The COVID-19 pandemic has radically impacted all aspects of American life. Teachers and schools have had to alter their plans, curriculum, and teaching styles. In response to economic and financial difficulties across the country, the U.S. government has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This over $2 trillion economic relief package is structured to help protect Americans from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
For all State Departments of Education, a crucial portion of the CARES Act is the Education Stabilization Fund. This funding can be used to cover costs associated with purchasing and delivering industry-recognized certification exams. Time is running out to access this funding, so we’re giving you the highlights of how to access this funding below.
What is the Education Stabilization Fund?
The Education Stabilization Fund is a funding opportunity available under Division B of the CARES Act. The main aim of this fund is to support States impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically helping them prevent, prepare for and respond to the impact in education. This funding will help States provide new educational opportunities and pathways to help citizens return to work, small businesses recover, and new entrepreneurs thrive. These programs also build new capacity within the State to offer short-term postsecondary programs that are responsive to the needs of individuals to more rapidly adapt and evolve to ever changing workplace and community needs.
The Fund has three main priorities:
- Continued learning parent microgrants
- Statewide virtual learning and course access programs
- Field-initiated projects for educational models for remote learning to improve student outcomes
DOEs looking to use the Education Stabilization Fund to purchase industry-recognized certifications for students in their State should file for absolute priority one. This funding will be issued as a federal grant to State Education Agencies (SEAs), the agency responsible for public elementary and secondary schools. The SEAs will then provide microgrants to parents, students, teachers, and a list of selected service providers. The goal is to provide access to high-quality remote learning and industry certification exams to students across the United States. The estimated average award is $15M, so the impact to student education and opportunities is substantial.
How does my State get access to the funding?
Getting access to the funding will require several steps, but Certiport is here to help. Please note that States hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Coronavirus Burden Table, are most likely to receive funding. However, we encourage all States to apply.
Over the coming days, Certiport Territory Managers will be connecting with State Education Agencies to help gauge interest in this funding and assist in the application process. If your State is interested in applying, we will work with you to provide the information needed for your application.
What are the deadlines?
Technically, the deadline to apply for funding is June 29th. However, the preliminary deadline to express interest in funding is May 19th. That doesn’t give SEAs much time. Therefore, if you’re interested in filing for absolute priority one funding, and haven’t been contacted by your Certiport Territory Manager, we encourage you to make contact as soon as possible. Certiport has team members in place to help States with their applications, but we need you to raise your hands before we can call on you.
Not sure who your Certiport Territory Manager is? Fill out this form to connect with North America sales team, and we’ll put you in contact right away.