4 Benefits of Using E-Rate Funding on Wi-Fi
The pandemic has brought into sharp focus a reality many educators were already aware of: not every student has access to high-speed internet at home. Fortunately, there’s funding available to help schools provide students the resources they need. The CARES Act, for example, offers federally funded coronavirus aid to schools. E-Rate funding provides significant discounts (up to 90%) on telecommunications and internet technology for schools and libraries.
Both the CARES Act and E-Rate funding can be used to improve wireless internet in schools and includes funding for solutions that extend connectivity beyond campuses. Let’s take a closer look at the critical importance of using E-Rate for Wi-Fi.
#1: Closing the Homework Gap
According to Future Ready Schools, one out of three Black, Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native households lacks the high-speed internet needed to support online learning. Across all racial and ethnic groups, 16.9 million children are locked out of online learning.
Even when schools are offering in-person learning, much of the homework is online. When students are unable to complete that work, they fall behind. Their grades may drop due to not completing homework and not being able to fully participate in classwork that’s based on the previous evening’s homework.
Providing high-speed internet at school lets students complete their homework before or after school or during breaks or study periods. For schools practicing distance learning, long-range access points can be installed strategically to provide internet access in parking lots, trailers or tents, and other outdoor areas around the campus.
Cisco Meraki is a leading solution for internet technology, and offers some great high-capacity, long-range options for schools. Best of all, it can be covered under E-Rate and CARES Act funding.
#2: Closing the Achievement Gap
As the homework gap increases for students without wireless internet access, they fall behind their peers. They miss opportunities to sharpen skills and uncover gaps in understanding. Come testing time, students without internet access will have spent less time engaging with class material. That leads to an achievement gap, which can be narrowed with readily available access to high-speed internet.
#3: Being Poised for Change
This year has shown how rapidly the education landscape can change. New opportunities for learning are introduced every year. Enrollment and classroom configurations can change from year to year. A robust high-speed wireless network makes it easy to respond to changes, whether it’s rolling out a new learning app or getting ready for a new school year.
#4: Access the Latest Technology
CARES Act and E-Rate funding help school districts invest in technology to meet the demands of today and tomorrow. For example, Cisco Meraki is built to handle the traffic demands of today’s schools, including supporting 1:1 iPad initiatives and BYOD environments. It can block unwanted web traffic and prioritize the apps your students and teachers use every day.
Additionally, Meraki is also easy to manage for IT teams. It can be deployed quickly and managed from one place, minimizing on-site visits.
2NDGEAR, Your E-Rate Funding Expert
For schools looking for technology funding, procurement or implementation guidance, 2NDGEAR is an experienced E-Rate service provider that’s ready to help. We work closely with schools to help them secure the funding and the wireless access they need. We offer Cisco Meraki wireless products, among many others, that can help you empower students and teachers with the tools they need to succeed.
Ready to learn more? Download our free guide, Using California E-Rate Funds to Digitize Schools and Libraries.
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