What It Really Means to Know a Word

Christina Cavage

By Christina Cavage

What It Really Means to Know a Word

As ELT educators we often build our lessons around reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammar. We introduce new vocabulary that students need to be able to accomplish the reading or listening task. This often happens by providing a definition, and maybe a few ‘drill and kill’ type of exercises—matching the word and definition, multiple choice, or fill-ins. But, does this really lead to vocabulary acquisition? In a word, no. Vocabulary, specifically academic vocabulary is the often-forgotten skill in language learning. To effectively foster vocabulary learning, we need to consider what it really means to know a word.

two women talking

According to Paul Nation, explicit vocabulary teaching, is necessary, but not always effective for expanding a student’s knowledge of a word because knowing a word goes far beyond identifying the definition of a word. While form, meaning, and usage are the key elements for understanding a word, Nation breaks these down even further. When you know a word, you know:

Form:

  1. How it is pronounced (spoken form)
  2. How it is spelled (written form)
  3. Which word parts are in the word (prefix, base, suffix)

Meaning:

  1. Meanings/definitions
  2. Concepts associated with the word
  3. Synonyms or other words associations

Usage:

  1. How the word is used in a sentence (grammatical function in a sentence)
  2. What collocations the word has
  3. When and where the word is used (register and frequency)

This list may seem overwhelming, especially if you need to prepare students for university entrance, where their acquisition of the AWL (Academic Word List) is critical for their success. This list of 570-word families contains the words that most frequently appear in academic texts, across all disciplines. So, adding that layer to what it means to really know a word, goes beyond overwhelming! So, how can we adequately prepare students to not only know, but really know English vocabulary while engaging them in the learning process at the same time?

lesson from PECL -- vocabulary

Well, first we have to consider the tools we use. As we have seen, true academic vocabulary acquisition goes beyond what lies in many textbooks; thus, we have to look for additional tools. Within the Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod, lies The Modular Academic Word List Course. The vocabulary lessons within the Modular AWL are built around Paul Nation’s work in what it means to really know a word. Students engage in activities where they can practice spoken form, written form, meanings, grammatical functions, collocations, and more. These flexible lessons allow you the teacher to deliver powerful lessons in class and out-of-class.

lesson from PECL -- vocabulary

The AWL Library is divided into 10 sublists, the first containing the most frequent terms and the last (10) being the least frequent. Each lesson begins with an overview of the vocabulary term, highlighting meaning, part of speech, syllable division, and collocations. From there, students are able to see the word in context. Then, students are engaged with a formative assessment, assessing their understanding of the word in context. They listen and choose the word stress, engage with collocations, create their own sentence with the vocabulary item (in speaking and writing), and are given a final summative assessment of the vocabulary item, which is conducted with a gamification tool.

collocations activity

Each microlesson provides a dynamic, interactive learning experience, that is completely customizable. In other words, you, the teacher, can add, delete and modify any lesson to address the needs of your students. Additionally, as students move through the lesson, you receive real-time data on your students’ strengths and struggles, as well as their level of engagement. You can see who is engaging in the lesson, and who may not be engaging.

analytics features in PECL
Analytics in Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod

Teaching vocabulary needs to go beyond word, definition, and part of speech if we want to foster true acquisition. We can do this by providing students opportunities to engage with academic vocabulary that are built upon sound research in vocabulary.


Learn more at pearsoneltusa.com/nearpod

Christina Cavage is the Curriculum and Assessment Manager at University of Central Florida. She has trained numerous teachers all over the world in using digital technologies to enhance and extend learning. She has authored over a dozen ELT textbooks, including University Success, Oral Communication, Transition Level, Advanced Level, Intermediate Level and A2. Recently, Ms. Cavage completed grammar and academic vocabulary curriculum for the new Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod, which is now available. Learn more here.

Exploring Engagement in ELT Teaching

Part IV: A Wrap-Up
By Christina Cavage

Part IV: A Wrap-Up

Engagement—critical for success, not so easy to build. As you may recall, I started this dialogue out by drawing attention to how as ELT educators we are bridge builders. We build bridges not only between people and their goals, but also between people. We help make connections, and this has been challenged like never before in our COVID world. Engaging students who don’t have cameras on or aren’t sitting in the classroom with your other students, or who may be in a time zone that generally warrants sleep rather than learning, isn’t easy. However, with thoughtful consideration, and a wide variety of tools in your teaching toolkit, it’s doable.

