Letters from the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary
August 12, 2011
Archived Information

August 12, 2011

Dear Governor:

As we approach the end of the fiscal year, we are asking States to review their fund balances in the G5 Grants Management System for funds awarded in fiscal year 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (P.L. 111-5) by the U.S. Department of Education (Department). Under the Tydings Amendment in section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1225(b)), States and subgrantees, if applicable, have one additional fiscal year to obligate funds after the year that the funds were made available for obligation. These ARRA funds were made available for obligation through the end of fiscal year 2010 and, based on the operation of the Tydings Amendment, are available for obligation by States and subgrantees through the end of fiscal year 2011, which ends on September 30, 2011.*

The enclosed table shows the ARRA funds administered by the Department that our records indicate are available to your State but have not yet been drawn down from your State's ARRA grant accounts at the Department. These funds must be obligated by the State and its subgrantees no later than September 30, 2011.

We note that the date an obligation occurs depends upon the nature of the obligation. The Department's regulations in 34 CFR 76.707 determine when certain types of obligations occur. For example, obligations for personal services performed by an employee of the State or a subgrantee occur when the work is performed; however, the obligation for personal services performed by a contractor occurs on the date the State or subgrantee makes a binding written commitment for the services to be performed. Similarly, the obligation for procurement of real or personal property occurs on the date the State or subgrantee makes a binding written commitment to acquire the property; however, the obligation for rental of real or personal property occurs when the State or subgrantee uses the property. Section 76.707 also provides specific information on when certain other types of obligations occur.

There is still time for you and your State agencies to take steps to ensure that your State and your local educational agencies, as well as other State agency grantees or other sub-State recipients, make appropriate and timely obligations of these remaining ARRA funds. We hope that your State will continue to use all available Federal resources for the benefit of your students and other targeted populations. To help ensure that these ARRA funds are obligated before the end of this fiscal year, we encourage you to work with your Chief State School Officer and other State officials, so that your ARRA funds can be obligated appropriately by September 30, 2011.

The Department is committed to working with you to ensure that the available ARRA funds are being used appropriately and effectively with minimum risk of waste, fraud, or abuse. The Department will be posting the attached table to its Web site to ensure the public is aware of the status of all awards with a September 30, 2011, obligation deadline; to access the online data, please visit The Department will also be contacting States shortly to discuss remaining balances and to address any questions or concerns that you may have regarding these funds.

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of all those served by our programs.

* We recently sent a letter to Chief State School Officers to inform them of the balances for non-ARRA funds that are at risk of not being obligated by the end of fiscal year 2011.
  Anthony W. Miller

Enclosure download files MS Excel (396 K)

cc: Chief State School Officer
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Last Modified: 08/15/2011