The FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has committed more than $77 million in two new funding rounds to support off-campus education for more than 175,000 students in five states and Puerto Rico.
The funding comes from all three application windows. In addition to Puerto Rico, the funding will focus on students in Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington.
The ECF, which was created by the American Rescue Plan to help blunt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student achievement, supports out-of-school educational and related activities by providing devices and connectivity to students in off-campus locations. It is administered by school districts and libraries. Today’s announcement brings the committed total to $5.6 billion. The ECF will eventually commit $7.17 billion.
The ECF says that the new commitments include more than $2.5 million from the first and second application windows. The funding will support six schools and two libraries during the upcoming school year. The bulk of the newly announced commitments — $75 million – will support 150 schools, 20 libraries and five consortia.
To date, the FCC has announced ECF support for about 10,000 schools, 900 libraries and 100 consortia. It also will provide 12 million connected devices and more than 7 million broadband connections. About $4.1 billion has been awarded in Window 1, $828 million from Window 2 and $731 million from Window 3.
“The Homework Gap is real. Too many kids still lack access to the internet after the school day,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “We’re working hard to fix this, and this program is providing millions of students with the essential digital tools they need to succeed in school.”
On June 30, the ECF awarded almost $159 million to support more than 300,000 students in Alabama, Guam, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas and West Virginia. The funding also came from all three application windows.
The program is popular. The third application window, which ran from April 28 to May 13, generated requests for more than $2.8 billion.