What is the EANS Program?
On December 27, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), which included $2.75 billion in funding for nonpublic schools as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund). This reservation for nonpublic schools is called the Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools (EANS) program, and its purpose is to provide services and assistance to nonpublic schools to address educational disruptions caused by COVID-19.
This program presents a significant opportunity for schools to invest in programs and services to strengthen their school communities for the long-term and to recover from the impact of the pandemic. As a private school leader, you may be wondering how this all works and, more importantly, how you can ensure that your students can access their fair share of this funding.
Here is a quick primer on this program and some ideas on how to maximize the funding for your students:
Elementary and secondary nonpublic schools are eligible for the EANS program if they:
(1) are designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as non-profits;
(2) are accredited, licensed, or otherwise operate in accordance with state law;
(3) were in existence prior to March 13, 2020, which is the date on which the President declared the national emergency due to COVID-19; and
(4) did not, and will not, apply for and receive a loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on or after December 27, 2020.
Schools that received a PPP loan in the first round under last March’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) are still eligible to participate in the EANS program.
The decision about whether to apply for a PPP loan as opposed to an EANS grant is specific to each school’s unique financial situation and should be discussed with your finance office.
Prioritization of Funds:
State Departments of Education (SEAs) are required to prioritize funding to nonpublic schools that serve low-income students and those that have been most impacted by the pandemic. Each SEA will determine the poverty data and poverty threshold that will be used to make this determination; SEAs may take into account additional considerations as well. Some states are allocating a portion of the funding based on low-income status and another portion based on enrollment. Schools which have not previously participated in federal education programs may therefore still be eligible for funding under this program.
While LEAs were required to provide equitable services to nonpublic schools under CARES Act programs such as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER I), this is not the case for CRRSA funding. LEAs are not required to share the ESSER II or GEER II grants with nonpublic schools. Instead, EANS was created as a separate program for nonpublic schools and is managed by the State Education Agency (SEA). Eligible private schools will apply directly to the SEA for services and assistance.
How does my school apply?
SEAs are required to make an application easily available to nonpublic schools in the state. However, if you have not heard from your SEA, you can also proactively reach out to the Department of Education in your state or your state’s ESEA ombudsman.
SEAs have flexibility in developing their own applications, but applications must ask about: (1) the number and percentage of students from low-income families; 2) information regarding the impact of the pandemic on the school; 3) a description of the services or assistance requested; 4) whether the nonpublic school received a PPP loan under the CARES Act and the amount of the loan; and 5) an assurance that the school will not apply for a PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020.
Allowable Uses of EANS funding:
Nonpublic schools may utilize the funding for the following types of services or assistance:
- Supplies to sanitize, disinfect, and clean school facilities
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Improving ventilation systems, including windows or portable air purification systems
- Training and professional development for staff on sanitization, the use of PPE, and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases
- Physical barriers to facilitate social distancing
- Other materials, supplies or equipment recommended by the CDC for reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain health and safety
- Expanding capacity to administer coronavirus testing to effectively monitor and suppress the virus
- Educational technology
- Redeveloping instructional plans for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss
- Leasing sites or spaces to ensure social distancing
- Reasonable transportation costs
- Initiating and maintaining education and support services or assistance for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss
- Reimbursement for the expenses of any services or assistance described above that a non-public school incurred on or after March 13, 2020 (except for the limitations described below)
Nonpublic schools that receive reimbursements under this program will not be considered “recipients of federal financial assistance.” Therefore, faith-based schools need not be concerned about the federal requirements which often come along with federal funds.
There are, however, several limitations to reimbursement under the EANS program. First, reimbursements cannot cover costs that schools have already been reimbursed for under other federal programs including costs covered by PPP loans. Second, reimbursements are not allowed to pay for the following services:
(1) training and PD for staff on sanitization, the use of PPE, and minimize spread of infectious diseases;
(2) ventilation systems other than portable air purification systems;
(3) redeveloping instructional plans for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning; and
(4) services to initiate and maintain education and support services or assistance for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss. However, the SEA may provide these services directly to nonpublic schools or enter into a contract with a third-party provider to offer these services.
The SEA will also hold title to any materials, equipment, and property purchased with EANS funds.
For how long will the services and supplies be available?
The period of performance under this program extends through September 30, 2023. Nonpublic schools will therefore be able to utilize equipment and supplies and receive services during this timeframe. However, after this period, the SEA may allow equipment and supplies to be used for another allowable purpose under another federal education program such as ESEA or IDEA.
ADAC looks forward to providing additional counsel to you and your school team as you work to maximize your school’s EANS allocation for the benefit of all of the students whom you serve. As our private school communities continue to address together the great challenges of this pandemic-era, please feel free to contact Ariella Hellman or Steve Perla.
We stand ready to help!