The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded another round of funding for its Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) on Oct. 19. The $78 million will benefit approximately 175,000 students, bringing the total of those awarded with broadband services and devices to over 14 million.
Since Congress authorized the ECF last year as part of the American Rescue Plan, it has provided $6.1 billion – out of the almost $7.2 billion allotted to them – to schools around the country in attempts to close the homework gap for students.
The most recent funding will take the shape of digital services and tools for students at 190 schools, 30 libraries, and one consortium across Del., Fla., Ind., N.C., N.M., and Texas.
“As the school year progresses, we need to make sure that kids can connect with teachers and homework assignments when classes finish for the day,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “This program will help our students by funding hot spots, tablets, and broadband services, building on our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap.”
The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework, to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education, the FCC press release said.
To date, the program has supported over 10,000 schools, 900 libraries, and 100 consortia, providing over 12 million connected devices and 7 million broadband connections.