First, it is important to recognize the three levels of engagement that we need to build: emotional, behavioral and cognitive. Each one comes with its’ unique characteristics and effective strategies.

Emotional engagement is all about lowering a student’s affective filter or building their comfort with taking risks and trying out new content. As we saw, there are many advantages to building emotional engagement in an online or digital environment. Students often feel freer to take risks and engage. The pressure of making a mistake sitting next to their peers often dissipates. Using a tool like Nearpod can really help students overcome the fears they may have of making a mistake. If you are launching a live session, you can hide student names, or you can launch a student-paced lesson.

Game in Nearpod

Strategies such as building a community of learners, holding a coffee or tea hour, using collaborative tools within your delivery systems and utilizing think-pair-share via Zoom breakout rooms or other functions within a conferencing platform are all effective strategies in lowering that affective filter, and building emotional engagement.

How about behavioral engagement? This is often a challenging one within our classroom walls and can become even more challenging in a Zoom or digital environment where you can’t always ‘see’ a student’s engagement.

Collaborative Board in Nearpod

Well, the key here is to make learning active. Regardless of if your class meets face-to-face, online, or live online, it is important that your students are active participants and not just recipients of language. Selecting the right tools and using them at the right time are critical.

As we saw earlier, microlearning, or learning in small chunks works best in building and fostering both behavioral and cognitive engagement.

Draw It! in Nearpod

Always consider asking your students to do after a mini lesson. Additionally, varying the types of tasks you are using in the class is just as important. Students tend to become more passive if the same type of activities come their way again and again. As the examples here illustrate, consider using a collaborative or discussion board, then after the next lesson, have students use an interactive activity such as Draw It! in Nearpod, or an activity where they have to do something. When you appeal to different learning styles, you are able to reach all students, and scaffold learning.

Lastly, we have cognitive engagement. While cognitive engagement appears to be the most obvious, it is often presents the greatest challenge because of all we often feel we need to accomplish.

Bloom's Taxonomy

As we saw in the third blog post, it is about moving students up Bloom’s taxonomy in a thoughtful, deliberate manner. We need to build up to creating rather than ask students to create after simple remembering and understanding tasks. Consider the teaching of paragraph organization. We may have students first identify the parts of a paragraph with a model text. Then, we may have students fill in missing gaps of a model paragraph. Next, we can have students unscramble sentences to organize them into a paragraph—all before we ask students to go and create their own paragraphs. Without proper scaffolding, students are being asked to jump across wide rivers without a bridge. It puts a strain on their cognitive load, and often creates obstacles in learning.

Now, with the pressures that many of us feel to ‘get things done’ this can be taxing. However, really working your students up Bloom’s can improve the quality of learning. In other words, it will stay with them longer. Research tells us that students who are cognitively engaged during a lesson perform better on assessments.

Example of microlearning

While this is not too surprising, it is important to frequently stop and assess students’ level of engagement. Consider again microlearning, with checkpoints that stop and immediately assess what they have just learned. As you see in this screenshot, after teaching the pronunciation of –ed endings, students receive a short formative assessment on what they just heard. When students know they will be immediately assessed, they tend to be more on task and engaged, regardless of where they may be sitting.

Overall, engagement is closely aligned with achievement. Students are able to achieve their own linguistic goals, as well as your course and programs, when they are engaged. And, when we think of engagement, we can’t simply think of how we can make the lesson more fun, but rather how we can build and foster emotional, behavioral, and cognitive engagement.

Christina Cavage is the Curriculum and Assessment Manager at University of Central Florida. She has trained numerous teachers all over the world in using digital technologies to enhance and extend learning. She has authored over a dozen ELT textbooks, including University Success, Oral Communication, Transition Level, Advanced Level, Intermediate Level and A2. Recently, Ms. Cavage completed grammar and academic vocabulary curriculum for the new Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod, which is now available. Learn more here.

Exploring Engagement in ELT Teaching

Part III: Cognitive Engagement

Reflecting back on the last year has me, and most likely many of you, asking were my students engaged in this new normal? If this is to be a normal way of delivery, how can I engage them even deeper?  Well, if you have been following along, you are probably pretty familiar with the definition of engagement I have been working from–“the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught”. We know that engagement involves emotional engagement, which we looked at in the first blog, and behavioral engagement, which we looked at in the last blog, and cognitive engagement, which we will unpack in this blog.

