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NEW | Download our Federal Funding for K-12 Home Connectivity Matrix

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EducationSuperHighway was founded with the mission of upgrading the Internet access in every public school classroom in America. In 2013, only 10% of students had access to digital learning in their classrooms. Today, thanks to an unprecedented bi-partisan effort by federal, state, and school district leaders, supported by K-12 advocacy organizations, 43 million students are connected, and 99.7% of America’s schools have a high-speed broadband connection.

In 2020, the pandemic made it clear that without home broadband, you are shut out of economic security and opportunity. We are now focused on bridging the digital divide and closing the homework gap in America’s most unconnected communities. We are funded entirely by philanthropy and do not charge states, school districts, or Internet Service Providers to participate in the K-12 Bridge to Broadband initiative.


BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

COVID-19 has laid bare our nation’s connectivity crisis. Americans are working, learning, and living almost exclusively online, but 29 million homes lack high-speed broadband. Without connectivity, families, students, and seniors are cut off from jobs, education, healthcare, and prosperity. The pandemic has made clear that home broadband is essential for economic security and opportunity.

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THE HOMEWORK GAP

For the 7-12 million students without reliable access to home Internet and devices – primarily students of color and those who come from low-income families – it has been nearly impossible to keep up with their better-connected classmates. It’s no longer just about students not being able to do their homework online — it’s about students not being able to learn outside the classroom.

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FUNDING FOR K-12 HOME CONNECTIVITY

There is no shortage of options for immediate and long-term funding for K-12 home connectivity solutions. Download our  Federal Funding for K-12 Home Connectivity Summary or get started using our Federal Funding for K-12 Home Connectivity Matrix

LONG-TERM FUNDING SPECIFIC FOR K-12 HOME CONNECTIVITY
  • The American Rescue Plan was signed into law on Mar 11, 2021. The $1.9 trillion package includes $7.2 billion to be added to the E-rate program. This will reimburse school districts 100% for home connectivity purchases for K-12 households through one year after the formal end of the pandemic.
  • US DOE’s Title IV, Part A ($1.2 billion in annual funding) can be used for connectivity purchases.

EMERGENCY FEDERAL FUNDING FOR K-12 THAT CAN BE USED FOR HOME CONNECTIVITY
  • In addition to the unused funds from CARES Act’s ESSER I and GEER I, the CRRSA Act, signed into law in Dec 2020, provides school districts and states $54 billion in ESSER II and $4 billion in GEER II for flexible funding that can be used for K-12 home connectivity purchases. 
  • The American Rescue Plan also includes an additional $130 billion in flexible K-12 funding.

OTHER FUNDING THAT CAN BE USED TO HELP CLOSE THE HOMEWORK GAP
  • There are funding sources to address the affordability divide — $3.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. See the step-by-step guide we created with ExcelinEd for how states can increase awareness, participation, and enrollment of student households in this program.
  • To ensure infrastructure is built out to all Americans — $20.4 billion in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and NTIA grant programs for Tribal Broadband ($1 billion) and Minority communities ($285 million).

EducationSuperHighway will provide guidance on the specific rules of these programs once they are available; however, two things are clear:

  1. There is ample funding available to close the homework gap. 
  2. States and school districts with an understanding of which students are unconnected will be well-positioned to leverage these funding streams.

 


 

RESOURCES & REPORTS

FCC FILED COMMENTS

EMERGENCY CONNECTIVITY FUND

EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFIT PROGRAM

E-RATE


POLICY PAPERS


REPORTS