Technology & Connectivity Funding Support
State and Federal Connectivity & Technology Funding
The Learning Technology Center provides support to schools as they apply for and utilize state and federal and state funding for technology initiatives.
We provide complimentary support for federal and state funding initiatives, encompassing identification of funding sources, guidance on eligible funding solutions, and assistance with application submission.
Federal Funding Programs
E-Rate funding is a federal program that provides school districts with financial assistance to afford internet and telecommunications services, offering discounts based on economic need and location. This support enables schools to enhance their technology infrastructure, ensuring equitable access to modern educational resources for students and educators.
Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)
The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a federal program established to support schools and libraries in providing necessary technology and connectivity to students, teachers, and library patrons for off-campus use. Aimed at closing the digital divide exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECF funds the purchase of laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, and broadband connectivity, ensuring that education and access to information continue uninterrupted.
State Funding Programs
The Learning Technology Center champions state funding initiatives for statewide broadband expansion and technology adoption.
Illinois Century Network (ICN) K-12 Broadband Network
Illinois has funded a secure K-12 Broadband Network, providing free Internet access and essential services to all public school districts. Aimed at eliminating access barriers, this initiative guarantees that every school has the bandwidth needed for students, faculty, and administration. Benefits include Internet, broadband connections, WAN circuits, router upgrades, and comprehensive security services at no cost.
ISBE E-rate State Matching Program
The E-rate State Matching Program reimburses districts for fiber construction costs, matching federal funds to boost educational access and student achievement. Following the FCC’s December 2014 rules, this program can match up to 10% of state funds for connecting schools and libraries to high-speed broadband, aligning with FCC broadband goals.
For proposals, districts must submit FCC Form 470 and the decision-making rubric. Requests for special construction, including leased lit fiber, dark fiber, or self-provisioned projects, should also include the relevant Federal E-rate RFP and a project synopsis with vendor selection justification.
Information on the IL State Matching Grant is available on the ISBE Broadband page under ‘E-Rate State Matching Grant’. The Learning Technology Center offers additional E-Rate support, workshops, and writing guides for the grant, accessible by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.