The latest COVID-19 relief legislation being prepared by House Democrats – the HEROES Act – proposes $90 billion in funding for the Department of Education to help K-12 and colleges adjust to distance learning.
The legislation calls for $90 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund that would provide grants to states to support K-12 and college institutions. The flexible funding can be used for, among other things, purchasing educational technology, coordinating efforts between state educational agencies and public health; training and professional development for college and university faculty and staff to use technology and services related to distance education; and emergency financial aid to postsecondary students for technology expenses.
The HEROES Act, which clocks in at 90 pages, includes several other noteworthy technology-related measures
- 2020 Election – $3.6 billion in grants to states for contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for Federal office.
- Broadband – $1.5 billion to close the “homework gap” by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connected devices for students and library patrons, and $4 billion for emergency home connectivity needs.
- Census Bureau – $410 million in expenses due to delays in the 2020 Census.
- Indian Health Service – $500 million to provide health care, including telehealth services to Native Americans,
and to purchase medical supplies and personal protective equipment; $140 million to expand broadband infrastructure and IT for telehealth and electronic health records system purposes.