On April 14, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, announced that $3 billion will swiftly be available to governors under The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. The GEER Fund, authorized under the CARES Act, is a flexible “emergency block grant” intended to allow governors to determine the best allocation of the grant to meet the needs of students and educational organizations at all levels in their states. Governors may use the GEER proceeds to assist local education agencies, institutions of higher education, K-12 schools and early childhood education centers that are affected by the national public health emergency. DeVos expressed her hope that governors will focus on the continuity of education for all students and put the funds to work ensuring that students do not fall behind. However, no formal guidance has been provided to direct states’ use of the funds.
The GEER Fund allocations vary by state and are listed on the Department of Education website.1 In an effort to distribute the emergency funds to states as quickly as possible, the department has streamlined the application process and reduced the steps customarily involved with the award of federal grant funds. To obtain GEER Funds, states must complete a brief application which may be digitally signed and submitted to the department at GEERF@ed.gov. The application, including instructions to apply, is available on the department's website. Once states have submitted the signed PDF, the department expects they should receive the funds within three business days.
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