The FCC is allocating $53.4 million from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program to support off campus broadband connectivity and devices for 140,000 students in nine states.
The funding will be felt in Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. It will support 175 schools and school systems, four libraries and library systems and two consortiums.
The EFC was created in 2021 in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as a way to help off-site learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is nearing the end of its allocation budget of $7.17 billion. To date, it has invested $7.08 billion.
Schools and libraries administer the program.
This is announcement is from the third of three application windows. The FCC says that $4.14 billion has been allocated from window 1, $834 billion from window 2 and $2.11 billion from window 3.
This funding is being used to support approximately 18 million students, 11,500 schools, 1,065 libraries and 128 consortia. It has provided almost 13 million connected devices and more than 8 million broadband connections.
“In today’s classroom, broadband connections and digital tools are the new pencils and notebooks, making them vital to students’ success,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “That’s why we’re pleased to announce another round of funding to help close the Homework Gap for students.”
Earlier this month, the FCC announced $37.7 million in ECF support to about 100,000 students nationwide, with a focus on Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.
The funding, which also is from window 3, will be administered by about 220 schools and school districts, two library systems and four consortia.