New FCC Fund Helps Schools Buy Tech
Does your school or library need computers, hotspots, broadband internet, or other digital devices? The Emergency Connectivity Fund can help.
What is the Emergency Connectivity Fund?
The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. The fund will help provide relief to millions of students, school staff, and library patrons and help close the Homework Gap for students who currently lack the internet access or devices they need to connect to online classrooms or content.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund was authorized by Congress as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.
What will the fund cover?
The ECF will cover the reasonable cost of:
- laptop and tablet computers,
- Wi-Fi hotspots,
- modems (including air cards),
- and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons.
In limited instances, a school or library that can demonstrate it has no available service options to support remote learning may seek funding for the construction of new networks and the equipment needed for datacasting services.
Who is eligible to receive funding?
ECF funds are available to schools, libraries, and consortia of schools and libraries (e.g. regional or statewide groups of schools or libraries that apply together) that are eligible for support under the FCC’s E-Rate Program. Funds are also available to Tribal libraries that are eligible for support under the Library Services and Technology Act.
What is the application process?
The initial application filing window opens on June 29, 2021 and will close on August 13, 2021. During that time, eligible applicants can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. The Universal Service Administrative Company will review all applications.
Apply: Interested schools and libraries can apply by visiting emergencyconnectivityfund.org.
Where can I learn more?
To learn more about the Emergency Connectivity Fund, visit the FCC website. The page includes a video overview of the fund, a getting started guide, support contact numbers, and more. To stay informed on the fund and receive invitations to training sessions, submit this online form.