The American Rescue Plan (ARP) FAQ

Updated: Mar 19

There have been talks of the "next stimulus" since the passage of the CARES Act in March 2020. While there have been additional relief bills, none have really met the size of the moment. The ARP totals $1.9T, including $350B in direct aid to SLG and about $125B for education.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General

What is the American Rescue Plan?

Is the ARP the same as the CARES Act?

What can the funds be used for?

When will governments and schools receive their money?

How long do governments and schools have to spend their money?

Government Provisions

What's in the ARP for states & local government?

How much will each state receive?

How much will each county receive?

How much will each city receive?

Education Provisions

What's in the ARP for education?

What's in the ARP for E-Rate?

How much will each school receive?

How much will each university receive?

Other Provisions

Is there other money that can be used for IT?

How much will each State Library Administrative Agency receive?

More Information

More Information

What is the American Rescue Plan?

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a $1.9T piece of legislation passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Biden in March 2021. The bill's main purpose is to respond to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


The ARP is not one large sum of money. Instead, the ARP appropriates funding into several new and existing programs. COVID-19 affects many aspects of the economy. As such, the legislation aims to support many areas - reopening schools, providing aid to state and local governments, direct payments to individuals, extending unemployment benefits, promoting vaccine distribution, and more.

Is the ARP the same as the CARES Act?

The CARES Act of March 2020 was a similar, yet distinct and separate piece of legislation from the ARP. The ARP does appropriate more funding to funds established in the CARES Act and extends and builds upon other programs and provisions.

What's in the ARP for states & local government?

The ARP establishes the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Relief Recovery Funds administered by the US Treasury. These funds provide $350B in direct aid to states, territories, localities, and tribes.

States

  • $195.3B

  • Minimum $500M per state

  • Remaining $169B allocated based on unemployment metrics

Counties

  • $65.1B

Cities

  • Metropolitan (>50,000) - $45.6B

  • Other localities (<50,000) - $19.5B

What's in the ARP for education?

The ARP appropriates $170B for education. These funds are administered by the US Department of Education through states and Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) - $125.8B

  • Same fund established in the CARES Act

  • Funding flows through states based on Title 1 funding

  • Min. 90% distribution to Local Education Authorities (LEAs)

  • Max. 10% reservation for State Educational Agencies (SEAs)

  • Max. 1% for SEA Administration

  • Services allowable under established laws including ESSA, IDEA, Perkins, and CTE

  • Districts must use at least 20% of funding to address learning loss via the implementation of evidence-based interventions that respond to disparate impacts on student subgroups

  • At least 5% must be used to promote learning recovery

  • At least 1% must be used to provide summer enrichment programs

  • At least 1% must be used to provide afterschool programs

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) - $40B

  • 91% dedicated to public and private nonprofit institutions

  • 1% dedicated to for-profit institutions

  • 7.5% reserved for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Service Institutions (MSIs)

  • At 50% must be used for emergency financial aid grants to students

Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools Program (EANS) - $2.75B

  • Distributed by governors to private schools that enroll a significant percentage of low-income students.

What's in the ARP for E-Rate?

The ARP includes $7.1B in funding for the FCC's E-Rate program administered through USAC. This program helps schools and libraries pay for connectivity and has been a key tool during the pandemic.

Is there other money that can be used for IT?

Yes, there are several smaller provisions with direct impacts on public sector IT. The two largest are funding for telehealth and libraries. Other provisions of the bill could also be used on IT in the right context.


The ARP appropriates $500M through the US Department of Agriculture for eligible entities in rural areas, including public municipalities. These funds can be used to cover COVID-19 expenses and to increase capacity and telehealth capabilities.


The ARP includes $200M for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) respond to COVID-19 and reach every community.

How much will each state receive?

See the State & Local Government page for a full breakdown of the government funding.

How much will each county receive?

See the State & Local Government page for a full breakdown of the government funding.

How much will each city receive?

See the State & Local Government page for a full breakdown of the government funding.

How much will each school receive?

See the Education page for a full breakdown of the government funding.

How much will each university receive?

See the Education page for a full breakdown of the government funding.

How much will each State Library Administrative Agency receive?

The Institute of Museum and Library Services provides the allotments.

What can the funds be used for?

The different funds all have slightly differing guidelines on what the money can be used for. However, all the funds are broadly designated to help respond to COVID-19 and support the economy - funds must "respond to the COVID-19 emergency and address its economic effect". Common IT examples include:

  • Supporting telework & distance learning

  • Improving the citizen experience and digital services

  • Broadband infrastructure

  • Modernization as an investment in cost-savings, security, scalability, etc.

A key, new use for the direct aid to state & local governments is that it can now be used to fill revenue gaps caused by the pandemic based on projections from January 2020. This was not allowed for CARES Act funding.

When will governments and schools receive their money?

Most of the funds should be distributed in 30-90 days. The direct aid to state & local governments will be delivered in two tranches - the first within 60 days and the second within a year.

How long do governments and schools have to spend their money?

  • The education funds are available through 9/30/23.

  • Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Relief Recovery funds may cover costs incurred through 12/31/24.

  • The E-Rate funding will remain available until 9/30/30.

More Information

For full coverage of the American Rescue Plan, visit SLATE's American Rescue Plan Information & Resources page.


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