What’s the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)?
Schools and Libraries Can Access $7.1B in Federal EdTech Funding through ECF
For organizations looking for assistance with the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Program, please email us at info@2NDGEAR.com or click the button below:
|Request a Free ECF Consultation|
When educators remember the early 2020s, they’ll recall mask requirements from COVID-19, the eerie silence of barren school campuses, and the scramble to deliver quality educational content over the internet. They’ll also remember the countless faces of missing students, who didn’t attend remote learning sessions because they couldn’t afford a home computer or a reliable internet connection.
At this time, many U.S. schools and libraries plan on continuing hybrid learning environments, and it’s still too early to know if another mass shutdown will occur. But fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel to help ease the challenges of remote learning and homework gap issues: The FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.
School districts now have access to $7.17 billion in Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) funding to purchase IT equipment, build connected networks, and attain services for underserved communities in America. Now educators can rest assured that all their students will attend class in the event of another shutdown or can finally close the homework gap that has been an on-going challenge pre-pandemic through this emergency funding program.
Below, we’ll help you understand the following about the ECF:
- What Is the Emergency Connectivity Fund?
- What Does the ECF Pay for?
- Who Qualifies for Funding?
- Where Do Schools Apply?
- Where to Source Quality Laptops and Tablets?
What is ECF – Emergency Connectivity Fund?
Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the ECF was signed into law earlier this year. The program reimburses schools and libraries to purchase laptops, tablets, and broadband internet connections for students and library patrons to use at home. Through ECF funding, school districts can give low-income students the computers and broadband connections they need to attend remote learning sessions.
According to acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, “Millions of students are locked out of the virtual classroom right now […] The Emergency Connectivity Fund could make a major difference in our ability to help these families and students.”
What Does the ECF Pay For?
The ECF will provide 100% reimbursement to school districts for the following IT equipment and service purchases:
- Wi-Fi hotspots up to $250 per device
- Wireless connectivity equipment
- Laptops and tablets up to $400 per device cap and one per student
- Modems, air cards, and routers $250 per device cap
- Broadband internet service
- Other IT services and equipment for unique circumstances
Any E-Rate eligible U.S. public school or library can apply to receive ECF funding. These organizations can apply to ECF for 100% reimbursement after purchasing any of the above IT equipment and services on behalf of school staff members, students, and library patrons. Generally speaking, most ECF purchases need to be for students and library patrons who don’t have a home computer or internet connection in order to qualify for compensation.
Where Do Schools Apply?
Starting on June 29th, schools and libraries can apply for funding through the E-Rate online portal found here. Make sure to check the ECF website for news updates because, once the filing window opens, schools will have a limited time to submit their funding requests.
According to the FCC, “If significant funds remain available, the Commission may decide to open another prospective filing window; alternatively, the Commission may open a ‘retroactive’ filing window for eligible purchases made between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.”
Get Your Students Connected Now: Source ECF Laptops, Tablets, and More from 2NDGEAR
At 2NDGEAR, we are 100% committed to helping U.S. schools and libraries break the digital divide. We have been serving the education market for over 30 years, providing technology and IT support to schools and understand the unique and ever-changing needs in the EdTech space.
As a fully registered provider with the E-Rate Program and a registered within the System for Award Management (SAM), 2NDGEAR is ready to provide ECF- eligible products and solutions such as new and refurbished laptops, tablets, and broadband equipment – as soon as you need them, wherever you need them.
Take a Deeper Dive into ECF with 2NDGEAR’s Podcast
Listen in on the discussion with our E-Rate program manager, Leslie Zaks, and a leading expert on E-Rate, Holly Davis as they talk about the Emergency Connectivity Fund.