FCC and U.S. Department of Education Promote Education Stabilization Fund for Remote Learning

 

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Education announced efforts to promote the use of $16 billion in funding from the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act’s Education Stabilization Fund for remote learning. The agencies will work with governors, states, and local school districts as they leverage funding to best help students learning from home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the CARES Act, the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund provides more than $13 billion in grants that elementary and secondary schools can use for purposes that include remote learning.  More specifically, the CARES Act states that local educational agencies (LEAs) may use the funding for “[p]urchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity).”  The application for such funds provides that, “The SEA (state education agency) must assure that, when applicable, it will provide technical assistance to LEAs on the use of ESSER funds for remote learning. . .” It also indicates the U.S. Secretary of Education’s interest in reporting on the use of funds to address “the digital divide, including securing access to home-based connectivity and remote-use devices. . .”

In addition, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund makes approximately $3 billion in emergency block grants available to governors to decide how to best meet the needs of students.  The application for such funds requests governors include information on the extent that a governor intends to use GEER funds “to establish, develop, improve, or expand the availability, accessibility, capacity, and use of remote learning techniques and technologies,” especially for students with disabilities and students from low-income families.  It also indicates the Secretary’s interest in reporting on the use of funds to support remote learning.

As part of the FCC’s collaboration with the Department of Education, the FCC will publicize CARES Act resources available to governors, states, local school districts, and schools, including identifying service providers in their areas that may be able to quickly provide broadband connectivity and devices to support remote learning.  For example, hundreds of broadband service providers have signed Chairman Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, and many have agreed to go above and beyond those commitments to ensure that communities and schoolchildren are connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For updates on the FCC’s wide array of actions to keep consumers connected during the coronavirus pandemic, visit https://www.fcc.gov/coronavirus.  For more information on Chairman Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Initiative, visit https://www.fcc.gov/keepamericansconnected.

The Department of Education continues to update ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following websites: coronavirus.gov, cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, and usa.gov/coronavirus.

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