Loading...

FCC Launches Largest Emergency Funding Effort to Close the Homework Gap

June 28, 2021 by Victoria Turner
FCC Launches Largest Emergency Funding Effort to Close the Homework Gap

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 appropriated $7.2 billion toward a new Federal Communications Commission program, the Emergency Connectivity Fund. Starting Tuesday, June 29, and ending Aug. 13, the ECF will accept applications from schools and libraries to receive federal funding with the goal to connect students across the nation for the 2021-22 school year.

Stories of students doing their homework in a McDonald’s parking lot or during the bus ride home have long plagued the FCC. The Commission’s acting chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, has been on record as trying to tackle this “homework gap” between students connected to affordable internet access and those who are not. With the massive shift towards distance and online learning, the pandemic has widened the gap, making the need to be connected one of the FCC’s top goals.

The funds can be used for the schools and libraries to purchase equipment such as laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connections. 

The Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the Universal Service Fund under the FCC’s direction with the aim of universal broadband and connectivity for all Americans, will be overseeing the ECF application process. Applicants have to establish the best estimate of the anchor institutions unmet need and how the ECF will meet that need. Nevertheless, the FCC “deliberately” left the calculations of what these unmet needs may be up to the anchor institution, to try and not limit their assistance through stringent eligibility requirements.

Once the 45-day application window closes, USAC’s goal is to process 50% of all applications in 60 days and 70% of the applications within 100 days. Following the review, USAC will send the funding commitment notification to the schools and libraries and funding will be disbursed in waves. Once the commitment notifications are sent out, schools and libraries will be able to also submit retrospective reimbursements for any equipment or the likes received within 15 days of receiving these letters. 

One of the focused goals of this program, an FCC official stated, is “gathering the best data possible” This program also brings a “great opportunity” to get the data “out there and increase transparency” on the pricing of equipment and connectivity services, the official said, noting the anticipation of receiving many ECF applications.

For more information on the ECF, click here

In The News

Health

Voting

Education

June 27, 2022
by Dan McCue
Supreme Court Sides With High School Coach Who Prayed at 50-Yard Line

WASHINGTON —  A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a high school football coach who claimed the public... Read More

WASHINGTON —  A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with a high school football coach who claimed the public school district that employed him violated his free speech and free exercise rights by barring him from praying on the field after games. The 6-3 ruling... Read More

June 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Supreme Court Strikes Down Maine Policy Barring Tuition Aid for Religious Schools

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a longstanding education policy in Maine that made K-12 schools with... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a longstanding education policy in Maine that made K-12 schools with religious instruction ineligible for taxpayer-backed tuition aid. Writing for the majority in the 6-3 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts held the state’s so-called “nonsectarian” requirement for... Read More

June 3, 2022
by Reece Nations
NY Assembly Approves Classroom Size Caps Despite Funding Concerns

ALBANY, N.Y. — A bill to limit the number of students in New York schools passed the state Legislature along... Read More

ALBANY, N.Y. — A bill to limit the number of students in New York schools passed the state Legislature along with an extension of mayoral control over the public school system late on Thursday night. The legislation to cap class sizes was tied to mayoral control... Read More

May 27, 2022
by Dan McCue
Energy Dept Launches New Solar Workforce Development Programs

WASHINGTON — The Energy Department has launched two new Solar Decathlon workforce development programs intended to extend the collegiate competition... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Energy Department has launched two new Solar Decathlon workforce development programs intended to extend the collegiate competition into high school classrooms and architectural studios across the country. The two programs, Solar Decathlon Professions (SD Pro) and Solar Decathlon Pathways (SD Pathways) are intended... Read More

May 19, 2022
by Dan McCue
Kansas State Team Wins Collegiate Wind Competition

WASHINGTON — A team of Kansas State University students have won the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2022 Collegiate Wind Competition.... Read More

WASHINGTON — A team of Kansas State University students have won the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2022 Collegiate Wind Competition. Over the course of the past school year, teams from 12 colleges and universities, as well as four “learn-along” teams designed, built and tested model wind... Read More

May 19, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Congressmen Criticize State Laws Censoring Education on Controversial Issues

WASHINGTON — Teachers and students warned a congressional panel Thursday that recent state laws clamping down on politically volatile instruction... Read More

WASHINGTON — Teachers and students warned a congressional panel Thursday that recent state laws clamping down on politically volatile instruction in schools are likely to backfire by breeding intolerance. Seventeen states passed laws in the past two years intended to protect children from offensive sexual or... Read More

News From The Well