News Release

Office of the Assistant Secretary - U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Affairs

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 the Bureau of Indian Education began disbursing this week, will be provided to Bureau of Indian Education-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. “American Rescue Plan funds are vitally important for alleviating strains imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on Bureau of Indian Education students and their families, as well as on teachers, administrators and staff in our K-12 schools and at the tribally controlled colleges and universities.”

“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 Bureau of Indian Education Director Tony L. Dearman. “The American Rescue Plan’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 Bureau of Indian Education’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 tribally controlled colleges and universities based on student count, and
  • $85 million will be managed by Bureau of Indian Education School Operations for investments, such as the buildout of a Learning Management System and facility ventilation improvement projects.

The Bureau of Indian Education 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 tribally controlled colleges and universities.

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 Bureau of Indian Education 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 Bureau of Indian Education 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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