With billions in funding available for afterschool and summer enrichment, the American Rescue Plan presents a tremendous opportunity to support students’ recovery.

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What is available? 

The American Rescue Plan provides $500 billion that can be used in part to support young people during the hours they are out of school. Funds specifically available for afterschool and summer programs in the Plan include: 

  • $8.45B available from SEAs, including: 
    • $1.22B set-aside for summer enrichment
    • $1.22B set-aside for afterschool programs
    • 5%, approximately, $6.1B, for learning recovery, which can include afterschool/summer/ELT
  • $22B provided to LEAs for learning recovery strategies, including afterschool and summer enrichment
  • $39 billion for child care, which can include school-age care, which will flow to state child care agencies 
  • $1 billion for Corporation for National and Community Service through  AmeriCorps for AmeriCorps positions to help address learning recovery and other purposes
  • $350 billion for state and local governments that can be used in part for child care and other purposes

See the funds available in your state: FY2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER Fund State Allocation Table.

See the funding in your school district: American Rescue Plan ESSER Funding by School District

How can I access funding?

The federal government will disburse funds to the states in March 2021. The federal Dept. of Education and Dept. of Health and Human Services will develop direction and guidance for state education and human service agencies on how to distribute the funds. Once funds arrive at the state level, likely by early April, state education and human service agencies will make the decision on how to distribute funds. 

Here’s a quick take on what we expect in terms of disbursement of the funds, and what you can do. 

 1. $21.9B for learning recovery to local education agencies/school districts. States will need to disperse funds to your local education agencies within 60 days. Each district will be required to use 20% of the new funds they receive on learning recovery strategies that may include afterschool/summer/ELT. Start mapping out what you can offer school districts, and prepare for your outreach to local education leaders. (See tips below.) 

 2. $39 billion for child care will flow to state child care agencies for dispersal – this will include school age care. State human service or child care agencies will determine how the funds are dispersed. Reach out to state child care agencies to learn what their plans are for these funds. A portion of funds will flow through Child Care Development Block Grants while a majority of funds in each state for child care will be dispersed as child care provider stabilization grants. (Learn more about school-age child care and Child Care Development Block Grants.)

3. $8.45 billion in funding to state education agencies (SEAs). Each state will do that dispersal process differently and soon it will be important to advocate for an efficient dispersal of these funds. Reach out to SEAs and/or your statewide afterschool network to find out how the state funds for afterschool ($1 billion), summer ($1 billion) and learning recovery funds (includes afterschool and summer - $6 billion) will be used. The process will be different depending on the state and SEAs likely do not yet know how they will do this. There will likely be a grant competition for those funds at the state level either run by the SEA or in some cases the SEA may give funds to a third party organization to conduct a grant competition. Some SEAs may opt to channel the funds through 21st CCLC grantees.

4. Counties and state governments will receive $350 billion in funds to spend. Reach out to county government officials to ask if there are plans to spend their allotment of funds in part on afterschool, youth programs, summer learning, or child care. (This was a common practice with funding from the previous relief bill known as CARES Act last summer.)


Reaching out to Local Education Leaders

Just because funding can be spent on afterschool and summer programs, does not mean it will.  Programs will need to reach out to local education leaders - school boards, superintendents, and principals - to share what you can offer students to support learning recovery. 

  • Think about what you can offer 
    • Who can you serve/where and how many students?
    • How would your program support students’ recovery? 
    • How are you operating? How are you proposing to operate?
    • What is the cost? 
  • Gather info to make your case. Consider: 
  • Reach out to school districts and local government to share what you can offer, and why it’s so important for students’ recovery. 
    • Template letter providers and advocates can send local education leaders to explain how afterschool and summer programs help address learning loss and support students with academic, social and emotional resources.
    • Talking points to help you prepare for meetings and/or use in follow-up emails. 
    • Summer learning talking points from the National Summer Learning Association with four key messages about summer learning programs' power to make a difference for kids as they recover this summer. These messages can help organize your thoughts for meetings and follow-up emails with state- and local-level decision-makers.


Afterschool & summer programs that support students’ recovery