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What are ESSER Funds and how much has been dispersed?

It has been a little over two and a half years since COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic. It has impacted every aspect of our lives and our children’s lives, especially those who are in school. Some students were able to experience school without a pandemic, while others had their first day of school online or were sent home in the spring of March 2020 to not return for the remainder of the semester. While we may have never anticipated the need to be prepared to respond to such a pandemic in our lifetime, The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds are provided to help safely reopen and sustain the same operation of schools and address the impact of COVID- 19 on the Nation’s students (, 2022).

Abbreviated as ESSER Funds, they were released in three parts: ESSER I, ESSER II, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP ESSER). 

  1. On March 27, 2020, Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the ESSER I Fund. The Department awarded these grants to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to provide Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds to address the impact of  COVID-19.
  1. On December 27, 2020, The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, 2021, was signed into law and provided an additional $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund. ESSER II Fund awards to SEAs are in the same proportion as each State receiving funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended, in the fiscal year 2020.
  1. ​​On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was signed into law. It was an unprecedented $1.9 trillion package of assistance measures, including $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund (, 2022).

For additional information about the ESSER Funds and how they may be used, take a look at the ESSER Funds FAQs from the U.S. Department of Education


Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (2022). ESSER I and II – 84.425D ARP ESSER – 84.425U.