NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today announced the awarding of $68,864,994 from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to the state of New Jersey through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to support New Jersey’s K-12 school districts and institutions of higher education hardest hit by COVID-19. There is considerable flexibility in how this funding can be used to fill unmet needs in the state, including helping to ensure that educators have the resources to continue alternative education options, such as remote learning, and that students can complete their requirements in order to advance education levels, among other uses.

New Jersey public and private schools, including preschools and colleges, closed on March 18 in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are over 68,000 reported cases of coronavirus and over 2,800 deaths throughout the state.

“While New Jersey has among the best school systems in the nation, this federal funding is vitally important to help our educators and students meet today’s unique challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Menendez. “I applaud our state’s teachers, professors, and students who have really stepped up during this crisis and continue to adapt to distance and other alternative learning options. I thank Gov. Murphy for his leadership during this unprecedented time and know he will direct these funds to ensure students across our state are able to continue their education with as little disruption as possible due to the outbreak.”

“With nearly every aspect of our lives disrupted by this public health crisis, it’s important to ensure our students don’t fall behind,” said Sen. Booker. “This federal funding will help promote continuity of education while children are out of the classroom and help them reach their fullest potential.”

The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the GEER Fund, which gives flexibility to the state to direct the funding to either K-12 school districts or higher education institutions depending on where the greatest COVID-related need is in the state.

“New Jersey’s education system is the best in the nation, a distinction that stems from the investments we make in our students and the quality of our educators,” said Gov. Murphy. “These funds will allow us to continue providing the high-quality education our state has become known for and will allow schools and institutions of higher education to increase critical supports for our students. I thank Senator Menendez and our congressional delegation for continuing to fight for the needs of New Jersey’s students.”

On Sunday, Sens. Menendez and Booker announced $323 million from the CARES Act is being awarded to ensure New Jersey’s colleges and universities can continue their daily operations and support their students.