The NJSBA is committed to assisting its members in pursuing funding support through the Federal Communications Commission’s recently unveiled Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), which has been created in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is designed to help close the homework gap. Please review the following fact sheet.

The more than $7 billion in the ECF will provide funding support to schools and libraries nationwide for tablets, laptop computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, other devices, and broadband internet access to better serve students.

Please note: There is a 45-day application window slated to begin in mid-to-late June.

Information Session NJSBA TEC partner, E-rate Consulting, Inc., is offering a webinar at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 to explain the program’s rules, help determine a district’s eligibility for the ECF support and provide tips for a successful application process.

The following items may be eligible for 100% funding support under the ECF Program:

  • Laptops, tablets, or similar end-user devices, with a $400 limit per connected device.
  • Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and combination equipment.
  • Advanced telecommunications and information services.

Desktop computers, smartphones, and equipment repairs are not eligible.

According to ECF rules, districts need not complete any mandated competitive bid process. However, they must certify compliance with state and local procurement requirements in their applications.

The first round of funding will address prospective purchases of eligible equipment to be made between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.  If funds remain, the FCC may open up applications for purchases of eligible equipment made previously between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.