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Indian Affairs Announces Distribution Plan for $850 Million Designated for BIE-funded Schools Under the American Rescue Plan Act 

Funds will provide COVID-19 relief for education in BIE- and tribally operated K-12 schools and TCUs
April 23, 2021

WASHINGTON – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Bryan Newland today announced the Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) plan for disbursing $850 million provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, signed on March 11, 2021, by President Biden.  The funds, which BIE began disbursing this week, will be provided to BIE-funded K-12 schools and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCUs).


“This much-needed financial support will aid our ability to help the Tribal communities we serve recover more quickly from the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact on them,” Newland said.  “ARP funds are vitally important for alleviating strains imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on BIE students and their families, as well as on teachers, administrators and staff in our K-12 schools and at the TCUs.”

“While this past year has been a challenge given the conditions the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on our schools and students, our educators have remained dedicated to ensuring our students’ success,” said BIE Director Tony L. Dearman.  “The ARP’s funds will go a long way to ensuring our students will not unduly bear the burden of the pandemic’s impact on their education.  This funding will help support our schools locally as they devise and implement much-needed student learning recovery initiatives.”

According to the BIE’s allocation plan for the $850 million it received under the Act:


  • $535.5 million will go to the 183 K-12 schools in its school system based on the Weighted Student Unit formula,
  • $229.5 million will go to TCUs based on student count, and
  • $85 million will be managed by BIE School Operations for investments, such as the buildout of a Learning Management System and facility ventilation improvement projects.

The BIE is using the same set of allowable costs identified by the U.S. Department of Education for CARES Act funding, which are outlined on the Bureau of Indian Affairs website: BIE Implementation of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funding | Indian Affairs (bia.gov).  It is currently awarding funds to schools and TCUs.


Congress and the Administration have provided schools across the United States nearly $200 billion in COVID-19 relief to date making the American Rescue Plan Act the third pandemic federal aid package for education.


The BIE implements federal Indian education programs and funds 183 elementary schools, secondary schools and dormitories (of which over two-thirds are tribally operated) located on 64 reservations in 23 States serving an estimated 46,000 individual students. The BIE also operates two post-secondary schools and administers grants for 29 tribally controlled colleges and universities and two tribal technical colleges.


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