The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on June 30 committed nearly $159 million to the Emergency Connectivity Funding (ECF) program to help close the “homework gap” for students that don’t have access to reliable broadband service and devices.
The funding supports applications from all three of the program’s filing windows, supporting over 300,000 students across the country, including in Alabama, Guam, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, and West Virginia.
“Even as more and more students return to classrooms in person, there is a continued need to
support kids who don’t have access to the internet at home,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
“Just this week, I was visiting Congresswoman Grace Meng’s district in Queens where I heard directly from local students who shared that some of their classmates found themselves typing essays on their phones because they lacked the internet and devices to complete their schoolwork,” she added. “That’s unacceptable, and we can do better.”
Almost $2 million from the first and second application windows will offer support in the upcoming school year for approximately 15 schools and four libraries. Nearly $157 million will come from the third filing window, supporting over 350 schools, 50 libraries, and four consortia.
The total ECF funding committed to date is nearly $5.3 billion.
The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework, to ensure students across the country have support to keep up with their education.
“I am grateful that Congress has provided this funding to help close this homework gap, so students all over the country can connect with their teachers and online assignments when they are away from school,” Rosenworcel said.