In recent times, distance learning has become more normalized than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet with classrooms across the nation needing to adjust to remote learning to receive a quality education, it can be difficult for schools to have the proper funding to implement distance learning initiatives.
Shifting to virtual classrooms has provided many students with more resources to keep them from falling behind, however, the homework gap and digital divide has continued to widen thus increasing the need for more funding and support to sustain remote learning moving forward.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has passed a new law that supports an existing E-Rate Program for schools to take advantage of called the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF Program). This program provides a total of over $7 billion in funding to focus specifically on connectivity issues with students and educators.
What does the ECF Program provide?
The ECF Program will provide funding for devices like Chromebooks, laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, routers, and more for students and staff to take advantage of both on and off campus.
What devices are covered through the ECF Program?
The goal through this program is to provide equipment to students and teachers to use in both school and home settings, so devices to be used solely at schools are not eligible. The following devices qualify for the ECF Program:
- Connected devices (like Chromebooks, laptops, tablets)
- Wi-Fi Hotspots
- Devices that combine both modem and router
What devices are NOT covered?
The following devices are not covered by the ECF Program:
- Desktop computers (like Chromebox)
- Video-conferencing devices (like Google Jamboard)
Is there a funding cap for the ECF Program?
While there is no specific funding cap for the ECF Program, prices and services must be reviewed and approved by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
The USAC is responsible for reviewing and approving requests regarding ECF funding as follows:
- $250 for Wi-Fi hotspots
- $400 for all other eligible devices
How to apply for the ECF Program?
The application window for ECF funding opened on June 29, 2021 and the first funding application window will last for 45 days. From June 29 to August 13, eligible schools and libraries can apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons during the COVID-19 emergency period. During this application filing window, eligible schools and libraries, in addition to school/library consortia, can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.
More information about the program is available at emergencyconnectivityfund.org, including information about how to apply. Schools and libraries can sign up to receive programs updates and information about future training sessions. Help with program questions is also available by calling 800- 234-9781 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.
When applying for ECF funding for CTL devices, you’ll need CTL’s ‘SPIN’ number. This number is registered to ‘Computer Technology Link Corp.’: CTL’s SPIN number is 143044082
CTL special offers for ECF devices
Don’t miss out on special offers from CTL that make it even easier to get the right devices for the ECF Program. Here is special pricing on CTL devices that qualifies each Chromebook or hotspot device for the ECF Program per the previously stated requirements above.
- CTL NL71L Chromebook with Google Education Upgrade license for $329 (LTE Ready - Bring your own data plan, or add one year of Kajeet unlimited data for $263)
- CTL NL81T Chromebook with Google Education Upgrade license for $399
- Hotspot: Need a hotspot to pair with each Chromebook? Add a hotspot for LTE devices through CTL for $95.97. This is available with a Kajeet Hotspot Unlimited data plan for $263 for 12-months of service.
Want to learn more about the ECF Program and how to buy eligible devices through CTL? Choose from the latest Chromebooks and laptops available at ctl.net or contact us if interested in bulk purchasing.