The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has committed more than $40 million to support about 100,000 students in off-campus environments in six states. More than $6.5 billion has now been committed through the fund, which is closing in on exhausting its $7.17 billion budget.
The latest funding focuses on students in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin. It will support more than 275 schools, 15 libraries and five consortia.
The ECF was credited by the American Rescue Plan Act as a way to support off campus educational activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This program has equipped millions of students with the digital tools they need for after-school homework and connecting with teachers,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “Today’s funding round is another step in our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap.”
The funding is from the third of three application windows under which the program is structured. About $4.14 billion has been allocated in window 1; $833 million in window 2 and $1.57 billion in window 3.
The ECF budget has been gradually spent over many months.
So far, the ECF has committed to approximately 10,000 schools, 1,000 libraries, and 100 consortia. It also has committed to providing than 12 million connected devices and more 8 million broadband connections.
During the first week of the year, the ECF committed about $34 million in funding to support about 890,000 students. The focus is on Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington. The funding was also from the third application window. It is aimed at more than 250 schools, 15 libraries and two consortia.
In early December, the ECF committed $54 million to support about 150,000 students in Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Washington and West Virginia. The funding aims to support approximately 100 schools, 10 libraries and two consortia.