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Understanding ESSER I, II and III Disbursements

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

ESSER funds have been released under three different acts. In March of 2020, the first set of ESSER funds were disbursed under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security Act). In January of 2020 ESSER II funds were released under the CRSSA Act (Coronavirus Response & Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act) and ESSSER III funds were disbursed under the ARPA Act (American Rescue Pan Act) in December of 2021.

In total, emergency allocations made under all three ESSER funds total almost $192 Billion dollars. In order to secure the funds, local education agencies (LEAs) must apply to the State Education Agency (SEA). All state education agencies must offer local education agencies 90% of the funds allocated. The remaining 10% can be retained by the State Education Agency to address emergency needs.

The ESSER fund allocations made to each state are based on Title I (part A) funds. Title I schools will have more funds available to them than non Title I schools.

So what can these funds be used for?


  • Training to address changes to instruction

  • Access to high quality instructional resources

  • Address supplemental learning needs

  • Addressing needs of students at rick

  • Addressing needs of low income, foster, and homeless students

  • Summer learning

  • Purchasing of educational technology to support student achievement and interaction


  • High quality assessments

  • High quality literacy initiatives

  • Evidence based activities

  • Parental support

  • Distance Learning

  • Addressing learning loss

  • High impact activities


  • Everything under I & II

  • Reserves 5% for evidence-based activities tied to learning loss

  • 1% set aside to implement summer enrichment programs

  • .05% set aside for administrative costs

Districts have a lot on their plates as they navigate all that COVID has brought. Data aggregation and assessing student learning losses are high on the list. Districts also now have the need to access data quickly and remotely when needed.

The tracking and spending of ESSER funds make multi-year educational technology contracts possible. Many ed tech companies are offering discounts to assist districts in setting these multiyear contracts up. It makes the decision making process not so stressful with the ESSER I funds available for spend through September 30, 2022 and ESSER II & III funds available for spend until September of 2023.

What is your State Doing? Use this tracker to find out how much your state has been awarded as well as how much has been spent and where.

Check out this fact sheet to understand the differences between the ESSER Fund (CARES Act) and ESSER II Fund (CRRSA Act). Do you have additional questions? Contact me at


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