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AACTE Applauds Passage of COVID-19 Relief Legislation

AACTE today expressed its appreciation to Congress for passing the American Rescue Plan Act. The legislation was passed to help the nation recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our nation and the world. The Act includes funding to support schools and colleges in creating safe learning environments to enable P-12 students and teachers to successfully return to face-to-face instruction as soon as possible.  President Biden is expected to sign the Act into law. 

While there are calls to immediately open schools and colleges, teachers and others are hesitant to return unless their safety can be assured. AACTE believes this legislation is critical to helping the nation’s schools to do just that—reopen safely.

The legislation includes approximately $125 billion for K-12 schools, which can also be used to address lost time in the classroom. The funding can be used to repair ventilation systems, reduce class sizes, implement social distancing guidelines, purchase personal protective equipment, and hire support staff to care for student’s health and well-being. 

In addition, AACTE celebrates the nearly $40 billion for institutions of higher education, of which at least half must be used by institutions for emergency financial aid grants to prevent hunger, homelessness, and other hardships that students are facing because of the pandemic. The legislation also addresses student loan forgiveness; if a student loan is forgiven within the next 5 years, it is not taxable. AACTE is also pleased that the legislation includes $350 billion for states and localities, which can be used to preserve education jobs.