What is Cognitive Engagement?

When we think of cognitive engagement, we may ask, Are my students interacting with content and applying the new content? Are they developing their learner autonomy? It’s really about effort and investment. However, this effort and investment begins with the teacher. The delivery of the content, or the manner in which we teach the content, can either foster or discourage cognitive engagement. What exactly do I mean? Well, the content has to be accessible to leaners, and that includes the terminology we use to teach the content. We also have to scaffold learning or take them up Bloom’s taxonomy. So, how can we build lessons that cognitively engage our students?

Strategies to Build Cognitive Engagement

Very much like both behavioral and emotional engagement, it’s all about leveraging our traditional teaching methods and the types of activities we have students participate in. When we unpack this a bit more, we can really break this down into four key segments: language of our delivery, allotted time for ‘learning’, scaffolding content, and time for learner engagement with content.

Element #1: Language of Delivery

Have you ever explained an English grammar lesson, used the correct terminology, albeit subject, object, participle, etc., and looked out at your class and saw blank stares? Or worse yet, called out a question on Zoom and were met with silence? For many of our students these terms may be familiar, but for many more they simply aren’t. The level at which a student entered your program may be a factor in how familiar they are with terms. So, how can we overcome this? Well, a silver lining in our COVID world is the tools we have available to us and are using. Imagine teaching a grammar lesson, and students ‘watching’ the grammar come alive.

video

Take a look at the screenshot of this video from the Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod. It is done in the Khan Academy style. As the teacher is talking through the lesson, students are hearing the lesson, but also seeing it. The visual helps to support the terms the students are unfamiliar with. Furthermore, we need to make sure we focus on not just the what, but the how and the why—think language, form, meaning, and use.

Element #2: Allotted Time for Learning

We often have a lot to do in a little time. We may use our entire class period to present one lesson. However, how many of our students are truly able to absorb it all? How many are ‘engaged’ the full amount of time? In today’s digital world, with today’s digital learners, it is not realistic to think that they can listen to a lecture for an extended period of time, and ‘learn’ all the content and that is why microlearning has become some popular. Microlearning is about learning in small digestible pieces. Students learn in chunks, and then have an opportunity to practice one chunk before moving forward. Studies have shown that microlearning enhances retention and engagement for students. So, when planning a lesson, consider the chunk-chew-check method. Chunk the learning, give students a task or simple activity to chew on the new information, and then check—think formative assessment.

formative assessment

Element #3: Scaffolding

When we deliver a lesson, it is natural to build tasks and practices in complexity. That is really what scaffolding is all about. However, we often work on remembering and understanding in the classroom, or during class time, and then allow students to do the heavy lifting at home—creating. In order for students to be cognitively engaged, and not lose their motivation, it is important we walk them through each step in class, giving them the tools and skills they need to walk themselves through each step outside of class. Scaffolding needs to be thoughtfully designed in and out of class tasks. Take a look at a lesson in the Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod. You will notice how the lesson walks students up Bloom’s taxonomy, each time asking a bit more of them, all the while engaging students in their own learning process.

grammar lesson

Element #4: Learner’s Time

Lastly, our students have busy lives, but we know that for a student to be truly engaged in learning, they need time outside of class to engage with content. This allows them to interact at their own frequency rate, but it also helps ELT students build those very critical academic skills, like autonomy. As educators, we need to set that expectation. We need to let students know that learning a language is a partnership—we can provide lessons, but outside of the classroom, they need to dedicate time. The digital world has once again come to our rescue and provided tools that we can use to engage students outside of class. Whether you use a Learning Management System (LMS), or another digital environment, your students can interact with content outside the classroom through additional practices and interactions.

live or student-paced lesson

Imagine launching a lesson in class, but students being able to work through that same lesson again outside of class. With the Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod, you can launch a lesson during class, or as a student-paced lesson, or both. The engaging platform allows students to interact, scaffolds the lesson, and provides a microlearning lesson.

In the end, we know the more engaged our students are, the more they learn. That is our goal, isn’t it?


Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod
Want to know more about the Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod? Visit pearsoneltusa.com/nearpod.

Christina Cavage is the Curriculum and Assessment Manager at University of Central Florida. She has trained numerous teachers all over the world in using digital technologies to enhance and extend learning. She has authored over a dozen ELT textbooks, including University Success, Oral Communication, Transition Level, Advanced Level, Intermediate Level and A2. Recently, Ms. Cavage completed grammar and academic vocabulary curriculum for the new Pearson English Content Library Powered by Nearpod, which is now available. Learn more here.

