Since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen a swell in federal funding allocated for education technology and digital equity initiatives. Through multiple rounds of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) and other emergency relief efforts, billions of dollars have been allocated to safely connect students to the Internet off-campus.
Spring 2023 has brought a number of updates to some of the most valuable sources of EdTech funding, including the ECF program and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program. These have a wide range of implications, from impacting service delivery deadlines and providing new opportunities to adjust your funding allocations to jeopardizing unobligated funds.
Here’s what you need to know.
Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF): Service Delivery Deadline Extension
Since the inception of the $7.171 billion ECF program, under the umbrella of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress has allocated billions to schools, districts, and libraries looking to support their students and patrons with devices and/or Internet connectivity.
On May 12th, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the Request for Waiver jointly filed by the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) and Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) requesting an extension to the ECF service delivery deadline. Instead of December 31, 2023, most applicants will now have until June 30, 2024, to use services purchased with ECF dollars.