March 10th, 2021

Additional Relief for Students, Families, and Schools Is on Its Way

President Joe Biden plans to sign the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law this week, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that would provide much needed support for families, schools, small businesses, and state and local governments. The bill extends unemployment benefits and provides direct financial assistance to most Americans in the form of $1,400 checks per person, including dependents.

NCLD and the LD community have been pushing members of Congress to allocate specific funding to support students with disabilities in the COVID-19 relief bill.Thanks to the advocacy of thousands of people across the country, the law includes $3 billion in additional funding for special education programs authorized under federal law. Specifically, the relief plan provides for:

  • $2.58 billion for grants to states to support K-12 students with disabilities
  • $200 million for grants to support preschool students with disabilities 
  • $250 million for grants to support infants and toddlers with disabilities

There is also specific funding to assist schools in addressing other challenges related to the pandemic. In particular, the law will allocate: 

  • $122.7 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund. Roughly a quarter of that money must be spent on addressing learning loss, while additional spending must be reserved for summer and afterschool programs;
  • $39.6 billion for colleges, universities and their students — at least half of that money must be spent on emergency financial aid grants to students;
  • $39 billion for child care programs and providers; and 
  • $7.2 billion for an FCC program that helps schools and libraries purchase equipment and broadband connections.

NCLD will continue to work on behalf of the 1 in 5 to ensure these funds are used efficiently and equitably. Our work is far from over and we maintain our commitment to improve the lives of those with learning and attention issues.

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