Emergency Connectivity Fund Application Information

On June 15, 2021 the FCC announced the initial filing window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $7.17 billion program that will help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.

From June 29, 2021 to August 13, 2021, eligible schools and libraries can apply for financial support to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connectivity to serve the unmet needs for off-campus use by students, school staff and library patrons during the COVID-19 emergency period. During this application filing window, eligible schools and libraries, in addition to consortia of schools and libraries, can submit requests for funding to purchase eligible equipment and services between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

The FCC Fact Sheet on the program is available here.

Filing an Application

The Emergency Connectivity Fund is a $7.17 billion program funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help schools and libraries support remote learning.

  • The Program will provide funding to all schools for the reasonable costs of eligible equipment and services that can be provided to students, teachers, and library patrons who lack connected devices, such as laptop or tablet computers, and/or lack broadband access during the pandemic.
  • Schools must certify that they are only seeking support for eligible equipment and/or services provided to students and school staff who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and/or broadband services sufficient to engage in remote learning.

The ECF will follow much of the application process for the regular E-rate program. Applicants do not have to have participated in the E-rate program to apply for the ECF. All need to follow the application and guidance directives summarized below. For complete application details consult the FCC website.

Application Window

  • The initial 45-day application filing window opened on June 29, 2021. During this initial 45 day application filing window, eligible schools and libraries may submit requests for funding for the reasonable costs associated with eligible equipment and services purchased between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

How to Apply

Registration for FRN

  • To participate, schools and libraries must have an active FCC Funding Request Number (FRN).
  • Schools, libraries, and service providers can obtain an FCC Registration Number by visiting the FCC’s Commission Registration System (CORES) and completing the registration process.
  • E-rate applicants that are already registered in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) will get access to the new ECF Portal with their existing credentials through One Portal, USAC’s multifactor authentication system.
  • USAC is also copying all existing E-rate entity numbers (also known as billed entity numbers or BENs) and their associated entities and their information into the ECF Portal.
  • Applicants will have access to both EPC and the ECF Portal through One Portal and can apply for funding through the ECF Portal with their existing credentials and entity information.

Registration for SAM number

  • Schools, libraries, and service providers who agree to invoice on behalf of applicants must also have a SAM.gov registration to be able to receive program support.
  • However, if the vendor uses the Service Provider Invoice (SPI form) to invoice for payment, instead of the school doing so, the FCC ruled that those schools will not be required to register in the SAM.gov portal.
  • All Catholic schools should not apply for direct reimbursement; having the vendor do so avoids the school becoming a direct recipient of federal funds.

School Eligibility

  • Schools must meet the statutory definition of elementary and secondary schools in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 7801).
  • An elementary school is a non-profit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school, that provides elementary education, as determined under state law.
  • A secondary school is a non-profit institutional day or residential school, including a public secondary charter school, that provides secondary education, as determined under state law, except that such term does not include any education beyond grade 12.
  • Schools must be not-for-profits and have an endowment that does not exceed $50 million.
  • Schools and libraries eligible for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program do not need to be current E-Rate participants.
  • Eligible entities that have not applied for E-Rate support should be prepared to demonstrate eligibility as a school or library under the Program rules during USAC’s application review.

Request Funding

  • Applicants file an ECF FCC Form 471 (Description of Services Ordered and Certification Form) to request funding for Emergency Connectivity Fund Program eligible products and/or services to be purchased.
  • Reasonable support costs: details are found on the FAQs page.
  • Applicants must provide detailed descriptions of services including costs and dates of service or equipment, service provider information, and certify compliance with program rules.
  • File the ECF FCC Form 471 online in the ECF Portal. Access your ECF Portal account by logging in to One Portal.
  • For step-by-step filing guidance on the ECF FCC Form 471, watch the ECF FCC Form 471 E-learning module.

Additional resources to assist with the application process

Before You Begin review this site.

FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund website

Emergency Connectivity Fund FAQs | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)