The FCC’ Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program is committing almost $55 million in a new funding round that will support about 125,000 students in five areas.
The new round focuses are California, Indiana, Michigan, Puerto Rico, and Texas.
The announcement is comprised of almost $775,000 from the first and second application windows and more than $54 million from the third application window. All told, the funding will support more than 200 schools, 20 libraries, and two consortia.
The ECF, which was part of the American Rescue Plan, is designed to help blunt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is aimed at supporting students and others in offsite learning scenarios, such as doing homework at home. The program, which is administered by libraries and school districts, eventually will provide $7.17 billion in support. To date, more than $5.9 billion of that total has been awarded
“With the school year in full swing, kids need to be able to connect with teachers and homework assignments when they are away from school grounds,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the FCC ECF program awards. “Our latest funding commitments will provide this support, and continue our ongoing progress to close the Homework Gap.”
The program so far has pledged support to approximately 10,000 schools, 900 libraries, and 100 consortia. About $4.1 billion has been awarded from Window 1, $833 million from Window 2, and $947 from Window 3.
In late July, the ECF committed more than $77 billion in two funding rounds intended to support more than 175,000 students in Puerto Rico, Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington. The commitments brought the total at that point to $5.6 billion.
It included more than $2.5 million from the first and second application windows that will support six schools and two libraries through the school year.