The CARES Act gave the U.S. Department of Education the ability to quickly waive some rules that limit the use of federal education funding, freeing up states to spend that money on needs that have emerged as they’ve closed schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As of April 8, 28 states had requested and been approved for that funding flexibility, the U.S. Department of Education announced. We will update the list below as more states obtain waivers.
The massive coronavirus relief package, signed into law March 27, anticipated schools would have growing needs in areas like technology and teacher training as they work to educate their students remotely.
On April 6, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a “turnkey waiver” process to align with the requirements of the law by temporarily loosening up regulations in the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law.
Among other things, the waivers enable states that receive them to:
- Allow districts to carry over as much Title I money as they want from this academic year to the next one; normally there’s a 15 percent limit;
- Work outside of the requirements governing Title IV Part A, which funds programs aimed at student well-being and well-rounded achievements. Caps on spending for different priority areas will be lifted for states with waivers, and schools would no longer be barred from spending more than 15 percent of their Title IV money on digital devices;
- Extend the amount of time schools have to spend funds allocated for a range of federal education grant programs; and
- Use a broader definition of “professional development” than what is included in ESSA so they can quickly train teachers in remote instruction.
Here’s a list of the states that have received spending waivers from all applicable requirements:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New York
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Related: All states have received waivers from federal academic testing requirements this year.