The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be allocating more than $50 million in federal CARES Act funds to benefit education in elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities. The funding will improve early literacy, expand remote learning opportunities, and cover costs associated with reopening certain schools and colleges, as well as boost financial aid for college students in greater need of financial assistance.
As part of the federal CARES Act, states were granted a share of discretionary dollars to ensure continuity of educational services during the COVID-19 crisis. Previously, the Commonwealth has allocated nearly $1 billion in federal funds to help municipalities, school districts, and colleges and universities in Massachusetts address COVID-related expenses.
- The funding announced today will support the following initiatives:
- Up to $10 million for early literacy programs that provide extra help to students through Grade 3, aimed at remediating learning loss children may have experienced since schools closed in March, as well as accelerate reading skills of children in high-need communities.
- Up to $7.5 million to expand access to online courses, including advanced placement, early college or dual enrollment courses.
- Up to $25 million to cover COVID-related expenses associated with reopening colleges and universities, as well as certain non-public elementary and secondary schools. Funds will be allocated based on the number and percentage of low-income students these schools enroll.
- Up to $2.5 million in financial aid for low-income college students attending public colleges to ensure they can cover emergency expenses to continue their education.
- Up to $5 million set aside in an emergency reserve fund.
This funding builds on the nearly $1 billion previously allocated to schools, childcare programs, colleges, and universities.
In June, the Commonwealth allocated approximately $200 million from the Commonwealth’s federal Coronavirus Relief Fund for costs related to reopening public schools.
- Other funding sources to support school reopening include:
- $500 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund previously allocated to cities and towns.
- $194 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grants.
- $45 million to support the reopening of childcare programs serving low-income children.
- $19 million for special education residential schools.
- $25 million in federal funds for a matching grant program to help school districts and charter schools close technology gaps that inhibit remote learning.