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Classroom Lecture

Frequently Asked Questions

You might be wondering about the purpose of ESSER funds, where the funds come from, and what restrictions districts have in spending their ESSER allotment. Below are initial answers to those questions. We will continue to refine FAQs with input from districts. 

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s page on Federal Coronavirus Relief Programs.

What are ESSER Funds?

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds are federal grants awarded to states in order to support local school districts (including charters) with emergency relief funds to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning and education outcomes. Between March 2020 and March 2021, there were three installments or "waves" of ESSER funds:


  1. ESSER 1, established through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020;

  2. ESSER 2, established through The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) in December 2020;

  3. ESSER 3, established through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act in March 2021.


How much ESSER funding did Massachusetts receive? How was it allocated to districts?

Massachusetts has received a total of approximately 2.9 billion dollars in federal investment through ESSER. 

  • ESSER 1 allotted $214.9 million to MA

  • ESSER II allotted $814.9 million to MA

  • ESSER III allotted $1.8 billion to MA

Based on the Title I formula, the state distributed 90% of each of these amounts to districts. The districts receiving the highest allocations are: 

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When do districts need to spend their funds?

Most districts have already spent their ESSER I funds and have developed plans for how they will spend their ESSER II and ESSER III funds. The deadlines for spending ESSER funds for each wave are:

  • ESSER I funds must be spent before September 30, 2022. Most districts have already spent the majority of these funds.

  • ESSER II funds must be spent before September 30, 2023. 

  • ESSER III funds must be spent before September 30, 2024. 

What is EdImpact?

EdImpact Research Consortium is a research-practice partnership between the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy, CERES Institute for Children & Youth at Boston University Wheelock College, Education Resource Strategies (ERS), and Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. This partnership is designed to support evidence-based spending at the school and district level, analyze the impact of COVID recovery funds on student learning and outcomes, and provide a platform for the field to learn from one another.

Why a research consortium?

Oftentimes, research organizations operate in silos, conducting analyses and producing resources that potentially duplicate each other’s efforts. Through this partnership, the Consortium will offer a one-stop shop of supports for educators, administrators, policymakers, and community stakeholders as the field navigates recovery from the COVID pandemic and a one-time influx of federal resources. 

Why is this important, and why now?

ESSER funds provide a unique, once-in-a-generation funding opportunity directly to schools and districts. EdImpact intends to provide research and resources that support Massachusetts schools and districts in making the most of this opportunity through bold, innovative, and long-lasting improvements to education.

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