In late September the U.S Department of Education (ED) outlined procedures schools will use to extend spending deadlines for nearly $130 billion in federal pandemic aid.

In a letter to state education officials, ED writes that “with one year remaining in the [American Rescue Plan (ARP)] fund period, it is important that States and local educational agencies continue to use emergency relief funds for effective, evidence-based strategies.” The letter also acknowledges that some grantees may require flexibility liquidating remaining Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Emergency Assistance to Non-Public School (EANS) funds under ARP that have been properly obligated by the September 30, 2024 deadline. The letter to grantees announces that the general liquidation extension that has been available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Acts for ESSER I and ESSER II will also be available for ARP. The Department is allowing up to 14 month extensions on a case by case basis for liquidation of funds (funds must still be obligated by Sept 30 2024) making late March 2026 the new spending/liquidation deadline for states and/or districts that receive approval of their extension requests.

This is not a blanket extension – states or districts must have a reason for requesting the extra time. See the letter from ED to states and coverage on the issue.

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

Federal Pandemic Relief Funds: City, State, and School District Investments in Afterschool and Summer Learning

Learn about how afterschool and summer learning programs are using pandemic relief funds with our map, City, State, and School District Investments in Afterschool and Summer Learning. This map shows hundreds of examples of state and local agencies are investing these critical funds into afterschool and summer learning programs.

Reach out to local education leaders | See examples of partnerships between schools and programs | Explore the Fall 2021 staff recruitment toolkit

What funding is available?

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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.

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When is this funding available?

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ESSER Funding Timeline

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How can I access funding?

The federal government disbursed funds to states in March 2021. The federal Dept. of Education and Dept. of Health and Human Services provide direction to state education and human service agencies on how to distribute the funds. Here’s a quick take on how major categories of the funds will flow, 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. Use our toolkit for reaching out to local education leaders to access these resources. 
  2. $39 billion for child care has been sent to state child care agencies for dispersal – this includes school age care. State human service or child care agencies 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), including $1B for afterschool, $1B for summer enrichment, and $6B for learning recovery that can include afterschool and summer. Each state will have their own dispersal process and it will be important to advocate for an efficient distribution of these funds. Reach out to your statewide afterschool network to find out what's happening in your state. There may be a grant competition for some of the funds, either run by the SEA or a third party, or some may opt to channel the funds through 21st CCLC grantees. SEAs must complete the ESSER III State Plan Template and submit it to the US Dept of Education by June 7, outlining plans for responding to students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, including afterschool and summer programs. The plan will be posted for public viewing. See examples from states that have announced plans for spending ESSER III plans on afterschool and summer.
  4. Counties and state governments have received $350 billion 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.)

For local afterschool and summer program providers, it is important to seek partnerships with school districts. Use this toolkit to reach out to local education leaders — school boards, superintendents, and principals — to share what your program can offer students to support students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being.

Several states have posted grant funding opportunities that afterschool and/or summer learning providers may be eligible to apply for:

State Funding source URL Focus RFP opens RFP submission deadline
Alaska ESSER III afterschool set asides Afterschool 4/28/22 5/31/22

Arkansas ESSER III Grants

ESSER III set asides

Summer/ Afterschool



Colorado ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grant ESSER IIII afterschool and summer set asides Afterschool and Summer 5/5/22 6/28/22

Connecticut Accelerate Summer Expansion Grants

ESSER III set aside

Summer 2021



DC: Learn 24 grants

Includes ARP funding and other funding sources Summer and Afterschool Posting/Deadline dates vary Posting/Deadline dates vary

Delaware School-Community Learning Grant Program

ESSER III set asides $6 million

Year Round - Summer/ Afterschool 10/15/21 12/17/21

Georgia BOOST Grants





Idaho Community Programs for Youth Award Round III ARP, CARES and CRRSA Summer 2022 3/7/2022 4/7/2022

Idaho Summer of Innovation Grant

ARP ESSER Summer Set Aside Summer 2023 1/5/2023 1/31/2023 & 3/27/2023

Indiana REACH grant


Summer and Afterschool



Maryland ARP ESSER  Afterschool Program Competitive Award

ESSER III 1% afterschool set aside




Minnesota: Believe and Build Afterschool Grants ARP ESSER III Afterschool 9/30/2021 TBD
Montana Afterschool Grant ARP ESSER III

Afterschool 10/22/21 (intent to apply)
11/19/21 (RFP opens)
Oklahoma High-Quality Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Initiative ARP ESSER III Afterschool 10/2021 11/2021
South Carolina Providing Opportunities for Lifelong Learning Grants ESSER III State set aside & CARES GEER Afterschool and Summer 12/10/21 12/30/21
Texas COVID Learning Acceleration Supports (TCLAS): High Quality Afterschool ARP ESSER III Afterschool 10/8/2021 11/12/21

Utah American Rescue Plan Act Afterschool and Summer Funding

ESSE III set aside

Afterschool and Summer



Vermont Summer Matters

ESSER III and II set asides

Summer 2021



Wyoming Reserve Summer and Afterschool grant

ESSER II State set aside

Afterschool and Summer



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Evidence-based strategies & examples of programs supporting students’ recovery

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Learn about how afterschool and summer learning programs are using pandemic relief funds with our map, City, State, and School District Investments in Afterschool and Summer Learning. This map shows hundreds of examples of state and local agencies are investing these critical funds into afterschool and summer learning programs.