How President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Impacts Education

On January 20, 2021, the White House released the details of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. This plan seeks to provide relief to Americans in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The plan focuses on key action items like vaccine administration, providing $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals and families, reopening schools, and many other actions to protect vulnerable or struggling groups. 

Reopening schools is one major item addressed in the American Rescue Plan. Education systems in the United States have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, with many schools currently still struggling to safely open and operate. The plan outlines safe reopening measures, including increasing vaccine distribution, increasing access to testing, and providing funding to K-12 schools and higher education so they can take safety precautions. The plan states that it will provide $130 billion to schools to help them have access to safety measures like expanding buildings to increase social distancing capabilities in classrooms, funds for PPE for staff/faculty, technology to assist in distance learning, etc. 

The Hardest Hit Education Fund would give $5 billion to state governors across the nation to fund education. This could go to students in preschools, from kindergarten to highschool, or college students in need due to the pandemic. 

Additionally, the plan addresses higher education. The American Rescue Plan would be more influential to college students than previous relief plans. Under the Trump Administration, adult dependents (often college students) were not eligible for the stimulus payments. Adult dependents would be eligible to receive stimulus checks under The American Rescue Plan, which could be hugely beneficial to college students. 

The plan would also expand the  Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This expansion would allocate $35 billion to provide support and funding to several kinds of institutions, including public colleges, community colleges, as well as Historically Black Institutions and Minority Serving Institutions. Students in need could receive up to $1,700 from their university to support their education. 

The stimulus portion of the plan was advanced by the House on February 12, 2021, but the whole plan still needs to be advanced through the House and then the Senate.