Public Policy

Catholic School Data At A Glance

Catholic School Data At A Glance

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The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law by President Trump on February 9, 2018, included significant new funding to support disaster relief. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) will award up to $2.7 billion to assist K-12 schools, school districts and institutions of higher education (IHEs) in meeting the educational needs of students affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the 2017 California wildfires. The eligible states and territories are Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Secretary Devos sent out a letter about these available grants.  Applications are now available.

The Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE) released Frequently Asked Questions for the Restart Program in April 2018.  The Restart program is designed to support the provision of immediate services or assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and non-public schools in areas where a major disaster or emergency was declared related to the consequences of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and/or Maria or the California wildfires in 2017. Funds will be used to assist school administrators and personnel in restarting school operations, re-opening schools, and re-enrolling students.

The U.S. Department of Education posted  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs ) for the Emergency Impact Aid (EIA) disaster assistance program.  This guidance document addresses many of the questions that may arise as the program is implemented.  It will also assist stakeholders in submitting any revised data on the numbers of displaced students.  The Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students (Emergency Impact Aid) program provides funds to assist with the cost of educating public and non-public students displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, or the 2017 California wildfires.  Under the Emergency Impact Aid program, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) awards grants to eligible State educational agencies (SEAs) to enable them to make emergency impact aid payments to eligible local educational agencies (LEAs) and eligible Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)-funded schools to assist with the cost of educating displaced students who are served by those agencies and schools or who attend eligible non-public schools located in the areas served by those agencies.  See Section C of this document for more information about eligible LEAs and schools.

Both FAQs are also available on the Department of Education's Disaster Relief website . 


Equitable Services Under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
School Choice:
School Lunch Program:
  • We support reauthorization of the National School Lunch Program that includes flexibility for Catholic schools to meet nutritional and staffing requirements while ensuring Catholic school officials have the data they need to determine if participation is best for their school.


Implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):
  • Signed into law in December 2015, ESSA amends and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 (ESEA). Since ESEA's passage, federal law has required local education agencies to provide equitable services to eligible children attending Catholic schools and their teachers. Equitable participation is achieved through the process of consultation between Catholic school officials and the local education agency.
    • Under ESSA, Catholic school students, teachers and administrators have new equitable services assurances, more robust consultation provisions, and stronger protections for their proportionate share of federal assistance. It is important that the Department of Education implement and enforce these provisions fairly and in accordance with the law.
E-Rate Program:
  • We support the modernization of the E-Rate program that raised the program's annual funding cap and enhanced the program's focus on providing sufficient and sustainable broadband access for all schools. We support further improvements to and streamlining the application process. The USCCB is a member of the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC).
Net Neutrality:
  • On December 14, 2017 the Federal Communications Commission repealed "Net Neutrality," a policy regulating access to the internet. While implications for our schools and students are yet to be determined, there could be some impact on the functioning of the E-Rate program. For a brief explanation of net neutrality, watch this video .


Bishops Letter to Hispanic Caucus, August 28, 2020

Cardinals and USCCB Letter to Leadership on School Aid, August 5, 2020

Bishops Letter to Congressional Black Caucus, July 30, 2020

Committee on Catholic Education Joins Coalition Letter to Request Emergency Aid for Catholic Schools, June 25, 2020

USCCB Letter of Support Cruz Byrne Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act

USCCB Comment re Equitable Services Guidance, March 2019

Letter to Congress on Educational Provisions
Bishop George V. Murry, December 1, 2017

Letters to Members of Congress Outlining Priorities for Federal Scholarship Tax Credit
Bishop George V. Murry, June 9, 2017 Joint Letter with Archdiocese of Washington Supporting DC 

ESEA Comments posted on Federal Registry
Opportunity Scholarship Bill Reauthorization House letter
Archbishop George J. Lucas, October 5, 2015

Letter to House Committee on Appropriations on FY 2016 Funding of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, March 30, 2015

Letter to Senate Committee on Appropriations on FY 2016 Funding of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, March 30, 2015

Letter to House of Representatives Supporting Provisions of The Student Success Act (HR5) That Improve the Provision of Equitable Services For Students and Teachers in Religious and Independent Schools
Archbishop George J. Lucas, February 23, 2015

Letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler of the Federal Communications Commission supporting the proposal to permanently increase the funding level of the E-Rate Program.
Archbishop George J. Lucas and Bishop John Wester, November 18, 2014

News Release: USCCB Chairmen and NCEA President Welcome Bipartisan, Bicameral Agreement Reached To Reform Child Care And Development Block Grant Program
Archbishop George J. Lucas, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski and Brother Robert Bimonte, September 15, 2014

Comments to the Federal Communications Commission's Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking dated July 23, 2014 on E-Rate (WC Docket No. 13-184)
USCCB, as part of EdLINC, September 15, 2014

Letter to the Federal Communications Commission on E-Rate Modernization Order
USCCB, as part of EdLINC, May 27, 2014

Proposed Amendments to S. 1086, The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014
USCCB, as part of CAPE, February 2014

Joint Comments of USCCB and NCEA to the Department of Agriculture's November 3, 2013 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (File Code No. FNS-2011-0027)
Anthony R. Picarello, Jr. and Brother Robert R. Bimonte, January 4, 2014  

Letter to House Committee on Appropriations on FY 2014-2014 Funding of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, December 23, 2013

Letter to Senate Committee on Appropriations on FY 2014-2014 Funding of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Archbishop George J. Lucas, December 23, 2013