CARES Act Funding Information

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes an Education Stabilization Fund, which in turn contains two major sources of funding for schools: the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. This page is a source of information about the status of both programs in Minnesota.

Note: The SERVS system is being prepared to process these applications. This page will be updated with submission instructions and details prior to the system opening for applications.

06/23/20 UPDATE: New budget worksheets are posted below. Please do not use previously downloaded versions of the budget worksheets.

CARES Act funding: allocations for school districts and charter schools
CARES, GEER and ESSER: Making Sense of It All

Governor's Emergency Education Relief fund (GEER)

Based on feedback from a range of communities across the state, the Office of the Governor and the Minnesota Department of Education have identified two key priorities for which these funds can be used:

  • Expanding technology capacity to meet student learning needs, with particular attention to increasing broadband access, establishing wireless hotspots and purchasing devices such as laptops or tablets for students.
  • Improving student-to-teacher ratios for summer school programming to at most six students per teacher.

Applicants for GEER funds must download and complete the application and budget worksheet. Completed applications and budget worksheets should then be uploaded into SERVS when the system is ready to process them.


  • Budget Worksheet: Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund  - 6/23/20
  • Application: Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund  - 6/17/20
  • 6/8/20

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund (ESSER)

ESSER funds are divided into two streams: a formula-based allocation and state-directed grants. Districts and charter schools will be notified of their eligibility for one or both funding streams. To receive funds, applicants must complete the appropriate application and budget worksheet, then upload those documents in SERVS when the system is ready to process them.

The formula-based allocation to districts and charter schools is based on their allocations under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These funds can be used for a wide range of expenses to meet local needs.

     Application: ESSER 90%

     Budget Worksheet: ESSER 90%

     Frequently Asked Questions: ESSER 90%

State-directed grants, provided to districts and charter schools that do not receive a formula-based allocation, districts and charter schools that receive less than $10,000 from their formula-based allocation, and districts and charter schools whose share of students from historically underserved populations is less than their share of other ESSER funds, can be used for a combination of:

  • Supplementing GEER funds for summer school programming.
  • Supporting mental health.
  • Meeting the needs of historically underserved populations. 

     Application: ESSER 9.5% state-directed grant 

     Budget Worksheet: ESSER 9.5% state-directed grant

     Frequently Asked Questions: ESSER 9.5% state-directed grant 

Nonpublic Equitable Services

Through the CARES Act, Congress required any local educational agency that receives funds to provide equitable services to students and teachers in nonpublic schools and “in the same manner as provided under section 1117 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.” (Section 18005(a) of the CARES Act.) However, there has been some confusion around the language and intent of the CARES Act and the guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

The state of Minnesota has decided to follow the intent and language of the law and distribute the federal funds to nonpublic schools, according to the number of children living in low-income households to prioritize those students with the greatest need. Because there is unsettled disagreement between Congress, state education agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education, and because U.S. Secretary DeVos has indicated she may pursue rulemaking to codify the guidance, the Minnesota Department of Education recommends that school systems hold an estimated equivalent of the disputed amount of the funding in escrow and make no draws from that amount until there is a final, federal determination.