Press Release

Statement from Denise Forte, senior vice president for partnerships and engagement at The Education Trust, on the American Rescue Plan Act:

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2021) – “The American Rescue Plan Act is the necessary federal response to the pandemic’s devastating impact on students of color and students from low-income communities. It will provide our nation’s education system with critical resources to ensure students and educators can safely return to in-person learning environments that support their social and emotional well-being. These resources, including those dedicated to addressing unfinished instruction and accelerating learning, need to get to communities quickly so they can plan and implement evidenced-based programs, such as intensive tutoring and summer enrichment. The American Rescue Plan also includes unprecedented safeguards to ensure states maintain their share of education funding and to prevent states from redirecting public investment away from communities that have been historically under-resourced. The American Rescue Plan is what is needed to move all students and schools forward on a path to recovery.”

Key provisions of the American Rescue Plan that advance educational equity

The bill takes several important steps toward addressing the negative impacts of the pandemic and making the United States’ school systems more equitable:

  • Allocates $165 billion for America’s schools, colleges, and universities
    • The bill also enacts maintenance of effort and maintenance of equity provisions that protect our nation’s most underserved students from disproportionately harmful cuts experienced in prior recessions
    • The bill also reserves 20% of the funds received by local educational agencies (LEAs) and 5% of the funds received by state educational agencies (SEAs) for addressing students’ unfinished instruction and socio-emotional needs
  • Allocates $7.1 billion to connect the roughly 16 million K-12 students who currently lack high-quality home internet and/or devices, enabling remote learning for students across the country
  • Extends the 15% increase in SNAP benefits through September 2021, and authorizes the Pandemic EBT program to operate this summer, the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and during any school year and subsequent summer in which a public health emergency is declared
  • Contains vital aid for early childhood educational providers, invests in the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and increases and expands the Child Tax Credit
  • Closes the 90/10 loophole pending regulatory action taken by the Department of Education, a reform that has bipartisan support and protects veterans from disproportionate recruitment by predatory, low-performing for-profit colleges
  • Eliminates taxation on federal student loan discharges from December 31, 2020 through January 1, 2026
  • Invests approximately $3 billion into programs funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

About The Education Trust

The Education Trust is a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families. Through our research and advocacy, Ed Trust supports efforts that expand excellence and equity in education from preschool through college; increase college access and completion, particularly for historically underserved students; engage diverse communities dedicated to education equity; and increase political and public will to act on equity issues.