US Education secretary: $5M will be available for NMI

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has written the following letter in response to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’s requests. According to the administration, the governor “has been in daily contact with the U.S. Department of Education since the passage of the CARES Act as it was unfortunate that Congress neglected to identify direct relief for the U.S. territories within the Act.”


Dear Governor Torres:

Thank you for all you are doing to lead Northern Mariana Islands through this unprecedented national emergency. You are making important decisions every day to keep your citizens safe, and you are tackling head on the challenges created by Covid-19 in your communities, workplaces, and schools. While students and educators are facing significant disruptions and obstacles, you play an influential role in ensuring that learning continues for all students.

We have been working around the clock to put Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) resources in the hands of those who need them most and for whom these funds will have the greatest immediate impact. As Governor, you have the opportunity to truly rethink and transform the approach to education in your Outlying Area and to empower parents, teachers, and local education leaders to ensure all students can access meaningful learning options.

To support those efforts, today the Department of Education (the Department) is making available $5,588,189 for Northern Mariana Islands’ Education Stabilization Fund-Governors (ESF-Governors) award as part of the $153.75 million allocated to the Outlying Areas under the ESF authorized under section 18001(a)(1) of the CARES Act. This award is based on Northern Mariana Islands’ student-aged population and poverty levels.

This extraordinarily flexible emergency block grant empowers you to decide how best to meet the current needs of students, schools (including charter and non-public schools), postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations in your Outlying Area so that faculty continue to teach and students continue to learn. My Department will not micromanage how you spend these funds, but I encourage you, at a time when many school boards, superintendents, and institutions of higher education have had to close their brick and mortar campuses for the balance of the school year, to focus these resources on ensuring that all students continue to learn most likely through some form of remote learning. They and their families are depending on your leadership to ensure that they do not fall behind.

In an effort to get these emergency funds to you as quickly as possible, we have kept the application process simple; all that is required is the completion of a brief Certification and Agreement, which can be digitally signed and submitted in PDF to the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The Certification and Agreement, including instructions to apply, are on the Department’s website at

We understand that you and your team might have additional questions. We will post answers to frequently asked questions about the ESF-Governors funds on the Department’s website at the address listed above.

[An] attached table shows the ESF-Governors allocations, as well as the Certification and Agreement required to process Northern Mariana Islands’ grant. Once you submit the signed PDF, we will process your Certification and Agreement and obligate your funds within 3 business days. You will be able to draw down these emergency funds using the Department’s G5 system.

We will announce additional education-related resources available under the CARES Act in the very near future. We look forward to partnering with you to ensure that learning continues for all students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thank you for your continued leadership on behalf of America’s students. I welcome your direct outreach if you would like to discuss this further.

Betsy DeVos

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