Can ESSER funds be used for travel for PD?

Official answers from Education Department staff to questions posed by Title I educators and administrators.

In this Asked & Answered feature, District Administration‘s sister publication Title1Admin® presents official answers given by Education Department staff to questions posed to them by Title I educators and administrators. While we endeavor to choose questions with broad applicability, the answer may not apply to every school, district, or state.

Q: May ESSER funds be used for travel for professional development?

A: Yes, as long as it is reasonable and necessary. The three iterations of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, as authorized by the CARES Act, CRRSA Act, and ARP Act, allow the use of funds for any activities that are authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the IDEA, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, and Adult Education and Family Literacy Act.

This means ESSER funds can be used for the same allowable professional development and training activities for which ESEA funds can be used, including travel to conferences for professional development. According to the Uniform Grants Guidance, federal funds can be used for the following if they are properly accounted for and meet the reasonable and necessary standard:

  • Attending a conference, including registration, room, and travel. 2 CFR 200.432.
  • Hosting a conference, such as speaker fees, facility rental fees, and transportation costs, unless restricted by the federal program. 2 CFR 200.432.
  • Membership in business, technical, or professional organizations. 2 CFR 200.454 (a).
  • Online professional courses. 2 CFR 200.472.
  • Subscription to a business, technical, or professional periodical. 2 CFR 200.454 (b).

This could apply to subscription services, such as Title1Admin®/ESEA Now and Special Ed Connection®,e-learning courses, webinar attendance, and conference attendance, such as FETC.

As always, consult your state and local spending rules and regulations, and be sure to maintain adequate documentation to meet reporting requirements under the federal Education Department General Administrative Regulations and the Uniform Grants Guidance.

Read more about FETC on District Administration.