Even before President Joe Biden was sworn into office, he unveiled an aggressive legislative plan to provide federal support to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan includes $170 billion for K-12 and higher education so that schools have the resources to meet students’ needs and safely reopen for in-person instruction.
This is the new administration’s top priority.
Here’s what it means for education:
• Provides $130 billion to help schools safely reopen and meet students’ academic, mental health, and social and emotional needs. These funds can be used to reduce class sizes and improve social distancing; improve ventilation; hire more janitors and implement mitigation measures; provide personal protective equipment; ensure every school has access to a nurse; hire counselors; and provide summer school or other supports for students to make up lost learning time.
• Reserves a portion of this funding for a COVID-19 Educational Equity Challenge Grant to advance equity- and evidence-based policies and give all students the support they need to succeed.
• Provides $35 billion to expand the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to ensure colleges have resources to implement public health protocols, execute distance-learning plans, and provide up to $1,700 in per-student financial assistance.
• Provides $5 billion for a Hardest Hit Education Fund for governors to use to support the learning needs of students significantly impacted by COVID-19 in K-12, higher education, or early childhood education programs.