Minority College Students on Computer

The thirteenth wave of the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) will provide $37 million in funding to more than 170 schools, 30 libraries, and four consortia in Alaska, Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The awards include almost $27 million for applications submitted in Window 1 of the program and more than $10 million for Windows 2 applications.

The FCC also reiterated that the third application filing window will open on April 28 and extend to May 13. That window will support equipment purchases and as much as a year of recurring services between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023. The FCC says demand projections suggest that this will be the last window in the program before the budget is exhausted.

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The ECF supports off-campus learning, such as homework. It is administered by schools and libraries.

“This program has opened doors for thousands of students who lacked connectivity to get the tools they need to connect with their teachers and classmates,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release about the new FCC emergency connectivity funding awards. “Reliable and affordable access to broadband is a must for everyone, and especially for our students. I’m proud of the work we are doing to close the Homework Gap and pleased that we can offer this support for the next school year.”

To date, the ECF program has committed almost $4.8 billion of $7.17 billion dollars in its budget. It has connected more than 12.5 million students and funded more than 10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections.

The FCC announced the third and presumably final funding window, which will award a minimum of $1 billion, last month. At the same time, the FCC announced $68 million in funding awarded. The funding was comprised of $49 million for applications submitted in Window 1 and $19 million in Window 2 applications.

The ECF was created in the American Rescue Plan to help alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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