Here’s What $200 Billion in Covid Money Did for Students


The federal government sent nearly $200 billion to U.S. schools in the past few years to help address Covid-era learning challenges. Now the first studies are out showing what the money accomplished—and hinting at what could happen when it goes away this fall.

The money helped students gain some academic ground and made the biggest difference for the nation’s poorest schools, which received the most money, according to two studies released Wednesday. Schools spent on summer programming, tutoring, additional staff, and building upgrades, among other things.

But the overall impact of the federal money was modest, and the remaining dollars won’t be enough to get students back to where they were before the pandemic, the researchers projected. The findings come as the money is running out and some schools are cutting academic-recovery programs.

“The pandemic dollars helped with recovery, but the recovery won’t be done,” said Tom Kane, a Harvard University professor and co-author of one of the new studies.