This week the on behalf of the Education & Workforce Committee, governors from around the United States urged the U.S. Department of Education to disburse funds to states and territories from the Education Stabilization Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act, P.L. 116-136). In addition to the ask, they also urged for maximum flexibility for states so that they may determine how to best address the needs of each community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Three funding streams created by Congress under the Education Stabilization Fund: the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The funds (more than $30 billion in funding) were created to provide flexible, immediate resources to communities, schools, institutions and students as they respond to the significant disruption caused by COVID-19.

The letter urged the time to establish both structures to evaluate student needs and processes to rapidly deploy these funds.For all three education funding streams under the Education Stabilization Fund, NGA asked that the Department provide:

• all Education Stabilization Fund funding to governors, states and higher education institutions within the next two weeks;
• governors, states and institutions with the greatest amount of flexibility reflected in the statutory language of the CARES Act;
• flexibility for all three funds that permit governors, states and institutions the ability to reimburse costs already incurred during the COVID-19 crisis by states, local governments and higher education entities;
• a streamlined process for Maintenance of Effort waivers, fund disbursement and clear guidance that adheres to the flexible statutory language of the CARES Act; and
• opportunities for governors and state officials to play an active role in the development of the Department’s guidance and processes.

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