7.2 Billion Dollar Fund Opened Up to Connect Students and Libraries to Faster Internet

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As of June 29, 2021, libraries and schools have the option to apply for funding that’s been set aside by the Federal Communications Commission in order to purchase equipment that can benefit students. Items that can be purchased include routers, laptops, modems, and hot spots. The goal is to try to get as many students online as possible so that everyone is on the same field when it comes to learning and turning in assignments in the event that students are unable to go to school. The FCC has set aside over $7 billion for this purpose. The equipment would be used by students, teachers, and other staff of the schools and libraries away from the campus.

Details
The money is part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund. This fund is part of the American Rescue Plan that was passed earlier in 2021. When teachers and other staff members started seeing that students were falling behind when schools were shut down during the pandemic, the government knew that something had to be done to try to close the learning gap so that students would be able to succeed no matter where they live or how much the family made.

Funding
Those who are interested in applying for funds that are available have 45 days to complete the paperwork so that equipment can be ordered before the new school year begins and so that any expenses that need to be paid for the school year are covered in plenty of time.

Benefits
Before the pandemic, many teachers were assigning work that needed to be completed online or that needed some kind of internet research which include streaming videos in order for it to be completed. However, a third of households haven’t had access to the proper broadband connection so that students can complete their assignments. This program can help bring the number of students who need access to internet services down to a much lower level so that more people can complete their wstreaming videosork.

Some students have had to sit in restaurants that offer Wi-Fi services just to finish their homework assignments. Others have had to go to school campuses or libraries to use internet services. However, schools and libraries have only been open for certain hours, which has made it difficult for some parents to make sure their students get to these locations. Future Ready is a nonprofit agency that often talks to families to see what they need during the school year. The organization has learned that almost 17 million students in the country don’t have broadband access at home. Students that were unable to go to libraries or school campuses sometimes had to sit in their cars in areas where there was a Wi-Fi source when schools were closed during the pandemic or when parents didn’t feel safe sending their children to school.

Other Programs
Another program offered by the FCC is called E-Rate. This program has funding that schools and libraries can apply for as well to help with broadband connections. Facilities would need to purchase the equipment and use it on the campus instead of using it away from the school or library. The FCC has already assisted in making telehealth programs better for those who need medical help at home. Now, students will have the opportunity to boost their education in the same manner.