Those funds can also be used to support the education of students in elementary and secondary schools and our institutions of public higher education. The local funds will be divided between 2021 and 2022 and be available for use through 2024. Go here for a description of the allowable uses for these funds. The Massachusetts Municipal Association has estimated city and town allocations, including amounts that flow through counties.