The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday announced that it will make $3 billion in “emergency block grants” available to governors to ensure education continues for students affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
The grant awards are based on a state’s student-aged population and poverty levels. North Carolina is in line to receive $95.6 million.
In a statement, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos stressed that governors will decide how to spend the aid from the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“My Department will not micromanage how you spend these funds, but I encourage you, at a time when so many school boards, superintendents, and institutions of higher education have had to close their brick and mortar campuses for the balance of the school year, to focus these resources on ensuring that all students continue to learn most likely through some form of remote learning,” Devos said in a letter to governors.
Governors may spend the money on traditional public schools, charter schools, non-public schools, post-secondary institutions and other education-related organizations.
Schools across the nation have closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Meanwhile, states are facing revenue shortfalls as the crisis forces businesses to close to help slow the spread of the contagious and deadly virus.
According to the Education Department’s statement, the application process has been streamlined to reduce red tape to get the money to governors as quickly as possible.
Once states have submitted the signed application, the education department expects to make obligate the funds within three business days, the statement aid.
Devos announced last week that more than $6 billion will be distributed immediately to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Those grants are available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which is also authorized by the CARES Act.