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COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311

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Education

Can municipalities use ARP funds to fund educational programs (e.g., Pre-K classrooms or gun violence prevention programs)?

According to guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”), the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARP”) can be used to fund educational programs with the goal of addressing the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students within certain parameters.

Treasury’s CSLFRF Final Rule notes that all communities are eligible and would be supported in the development of a comprehensive approach to address violence.[1] The Final Rule’s guidance in addressing crime reduction includes sexual assault, human trafficking, domestic and gun violence as enumerated eligible uses. Eligible uses for violence intervention programs include “funding more intervention workers, increasing their pay, providing training and professional development for intervention workers, and hiring and training workers to administer the programs.”[2]

Regarding funding for educational services (including Pre-K classrooms), CSLFRF funds can be used to pay for government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue due to the COVID–19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency.[3] In essence, the amount a municipality is able to claim as a revenue loss due to the pandemic can be used for the provision of government services, including costs for “school or educational services.” [4]

In addition to the lost revenue provision discussed above, Treasury confirms that certain types of educational services are eligible uses within the context of a Qualified Census Tract (“QCT”). The Final Rule identifies “early learning services” and other education services as enumerated eligible uses in disproportionately impacted communities to address educational disparities.[5]

Treasury is maintaining these enumerated eligible uses in the final rule, which are now organized under the heading of “services to address educational disparities. Treasury reiterates that these uses include addressing educational disparities exacerbated by COVID-19, including but not limited to: increasing resources for high-poverty school districts, educational services like tutoring or afterschool programs, summer education and enrichment programs, and supports for students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs.[6]

For more information on eligible uses of CSLFRF pertaining to higher education, see the following Bloomberg Federal Assistance e311 Q&A:

Is assistance with community college, college tuition or other higher education challenges an eligible use of ARP funds?

It should be noted that additional information may be provided when Treasury issues new Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) specific to the Final Rule.[7] In addition, Treasury encourages municipalities to consider the guidance issued in the Statement Regarding Compliance with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Final Rule.[8]

Last Updated: February 16, 2022

[1] Treas. Reg. 31 CFR 35 at 71, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Final-Rule.pdf.

[2] Id.

[3] Id., at 233.

[4] Id., at 260.

[5] Id., at 137-138.

[6] Id., at 138-139.

[7] Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, Interim Final Rule Frequently Asked Questions, FAQ Introduction (as of January 2022), at 1, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRPFAQ.pdf.

[8] U.S. Department of the Treasury, Statement Regarding Compliance with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Interim Final Rule and Final Rule, available at: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/SLFRF-Compliance-Statement.pdf.