American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Guidance Documents and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Use of Funds

Updated on December 7, 2022, this Use of Funds FAQ document is intended to answer Frequently Asked Questions about how funding under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, including the American Rescue Plan ESSER (ARP ESSER) program, and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund may be used in response to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on students in pre-K–12 education.

In addition:

  • Additional HVAC Use of Funds slides, shared during the June 17, 2021, office hour, are available here.
  • FAQs related to use of funds for COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing can be found here.
  • Additional FAQs related to using American Rescue Plan and other pandemic relief funds to provide incentives to students to get the COVID-19 vaccination can be found here and to provide incentives to parents or guardians whose children participate in school-based COVID-19 screening testing can be found here.
  • FAQs related to use funds for student transportation, including to address the current regional and national challenges with hiring and retaining a sufficient number of school bus drivers, can be found here.
  • AmeriCorps’ guide “Leveraging National Service in Your Schools: A Superintendent’s/Principal’s Toolkit to Utilizing National Service Resources” can be found here.
  • Additional guidance on using ESSER and GEER funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Maintenance of Effort 

The Department released initial maintenance of effort (MOE) guidance on April 21, 2021, providing information on the MOE requirements under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. This maintenance of effort (MOE) guidance document was updated on February 4, 2022. Consistent with a final rule issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Department is allowing States to include both Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) awarded under the CARES Act and Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF) awarded under the ARP Act that are spent on elementary and secondary education or higher education, as applicable, for the purpose of determining State support for education under the maintenance of effort requirements.

Released on May 5, 2021, the MOE Appendix B Template is available for State internal use.

A list of MOE waiver requests the Department has received is available here. 

Maintenance of Equity 

Section 2004 of the ARP Act includes new maintenance of equity (MOEquity) provisions that are a condition for SEAs and LEAs to receive funds under ARP ESSER.  On June 9, 2021, the Department released MOEquity guidance, which the Department updated on December 29, 2021. The updated guidance, State MOEquity submissions, and other resources are available here. Slides from the August 12, 2021 MOEquity Office Hours are available here.

Preventing and Responding to Crime and Promoting Public Safety

Released on June 17, this guidance on How American Rescue Plan Funds Can Prevent and Respond to Crime and Promote Public Safety describes how ARP ESSER and other ESSER and GEER funds may be used to prevent and respond to violence and to increase public safety this summer and beyond.

Supporting Full-Service Community Schools and Related Strategies

Full-service community schools collaborate with families, students, educators, and community-based organizations to leverage community resources to address student and families’ unmet needs. A community school strategy supports student success by reducing the barriers to learning students face.  The attached “Frequently Asked Questions (English or Español)” guide was designed to support state and local efforts to use ARP ESSER funds and other ESSER funds to advance or start an evidence-based community school strategy.

This resource identifies elements of effective community schools, reviews the evidence that the community schools strategy supports improved student outcomes, offers specific potential uses of ARP funds to support elements of the community school strategy, and points to examples of  state-level policies.

Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time

Released on August 31, 2021, this guidance on Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time shares how ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds provide an opportunity to make investments that respond to the urgent needs of students in ways that address gaps in educational opportunity and build local capacity to sustain meaningful and effective teaching and learning.

Supporting School Districts in Timely Investment of American Rescue Plan Act Funds

Released on September 2, 2021, the following factsheet provides clarity on how LEAs can utilize American Rescue Plan funds to support the safe reopening of school for in-person instruction.

Office of Inspector General (OIG): Protecting Against Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

OIG presented to grantees on February 3, 2022, to provide guidance on protecting COVID-19 response funds from fraud, waste, and abuse. The presentation can be found here. A framework for managing fraud risks in federal programs can be found here, with an additional factsheet available here.

Monitoring Update and Quarterly Reviews

On February 23, 2022, the Department hosted a webinar: ARP ESSER Monitoring Update and Quarterly Reviews. The presentation presented an overview of current monitoring efforts and timelines & topics for 2022 quarterly reviews.

Letters to States on Protecting the Health and Safety of K-12 Students

ARP ESSER Implementation Technical Assistance

On September 2, 2021, the Department hosted a webinar: Using COVID-Relief Funds for Facility Upgrades, Renovations, and Construction.  In addition to Departmental guidance on uses of funds for construction, renovations and upgrades, the webinar included speakers and resources related to indoor air quality from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Maine Department of Education and Salt Lake City School District.

ARP ESSER Technical Assistance Records