Educational Technology Federal Programs
The federal programs listed below provide funding for internet and device access for students, teachers, and families (dependent on the program). See the following for details on each program.
E-rate is a tiered system of reimbursement, for which OSPI applies on behalf of all K-12 schools connected to the K-20 network. In addition, districts and libraries also apply for the E-rate discount to lower the cost of telecom and network data services.
The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a $7.17 billion program that provides 100% funding to schools for connected devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, and/or broadband access for students and teachers during the pandemic. This program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
School districts in the State of Washington have received over $100M in funding commitments from the program so far. For a summary of funding requested by districts, and the total number of devices and connections to be funded, please review the School District Funding Summary.
ECF3 Funding Priority
The School District Funding Summary contains a table that lists the 10 funding priority categories, and the projected likelihood of funding, along with details regarding the number of applications, requests for funding, and funding commitments to date for each category.
While the FCC has not yet announced how many of the 10 identified priority bands will receive funding, it appears that all applicants with 50 – 100% NSLP eligibility will be fully funded.
Be sure to check out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for all requirements and details on keeping inventory records of purchases and services in the event of an audit. Please review the following reminders about records retention:
- Need to document students and school staff served at each location.
- Retain information for 10 years from the last date of service or delivery of equipment.
- Must also document missing, lost, or damaged equipment.
For nearly all applicants, the deadline to submit invoices to USAC is Aug 29, 2023.
- The requests for reimbursement must be submitted within 60 days from the date of the funding commitment decision letter. This includes a revised funding commitment decision letter approving a post-commitment change or a successful appeal of previously denied or reduced funding, or a service delivery date; whichever is later.
- The FCC released an Order, directing USAC to use June 30, 2023, as the service delivery date for all requests for equipment, other non-recurring services, and recurring services submitted during the first and second Emergency Connectivity Fund Program application filing windows. This effectively made August 29, 2023, the invoice deadline for applicants, with a limited exception for those who have RFCDLs dated after June 30, 2023.
In order to receive payment, districts must have a valid SAM.gov account.
Vendor invoice detail must match ECF FCC Forms 471/472/474.
- USAC requires that proof of delivery be provided with all requests for reimbursement for equipment. This can be provided by uploading the packing slips for the equipment or proof of delivery of shipments. Make sure that all supporting documentation has the date of delivery listed.
- If there has been a change to the items ordered or the vendor providing the items, you must complete a Post Commitment Change Request with USAC prior to submitting the invoice.
If you need assistance with invoice submission or have questions, please contact Susan Tenkhoff
ECF Payment Request Resources
- Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) request checklist
- Service Provider Invoice (SPI) reimbursement request checklist
- ECF Program Data Tool
What is an unmet need?
The FCC intends ECF to be an emergency connectivity program to meet unmet needs, not an optimal one-on-one connectivity program. There will be other state-funded grant opportunities (HB 1365) for one-on-one programs to continue to close the homework gap.
Is there assistance available?
OSPI’s State E-Rate Coordinator, Susan Tenkhoff, is working in partnership with Educational Service Districts (ESDs) and the Procurement and Strategic Planning Lead, to assist districts to facilitate the ECF application process.
What support will be provided?
Support will include assistance with strategic planning, providing resources to support data collection, and assisting with creating and submitting ECF applications.
What happens after the application is completed?
After the application is completed, support will include guidance on purchases to ensure alignment with agreements and funding requirements, collaboration with ESD staff in the successful delivery of goods and services in accordance with ECF rules, reimbursement requests, and training.
Can't find what you're looking for? Review a full list of Emergency Connectivity Fund Support Frequently Asked Questions!
The Educational Technology team at OSPI will:
- Continue to support districts with ECF application questions, and assist with the post-application procurement process and paperwork requirements.
- Collaborate with the ESD team and other state agencies to implement House Bill (HB) 1365 Digital Equity & Inclusion Grants
- Identify districts with unmet one-on-one device needs, who were unable to apply for ECF funds.
- Identify districts that requested above the eligible ECF expenses and have demonstrated support needs.
- Collaborate with the ESD team to provide assistance with data collection and support districts with implementation and planning.
The Educational Service Districts (ESDs) and the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD) will:
- Provide guidance and leadership to the ESD team and collaborate with the OSPI. (AESD)
- Directly support districts with professional development and assist with procurement needs. (Educational Technology Coordinators)
- Leverage DES contracts to maximize savings for technology purchases. (ESD Procurement Team)
Statewide Procurement Support
Statewide Procurement support is a collaboration between OSPI, the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), and the nine Educational Service Districts (ESDs) across Washington state. To learn more about technology procurement and support available for your district watch the Procurement Support webinar and review the Procurement Support presentation.
As of January 1, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transitioned the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Learn more at the EBB transition to ACP website.
ACP is limited to one monthly service discount and one device per eligible household. To find out about eligibility, please reference the ACP eligibility qualifications.
- ACP provides an internet service discount of up to $30 per month for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households qualifying on Tribal lands.
- Eligible households that can contribute more than $10 and less than $50 to the purchase price of a laptop, desktop computer, or table can also receive a one-time discount from participating companies of up to $100 to purchase a device.
If your family is not currently receiving internet access, we encourage you to enroll directly in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) using one of the following options:
- Visit the Affordable Connectivity Program website to submit an online ACP application or print out a mail-in application.
- Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
Do you have more questions? Please visit the ACP Consumer FAQ page for more information.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is now offering eligible households high-speed internet (100Mbps download) for $30 a month with no additional out-of-pocket costs.
There are 3 ways families can qualify:
- Income of 200% or less than the federal poverty guidelines
- Program participation (such as Free Reduced Lunch Program eligible, or SNAP, etc.), or
- Meeting the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income internet program
What families need to know about this new ACP opportunity:
For those that meet the eligibility requirements:
- $30 guaranteed plan download speed of 100 Mbps
- 20 providers to choose from
- New or existing internet plans
- 3 ways to qualify