What is an LMS platform? And what is it for?

Banner: What is an LMS platform? And what is it for?

Learn about the concept of an LMS platform, its general characteristics, and how it can help your institution manage and improve teaching and learning.

The development of technology has facilitated access to many new tools in different fields, including education.

Learning management platforms (LMS) have become popular in recent years, and their popularity has only grown during the Covid-19 pandemic. LMSs not only help keep programs organized, but they also improve the learning experience for students.

There are a few popular LMS platforms currently available on the market. You might have heard about Canvas, Blackboard, or D2L. Several educational publishers also offer their own LMS platforms, such as MyEnglishLab.

In this article, we’ll explain what learning management platforms are and what functions they perform.

What is an LMS platform?

An LMS or e-Learning platform is a distance learning tool that allows you to create a virtual classroom to teach using the Internet. That is, it is a program or software that teachers and students can access from anywhere in the world to meet their teaching and learning objectives.

But not only that. Great learning management systems not only provide an adequate learning environment, but they also transform the learning and teaching process, making it dynamic and accessible. Therefore, LMS platforms must meet certain characteristics. Here are the main ones:

Flexibility: LMS platforms are customizable and flexible for different study plans. This allows content to be added according to the needs of teachers and students.

Interactivity allows users to have different content with which they can interact to better engage with and understand the topics taught.

Usability refers to the ease with which users manage to use the platform in order to achieve a goal. That is, an LMS platform should be easy to navigate with no confusion about its use.

Multiple functionalities: LMS platforms try to replicate the physical environment of the classrooms in a virtual environment. For this reason, they offer different tools such as video classes, chats, and discussion forums.

Accessibility: users can access the full content anytime, anywhere. This should be possible from any type of device (mobile, tablet, and computer).

e-Learning platforms have many advantages for schools and institutions. They are an excellent communication channel for the teacher and student community.  Many of them also allow access to student performance reports, which in turn, allows teachers to address performance issue and tailor their instruction to individual students.

Benefits of LMS platforms

They simplify the learning processes

These platforms use intuitive systems and content with a logical structure that are very easy to use for anyone, including children. In addition, the possibility of having virtual classes expands the options for collaborative and social learning.

They allow access to multimedia content

Learning through LMS platforms is more engaging because they not only include written content like in traditional classrooms, but also allow students to engage and learn with images, videos, infographics, podcasts, and more.

They are easily manageable

The digital nature of the content allows it to be updated in real time and instantly. In addition, it is very easy to manage the roles of users, such as students, teachers, administrators, and others.

They are available 24/7

Thanks to the LMS platforms, the geographical and temporal distance is eliminated. Teachers and students can access their materials from anywhere and at any time of the day.

Without a doubt, LMS platforms are a powerful 360º tool that all schools should consider for their training and educational activities.

If your program is not currently using an LMS, consider Pearson Digital Hub. Pearson Digital Hub allows you to offer mixed classes (face-to-face and virtual), serve digital content to students, run synchronous instruction directly from the platform, assign homework, and obtain performance reports that show each student’s progress. Learn more here or contact your local rep for a demo to see how you can implement at at your institution.

Image: Pearson Digital Hub

Navigating the Covid-19 Relief: CARES Act and CRRSAA Funding for K-12, Higher Education, and Adult Education

Research conducted by Barry Katzen.

Online teaching

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. It was the second round of Federal Covid Relief, following the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

This report aims at unpacking the CARES Act and CRRSAA, highlighting specific elements of the law, and understanding what it means for K-12, adult, and higher education, specifically in relation to English language learning and technology.

We also want to renew our commitment to supporting educators in navigating the “new normal” of remote teaching and providing the best solutions that will not only engage students in learning but also ensure they progress and reach desired outcomes and milestones.

Overview and Funding Amounts

CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The funding includes an Education Stabilization Fund totaling $30.75 billion. The breakdown in funding is as follows:

  • The Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) received 9.8% of the funding, or $2,953,230,00.
  • The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I Fund) received 43.9% of the funding, or $13,229,265,000.
  •  The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) received 46.3% of the funding, or $13,952,505,000.

The GEER funds are distributed to governors to be spent as seen fit to meet the needs of students and schools (K-12, colleges/universities, and other education-related entities).

