Impact of the pandemic

Private schools face what could be a perfect storm of financial issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only must they worry about maintaining enrollment, but they also will see decreased income from endowments, tithing, scholarship organization and foundations at the same time that they deal with increased costs from expansion to e-learning.

The CARES Act can help your school

The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) is the third piece of legislation Congress has enacted to provide economic relief in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. The first two pieces of legislation provided relief for small businesses, money for COVID-19 testing, funding for unemployment benefits, and nutritional assistance.

The CARES Act is the first piece of legislation that directly addresses education. It provides:

  1. A $30.75 billion Education Stabilization Fund (applies to state education agencies (SEAs) and institutions of higher education (IHEs);

  2. A $2.95 billion Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief Fund;

  3. $25 million for distance learning, focused on rural communities;

  4. $25 million “to help elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools clean and disinfect affected schools, and assist in counseling and distance learning and associated costs” (allocated to Project School Emergency Response to Violence Program (SERV);

  5. $15.5 million for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and,

  6. $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs to help students not currently in school receive meals.

State Educational Agencies (SEAs) will receive roughly 44% ($13.23 billion) of the Educational Stabilization fund. This allocation is called the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency relief fund. USDOE will distribute funds to SEAs based on their proportion of Title I funding. 90% of the funds that states receive must be distributed to LEAs, including charter schools. CARES outlines 12 allowable uses for these funds (Section 18003(d)), including any activities authorized by federal programs such as ESEA and IDEA, activities to address the unique needs of low-income students and students with disabilities, developing and implementing systems and procedures to improve preparedness and response efforts, training and professional development, and purchases of educational technology.

Private schools are eligible for funding through the Education Stabilization Act and Govern's Relief Fund

Private schools are eligible to receive CARES ACT relief through two different mechanisms (Section 18005): When local education agencies (LEAs) receive funds from either the Education Stabilization Act or the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief Fund, they must provide private school students and teachers with equitable services (in the same manner they provide Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funds).

The funds provided remain under “public control.” Non-public schools must consult with LEAS to determine allocation and receipt of funds (Section 18005).

The CARES Act also provides governors with great flexibility in how they spend money allocated under the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief fund.

Governors can use funds to “provide support to any other institution of higher education, local educational agency, or education related entity within the State that the Governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services to students.”

Non-public K-12 schools qualify as an “education related entity.”