The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the most recent coronavirus relief package passed by the government, designates $900 billion for coronavirus relief, including stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, vaccine distribution and aid to small businesses, health care, education, transportation, rental assistance and agriculture.
Several provisions in the bill may allow educational institutions, health care providers and small businesses to tackle air quality improvement projects with minimal financial impact. This document outlines several provisions in the legislation and provides links for reference to help GPS customers leverage this program and make informed decisions.
Elementary and Secondary Education
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, known as ESSER II, has $54.3 billion available which can be used for “repairing and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school buildings.” Please refer to the Department of Education state allocations for more information.
Timing: Funds will be made available to state education agencies in the coming days. Funds are available for obligation through September 30, 2023. If schools received ESSER I funds in the original CARES Act, those dollars must be used before making use of ESSER II funds.
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, known as HEER 11, has $22.7 billion available, with allocations to be announced soon. Institutions may use funds to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus. Please note that 50% of the funds must be used to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.
Timing: More information on HEER II should be available in the coming days.
Additional Education Project Funding
An additional $4.1 billion in funding for education is available through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II). Private schools have been allocated $2.75 billion of the fund, known as the Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS), for uses relating to safely reopening schools, continuing instruction and other coronavirus-related costs. The remaining $1.3 billion in GEER II is for governors to use at their discretion, including providing subgrants to local school districts or colleges and universities. Please refer to the Department of Education GEER II and EANS program state allocations for more information. subgrants to local school districts or colleges and universities. Please refer to the Department of Education GEER II and EANS program state allocations for more information.
Timing: GEER II funding of $1.3 billion will be available to states soon, as governors do not need to apply to receive their portion. EANS funding may take longer to allocate as governors must apply for it. Non-public schools may apply to the state education agency (SEA) to receive funds. Funds are available for obligation through September 30, 2023.
Health Care Providers
Provider Relief Fund
A total of $3 billion in funds in the Provider Relief Fund are available for “General” and “Targeted” distributions. General Distribution is meant for Medicare fee-for-service providers, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program dental providers who provided diagnoses, testing or care for people with possible or actual cases of COVID-19. Targeted Distributions are for providers in areas particularly impacted by COVID-19, rural providers and providers requesting reimbursement for treating uninsured Americans. Funds can be used for lost revenues and health care–related expenses that are attributable to the coronavirus. Capital facilities expenses may be fully expensed only in cases where the purchase was directly related to preventing, preparing for and responding to the coronavirus.
Timing: The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to release guidance on the Provider Relief Fund payments soon.
State and Local Governments
Provider Relief Fund
While the package does not include funding for the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which provided aid to state and local governments, the deadline for spending appropriated money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Coronavirus Relief Fund has been extended until December 31, 2021. The amount of CARES Act money remaining varies by state.