The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has committed almost $183 million in awards to support off-campus educational activities.
The funding will support about 470,000 students, with an emphasis on Alabama, Florida, Maryland, New York, Texas and Washington.
The awards, which are from each of the three application windows, will go to about 325 schools, 40 libraries and one consortium.
The ECF was created by the American Rescue Plan and is intended to help students and others to maintain connectivity despite the COVID-19 pandemic. It is administered by school districts and libraries.
To date, the ECF has announced support for approximately 15 million students. The program has supported more than 10,000 schools, 900 libraries and 100 consortia.
The initiative is approaching the home stretch. Almost $6.3 billion of the $7.17 billion has been allocated. The latest awards bring the overall total to about $4.1 billion from Window 1, about $833 million from Window 2 and about $1.3 billion from Window 3.
“We’re making progress closing the Homework Gap, but we need to make sure every student has after-school access to the digital tools they need for schoolwork and engaging with teachers and classmates,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the FCC ECF awards. “Today’s announcement is another important step in this ongoing work to connect all our kids.”
In September, the ECF awarded almost $55 million in funding that is aimed at about 125,000 students in California, Indiana, Michigan, Puerto Rico and Texas. The awards came from the first and second application windows ($775,000) and the third ($54 million). The funding will support more than 200 schools, 20 libraries and two consortia.
Also in September, the FCC committed more than $51 million in ECF awards to support about 170,000 students in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Washington and the District of Columbia. The funding will benefit more than 300 schools, 25libraries and two consortia.