Governor Wolf announces $ 20 million to help schools and libraries bridge the digital divide

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Second round of federal funding is now open with $ 2 billion available

Governor Wolf announced today that $ 20.57 million has been awarded to 126 school entities and libraries as part of the first wave of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), and reminded schools that the second application window is now open.

Created by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund is considered the nation’s largest effort to ensure students have access to the digital devices and resources they need for life. school year. The program will also help libraries provide their clients with Internet connectivity and digital devices to continue their learning at home.

“We know that access to technology and the reliable internet help support our students’ learning when they are not on campus, however, the pandemic has only increased and exacerbated inequalities in access, ”Governor Wolf said. “The ECF program provides a valuable resource to help Commonwealth school entities and libraries create digital equity for all Pennsylvania students, no matter what city they live in. “

A total of $ 20.5 million was awarded to 126 applicants, including 86 school districts, 29 schools and 11 libraries. Of the total, $ 15.7 million will be used for equipment and $ 4.9 million will be spent on securing Internet service. Additional funds from the first and second FEC application cycles will be released weekly until all applications have been reviewed.

Applications for the second round of this program are accepted until October 13, 2021. During the application period, eligible schools, libraries and consortia of schools and libraries may submit funding requests for the purchase of equipment and services eligible between July 1. , 2021 and June 30, 2022. Those who applied for the first round and have additional unmet needs are eligible to apply again.

Eligible applicants should apply at www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org.

ECF is a program created to help eligible schools and libraries bridge the digital divide and the homework divide. The ECF, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is a temporary $ 7.17 billion program that will help cover costs associated with digital devices such as laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots. -Fi, modems, routers and broadband connectivity purchases for campus use by students, educators, and library patrons who currently do not have sufficient access to connected and broadband devices . The ECF will fund digital devices up to $ 400 per device.

“Public libraries play a key role in providing communities with access to the digital world and to educational resources,” said Education Secretary Dr Noe Ortega. “I am delighted that libraries will be able to continue this work through the ECF program and I am proud of the libraries that received resources in the first round of funding. “

For more information, visit the ECF website.

For more information on Pennsylvania education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


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