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Congress Strikes Deal on Fiscal Year 2021 Funding, Stimulus Package

lawmakers announcing packages

After countless months of negotiations, and with the end of the year and the 116th Congress fast-approaching, lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations and a COVID stimulus package. The bill was released on Monday afternoon and was passed by the House and Senate by just after midnight.

The FY 2021 spending deal includes $73.5 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, an increase of $785 million over last year’s level. The largest increase, $227 million, is for Title I grants to school districts. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will receive the only other major K-12 increase, a total of $181 million. Other education programs will see level-funding or slim increases in a year with little extra cash to spend.

Below are details about the programs CEC advocates for directly:

  • IDEA Grants to States Program (Part B) will receive a $173 million increase, for a total of $12.94 billion.
  • IDEA Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Program (Part C) will receive a $4.9 million increase, for a total of $481.9 million.
  • IDEA Preschool Program (Part B Section 619) will receive a $3.5 million increase, for a total of $398 million.
  • IDEA National Activities (Part D) will receive a $4 million increase, for a total of $254 million. The bulk of that increase is dedicated to the Special Olympics, with Personnel Development level-funded and Personnel Preparation receiving a very slight boost.
  • National Center for Special Education Research, within the Institute for Education Sciences will receive a $2 million increase, for a total of $58.5 million.
  • Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act will receive a $500,000 increase, for a total of $13.5 million

To view the FY 2021 education provisions, go here.

View the FY 2021 education provisions

Also within the bill is more than $900 billion in Coronavirus-related relief, including additional payments to eligible individuals of up to $600, an extension of a pared back unemployment insurance program, additional loans for small businesses, and additional health-related provisions to address the pandemic.

$82 billion is dedicated to education, nearly three times the amount provided through the CARES Act in March. The funding will be provided in a similar fashion to the CARES Act, including $4 billion for the Governors Emergency Relief Fund, $54 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, and $23 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Within the K-12 Fund, allowable activities are expanded to include addressing learning loss, school facility repairs and improvements, and improving indoor air quality.

Of note, Governors will need to reserve money from their Fund for private K-12 schools, targeting low-income students and excluding private schools that received Paycheck Protection Program funding. The equitable services provision for Title I funds that appeared in the CARES Act has been removed, limiting private schools to one funding opportunity.

Read the COVID-related education provisions starting on page 1851 of the omnibus here.

Read the COVID-related education provisions

Posted:  23 December, 2020

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