On April 24, 2020, Funds For Learning published a whitepaper summarizing the projected costs and minor regulatory changes which could enable the existing E-rate program to support at-home learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. If Congress were to provide $5.25 billion and the FCC slightly alters a couple of program rules, the E-rate could safely and quickly support a total of $7.5 billion in Internet connectivity, devices, and security:
  • $4.29 billion for off‐campus Internet connections,
  • $1.79 billion for connected learning devices, such as laptops, and,
  • $1.46 billion for cybersecurity to keep networks up and running.
A July 2019 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report estimated that 48% of US households with an annual income of $25,000 or less lacked Internet access - an estimated 7.15 million families. By leveraging E-rate, Congress can maximize the use of stimulus funding while ensuring that all K-12 students nationwide have access to safe, full-time educational resources.
The whitepaper may be downloaded here.