Gov. Wolf announces $20 Million to close digital divide in schools and libraries

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(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

HARRISBURG — On Friday, Governor Wolf announced the second window for schools and libraries to apply for funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is now open.

The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund was created through the American Rescue Plan Act to help students access the digital devices and resources they need for the school year. The program will also help libraries offer their patrons internet connectivity and digital devices to continue their learning at home.

“We know that access to technology and reliable internet help support our students’ learning when they’re not on campus, however, the pandemic has only increased and exacerbated inequities in access,” said Governor Wolf. “The ECF program is providing a valuable resource to help school entities and libraries across the commonwealth create digital equity for all of Pennsylvania’s students, no matter what city or town they call home.”

In the first wave of funding, a total of $20.57 million was awarded to 126 applicants including 86 school districts, 29 schools, and 11 libraries. Of the total, $15.7 million will be used for equipment and $4.9 million will be directed to securing internet service. Additional funding from the first and second ECF application cycles will be released weekly until all applications have been reviewed.

Applications for the second round of this program are being accepted from now until October 13. During the application filing window, eligible schools and libraries can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services they will receive before June 30, 2022. Those who applied for the first round who have additional unmet needs are eligible to reapply.

Eligible applicants should apply HERE. For more information, visit the ECF website.

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