Education Marketing Strategy

CB&A Client Briefing: COVID-19 Education Funding Overview

By April 9, 2021November 29th, 2022No Comments

Education funding and grant highlights for education marketers

First CARES, then CAA, and now ARPA. Taken together, these relief packages represent hundreds of billions of education funding dollars for K-12 schools and higher education institutions. How will this money be appropriated, by when must schools spend it and how can education leaders use it?

In a briefing exclusively for CB&A clients, Dana Satterwhite, Senior Alliance Director at Learn, Design, Apply Inc., answered these questions and more to help education marketing and sales leaders understand opportunities for tapping into federal education funding.

Here’s a few highlights from the briefing.

Types of education funding

Education funding most often comes in the form of…

  • Allocations: Funds that are distributed by federal government to K-12 schools and higher education institutions.
    • Examples: CAA ESSERF II (K-12), CAA GEERF II (Government office allocations), CAA HEERF II (Higher Education)
  • Discretionary: There are a variety of federal, state and foundation grants that help to pay for or offset the cost of technologies.
    • Examples: Literacy programs, rural development, school safety, STEM initiatives, student primary or mental health service delivery, workforce development

“Grants follow problems, as we’ve seen with the COVID-19 crisis. Funding is always designed to help address challenges and solve problems.” –Dana Satterwhite, Senior Alliance Director at Learn, Design, Apply Inc.

According to Satterwhite, education marketers must tie the technology, solution or service their company offers back to how it is actually going to help address a problem – this is especially important for the application process.

“Most importantly, one size does not fit all, there’s never going to be that magical grant or funding program that solves all of your problems in one fell swoop. Rather, educators are going to leverage different funding opportunities.” – Dana Satterwhite, Senior Alliance Director at Learn, Design, Apply Inc.

COVID-19 education funding timeline

First round of education funding: CARES Act
  • $30.7 billion set aside under an Education Stabilization Fund for states, including $13.2 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund and $14 billion for Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Another $3 billion went to the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund, which governors can use for “significantly impacted” school districts or higher education institutions.

“I like to refer to this as everybody throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. There was an urgent need to address the crisis we were all facing, to shift immediately to online, remote learning and try as best as we can to maintain communication and some continuity of operations.” ­–Dana Satterwhite, Senior Alliance Director at Learn, Design, Apply Inc.

Second round of education funding: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
  • $82 billion slated specifically for education
  • This funding was split into three specific buckets, including:
    • ESSER II (K-12): $54 billion
    • HEER II (Higher Ed): $23 billion
    • GEER (K-12 & Higher Ed): $4 billion

Overview of ESSER II

The government has given basic guidance on what ESSER II funding is designed to be spent on, but the power is in the hands of education institutions. When applying for funds, they’ll need to make the case for how the solution(s) they’re investing in will relate back to their COVID-19 response strategy.

  • Deadline to spend ESSER II: September 30, 2023
  • ESSER 1 funds should be fully expended before districts begin spending ESSER II dollars.
  • Applicants must provide detailed accounting that includes how the State is using funds to measure and address learning loss among students disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and school closures.

“Education marketers can help talk their clients through why a purchase is needed in response to the pandemic – even if it’s something they’ve purchased in the past or they’re expanding capacity due to COVID-19.” –Dana Satterwhite, Senior Alliance Director at Learn, Design, Apply Inc.

Overview of HEERF II

  • Exact funding amounts and timelines are pending, but it’s likely that these funds will be available and distributed before K-12.
  • 50 percent of funds must be used for student-related services, and the other 50 percent can be used for things like changing the instructional delivery model and continuity of operations.

Overview of GEER

The GEER funding outlined in the Appropriations Act is divided into two streams:

$1,303,060,000 is allocated to states with funds meant to provide emergency grants to…
  • (K-12) Local education agencies the state education agency deems most significantly impacted by the pandemic.
  • (Higher Ed) Higher education institutions the governor determines have been most significantly impacted by the pandemic.
  • Any other institution of higher education, local education agency or education-related entity the governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services to students for activities authorized under general education programs; providing childcare and early childhood education, social and emotional support services; and protecting education jobs.
$2,750,000,000 is included for emergency assistance for non-public schools
  • The governor in each state administers this funding.
  • Allowable uses of the funds for non-public schools include personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, ventilation improvements, physical barriers to facilitate social distancing. For more details, click here.

American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan provides $170.3 billion for education agencies, including $125.8 billion for K-12 and $39.6 for higher education. The goal of this education funding is to support the reopening of K-8 schools and sustain remote/hybrid programs.

  • This education funding supports measures to help reduce class size and help students and teachers socially distance (e.g., hybrid learning) and ensure every school has access to a school nurse.
  • $70 billion is set aside for expanding COVID-19 vaccine distribution, COVID testing and workforce efforts with focus on schools.

Even more education funding highlights

For more education funding opportunities, check out this list from Learn, Design, Apply Inc., and consider the following:

If you liked this post, check out our 2021 Education Policy Primer for EdTech Execs.