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State Allocates $50 Million in CARES Act Funding to Schools and Colleges

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced last week it will allocate more than $50 million in federal CARES Act funds to benefit education in elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities. The funding from the federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund will improve early literacy, expand remote learning opportunities, and cover costs associated with reopening certain schools and colleges, as well as boost financial aid for college students in greater need of financial assistance.

As part of the federal CARES Act, governors in each state were granted a share of discretionary dollars to ensure continuity of educational services during the COVID-19 crisis. The Baker-Polito administration previously allocated nearly $1 billion in federal funds to help municipalities, school districts, and colleges and universities in the Commonwealth address COVID-related expenses.

The latest funding will support the following initiatives:

• Up to $10 million for early-literacy programs that provide extra help to students through grade 3, aimed at remediating learning loss children may have experienced since schools closed in March, as well as accelerate reading skills of children in high-need communities;

• Up to $7.5 million to expand access to online courses, including advanced-placement, early-college, or dual-enrollment courses;

• Up to $25 million to cover COVID-related expenses associated with reopening colleges and universities, as well as certain non-public elementary and secondary schools. Funds will be allocated based on the number and percentage of low-income students these schools enroll;

• Up to $2.5 million in financial aid for low-income college students attending public colleges to ensure they can cover emergency expenses to continue their education; and

• Up to $5 million set aside in an emergency reserve fund.

“Our administration is committed to supporting every student in our schools as districts and universities prepare for the start of the school year,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “This $50 million investment represents flexible funding that can be used for a variety of critical resources for schools and colleges as they begin to reopen and bring kids back into the classroom, especially in our most vulnerable communities.”

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