ESSER funds go directly to State Education Agencies (SEAs) based on Title 1 proportions.

HEERF funds go directly to colleges and universities (Institutions of Higher Education – IHEs) based on formulas described in the Higher Education section below.

CRRSAA

On December 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA) was signed into law. The stimulus package includes an additional $81.88 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, with dollars available through September 30, 2022. There is a  set-aside of 1% evenly split between the outlying areas (such as Guam and the US Virgin Islands) and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The remaining $81,061,200,000 is again split among three funds:

  • GEER receives 5% of the funding, or $4,053,060,000.
  • ESSER II receives 67% of the funding, or $54,311,004,000.
  • HEERF II receives 28% of the funding, or $22,697,136,000.

This chart summarizes the funding components:

Funding components of the Covid relief

K-12 (and Adult Ed Programs Run at K-12 Facilities)

The Education Department awards the K-12 grants ­to State Education Agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing Local Education Agencies (LEAs) – including charter schools that are LEAs – with emergency relief funds to address the impact that Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.

ESSER and ESSER II funds were awarded to states based on the proportion of funding each state received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended in fiscal year 2020.

There is a maintenance of effort requirement for the GEER and ESSER funds. To receive funding, a state must provide assurances that it will maintain support for elementary and secondary education and for higher education for fiscal 2022 at a level of spending at least proportional to overall state spending averaged over fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Allowable Activities

ESSER and ESSER II provide district leaders with broad authority over both the targeting of funds to specific schools and the use of funds more broadly.

LEAs may use their funds for any of the following categories depending on local needs (note: text in bold emphasizes categories that are specifically related to English language learning):

Any activity allowed under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) Including Title I-A, Title I-C (Migrant Education), Title I-D (Neglected and Delinquent Students), Title II-A, Title III-A (English Language Learners), Title IV-A, Title IV-B 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Title V-B REAP (SRSA and RLIS), Title VI-A (Indian Education), Title VII (Impact Aid)

Any activity allowed under the following federal education acts:

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act)
  • McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy Act
  • Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support, and Assistance Act

The ESSER II guidelines added the following allowable activities:

Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, of the local education agency, including by—

  • Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction;
  • Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students;
  • Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment; and
  • Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.

The chart below summarizes all allowable activities – note the relevant activities that are circled:

  • activities authorized under the Adult Family and Literacy Act;
  • activities to address the unique needs of English learners;
  • purchasing education technology for students;
  • providing online learning;
  • Implementing summer learning and after school programs.
Full set of allowable activities.
Source: https://www.wallacefoundation.org/news-and-media/blog/pages/the-cares-act.aspx

Adult Education

The following are relevant examples of allowable activities relating to Adult Education in K-12 districts, in particular activities allowable under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act:

  • Family literacy activities that include the four required components
  • High school equivalency preparation for students ages 17+ who are not currently enrolled in secondary school
  • Materials/Supplies in support of adult education services
  • Software/Technology in support of adult education services
  • Professional development for adult education instructors

GEER Funds

According to the Hunt Institute, some governors are using the GEER funds for K-12 activities that are specifically relevant to English language learning. For example, thirty-five governors are designating GEERF money for curriculum and teacher training to deliver remote learning. Oklahoma has established grants to families for tutoring and online curriculum as well as expanded its virtual AP offerings. Missouri is developing training for educators that will “address the technical and instructional expertise” needed for remote teaching. This training will include the unique needs of students with disabilities, English language learners, economically disadvantaged students, and students from racial and ethnic minorities. See details at https://hunt-institute.org/covid-19-resources/geer-fund-utilization/

Application Process

Only State Education Agencies (SEAs) in the 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia apply directly to the Department for ESSER funds. School districts (LEAs) must apply to the relevant SEA. Every SEA must use at least 90% of its ESSER Fund grant to make subgrants to LEAs by formula based on FY 2019 Title I, Part A allocations.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has developed a very useful Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Tracker which provides (a) links for LEAs to apply for funding (subgrants) in each state, (b) ESSER I and ESSER II allocations to each state, and (c) plans announced by each state’s SEA.

ESSER funds are available through September 30, 2022; the SEA deadline for awarding funds is May 2021.

ESSER II funds are available through September 30, 2023; the SEA deadline for awarding funds is January 2022.

