The FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program has committed almost $5.2 million in a new funding round to support off-campus learning for approximately 14,000 students. The focus will be on students in California, New Jersey and Wisconsin for the funding, which will support about 23 schools and school districts.
Examples of off-campus learning include homework assignments and summer online learning programs. The goal is to provide funding to ensure students in the U.S. have “the necessary support to keep up with their education,” stated the FCC.
The ECF was created by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 as a way to help students and others keep pace in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has announced approximately $7.09 billion in support thus far, which is near its total funding budget of $7.17 billion.
To date, the ECF has provided support for about 18 million students, 11,500 schools, 1,070 libraries and 128 consortia. The funding has covered almost 13 million connected devices and more than 8 million broadband connections.
This announcement is for funding from the third of three application windows. To date, about $4.14 billion has been allocated from window 1, $834 million from window 2, and $2.12 billion from window 3.
“In this digital era, broadband connections and digital tools are vital to students’ everyday lives and learning,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a prepared statement about the Emergency Connectivity Fund awards. “These connections and tools will only grow in importance as they continue to provide access to new and dynamic ways of learning. That’s why we’re pleased to announce another round of funding to help close the Homework Gap for students.”
Early last month, the FCC said that the ECF would provide about $37.7 million in funding to support approximately 100,000 students nationwide, with a focus on Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.