e-rate funding students on computer

The FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has awarded more than $266 million to support broadband for students and library patrons in six states. 

The ECF, which was created in the American Rescue Plan Act, aims to aid those who need connectivity in off-campus situations, such as giving students tools to do their homework. It is administered by school districts and libraries.

The applications awarded were filed during three of the program’s application windows. The funding will support more than 1 million students in Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York and Oregon. More than $12 million from the first and second application windows will support approximately 15 schools, two libraries and a consortium during the coming school year. A far larger sum – more than $254 million — will come from the third application window. It will support more than 400 schools, 45 libraries and 15 consortia.  

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“Thanks to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, now more students across the country have the digital tools they need to support their education,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “In too many communities, kids are still struggling to get the internet and devices they need to connect with teachers and do their homework.  We have to fix this.  This program is helping, and I’m proud of the progress we are making to close the Homework Gap.”

The program so far has made commitments to aid more than 12.8 million students, about 10,000 schools, 900 libraries and 100 consortia. The ECF also is providing more than 11 million connected devices and almost 7 million broadband connections.

Nearly $5.6 billion of the eventual $7.17 billion total has been committed. This includes about $4.1 billion from Window 1, $826 million from Window 2 and $656 million from Window 3. 

On June 30, the FCC awarded almost $159 million in ECF funding to more than 300,000 students in Alabama, Guam, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas and West Virginia.

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