Federal Guidance Clarifies Use of Coronavirus Relief Funds

December 13, 2022

In a “Dear Colleague” letter released last month, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona offered guidance to states and LEAs for use of funds appropriated under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. The letter calls out the following areas of focus:

  • “Expand access to dual enrollment opportunities so that every young person can earn college credit in high school and get a head start in earning a postsecondary credential.
  • Provide strong career and college advisement and navigation supports so that every young person can graduate high school with actionable postsecondary and career plans and the skills and resources needed to pursue them.
  • Expand opportunities for high-quality work-based learning so that every young person can apply classroom learning in real-world settings, develop employability skills, gain valuable work experience, and build a professional network.
  • Give all students the option to earn industry-sought credentials so that every young person can earn higher wages after high school and have the capacity to pursue further education and independent living.”

The letter includes further guidance and examples of how districts and states have used funding in each of these areas. In the area of dual enrollment, the letter notes that students from underserved communities face barriers to access and participation. And it further notes that states and LEAs can use funding to “expand access to and participation in dual enrollment, particularly for those students who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” This emphasis on closing equity gaps echoes California’s recent investments in dual enrollment and pathways.