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Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) “Homework Gap” Rules Clarified

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a FAQ that addresses common questions and uncertainties about the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. K-12 schools and public libraries can begin submitting ECF applications on June 29, 2021, for 100% reimbursement of off-campus internet access and connected learning devices, subject to certain requirements. The new FAQ clarifies several significant issues applicants have raised and provides clear answers to their questions, such as:

  • “Equipment and services can be ordered before July 1, 2021, but they cannot be received, delivered, or paid for before July 1, 2021”
  • “…connected devices may be leased, but the cost of the leased devices must be reasonable.”
  • “…equipment and services are eligible if needed to meet the remote learning needs of students, such as homework, or school staff who would otherwise lack sufficient access to connected devices and/or a broadband internet access connection while off campus.”
  • “If a device is no longer sufficient for a student to engage in remote learning, ECF support can be used to provide a new device.”

The full FAQ is available on the FCC website here. The initial round of ECF funding applications closes on August 13, 2021.

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