National Association of English Learner Program Administrators

Using ESSER funds to Support EL Education

22.03.21 01:17 AM By David_Holbrook

Support ELs with ESSER - COVID-19 Education Relief Funds

The U.S. Congress has passed several Coronavirus relief funding bills over the past year. Each of these bills include funding for K-12 education and each bill includes statements of how these funds are to be used. Those statements include explicit wording that these funds can be used to address the unique needs of English learners (ELs) (a.k.a. multilingual learners) as one of the eligible 'at-risk' student populations that should be targeted, however, details of exactly how these funds can be used to support multilingual learners is not included in these funding bill. In order to help answer the question of "How to use the COVID-19 relief funds to support multilingual learners?" NAELPA has prepared a short paper, Using ESSER, ESSER II, and ESSER III funds to Support EL Education. Read on to learn a little more about the three funding bills that have provided nearly $200 billion for K-12 COVID-19 relief.


The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It included $13.5 billion for education in ESSER funds (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief). The period of availability of ESSER funding extends until September 30, 2022. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. It included $54.3 billion for education in an ESSER II pot of money. The period of availability of ESSER II funding extends until September 30, 2023. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It included over $122 billion for education in ESSER III funds. The period of availability of ESSER III funding extends until September 30, 2024.  


ESSER, ESSER II. and ESSER III funds are distributed using the formula used to distribute Title I funds; however, it is essential to note that ESSER, ESSER II, and ESSER III are not Title I funds and are not subject to Title I restrictions. There is no supplement not supplant clause associated with ESSER, ESSER II, or ESSER III expenditures, which provides great flexibility in using these funds. Check out the paper mentioned above to learn how to use these funds to support multilingual learners.