This diagram shows the timeline for using ESSER funds from the CARES Act (ESSER I):

Time for using ESSER funds from the CARES Act

The following chart illustrates the timeline for ESSER II funds:

The timeline of ESSER II funds

Associated Documentation for K-12

This chart provides an overview of the CARES Act ESSER funds allocated to each state:

ESSER-Fund-State-Allocations-Table.pdf

See this chart for an overview of the ESSER II funds allocated to each state: Final_ESSERII_Methodology_Table_1.5.21.pdf

Higher Education

HEERF grants are allotted directly to Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs). Institutions are required to provide at least 50% as emergency aid to students, as was required by the CARES Act. Institutions with approved applications from the CARES distribution are not required to submit a new or revised application.

Under the CARES Act, 90% of HEERF grants ($12,557,254,500) were allocated to institutions based on the proportion of two student populations compared with those student population totals nationwide before the onset of the pandemic, weighted as follows:

  • 75% for full-time-equivalent Pell students not in distance education only
  • 25% for full-time-equivalent non-Pell students not in distance education only

HEERF II uses a different formula for allocating funds to public and private nonprofit institutions. The formula below accounts for both full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment and headcount — a change from the CARES Act formula, which only factored in full-time enrollment.

  • 37.5% based on FTE enrollment of Pell recipients who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency;
  • 37.5% based on headcount enrollment of Pell recipients who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency;
  • 11.5% based on FTE enrollment of non-Pell recipients who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency;
  • 11.5% based on headcount enrollment of non-Pell recipients who were not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency;
  • 1% based on FTE enrollment of Pell recipients who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency; and
  • 1% based on headcount of Pell recipients who were exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the qualifying emergency.

IHEs have one calendar year from the date of their award to expend funds unless the institution receives a no-cost extension.

Allowable Activities

Colleges have more flexibility in how they can use HEERF II funds than they did under the CARES Act. These expanded allowable activities apply both to new funds distributed under the omnibus bill and any unspent CARES Act funds. Institutions are still required to spend at least 50% of any unspent CARES Act funds on emergency student aid.

Colleges and universities can use the HEERF II funds to:

  • Defray expenses associated with Covid (including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology (hardware and software) costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll);
  • Carry out student support activities authorized by the HEA that address needs related to Covid; or
  • Provide financial aid grants to students (including students exclusively enrolled in distance education), which may be used for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to Covid, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care), or child care. Note that this financial aid can be used for emergency grants to help students meet urgent needs, such as technology.

In both the CARES Act (HEERF) and in CRRSAA (HEERF II), 7.5% of the HEERF total funding is reserved for Historically Black Colleges & Universities and other Minority-Serving Institutions. (NOTE: Minority-Serving Institutions include institutions that would be eligible to participate in the following programs: Predominantly Black Institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions, Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, and Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans.)

Application Process

The Education Department extended the application deadline for HEERF I grants under the CARES Act until September 30, 2020. Applications are no longer being accepted for HEERF I funds.

For institutions that received HEERF I funds, applications are not required to receive supplemental awards under HEERF II.

Public and nonprofit Institutions that did not previously receive CARES Act funding must submit their applications for the CRRSAA student aid portion and institutional portion of Section 314(a)(1) funds by April 15, 2021. (See detailed information at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/crrsaa.html )

All HEERF grants must be spent by September 30, 2022.

All HEERF II grants must be spent by September 30, 2023.

Associated Documentation

See this site for state-by-state information on CARES Act funds awarded to LEAs and colleges/universities: https://covid-relief-data.ed.gov/

See this file, which shows the CARES Act (HEERF) allocations to colleges and universities. Also see this file, which shows the CRRSAA (HEERF II) allocations to colleges and universities.

Supporting English Language Learners in the Time of Covid-19

Due to school closures, many English language learners lost opportunities to learn and practice their new language, and programs have struggled to create a rich and engaging environment for their students. Pearson’s commitment to providing the best solutions for English language learners of all ages is unwavering. From top-notch English language materials and digital platforms and resources to teacher support and guidance, we are excited to partner with schools and programs to ensure that learning continues despite recent disruptions.

We have materials and solutions that delight and engage learners, work well in the online or hybrid setting, and can help you address the needs of your learners and ensure they progress on their path to full proficiency.

Reach out to us for more details and product demos. Locate your specialist here.

Visit our Covid-19 support site where you can find resources for moving instruction online.