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FCC and U.S. Department of Education Promote Remote Education So Students Can Continue Learning



FCC Media Contact:

Press Office, (202) 418-2156


ED Media Contact:   

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For Immediate Release



Agencies to Collaborate on Efforts to Keep America’s Students Connected During Coronavirus Pandemic


WASHINGTON, April 27, 2020—The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Education today 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.


“Extended school closures due to COVID-19 have led to unprecedented disruption of K-12 education in this country,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “Schools have had to change the way they teach and parents and students are trying to adapt to learning from home.  Fortunately, Congress has provided $16 billion in funding through the CARES Act to help schools equip their students with the broadband connectivity, laptops, and tablets they need to learn at home.  This is important for two reasons: It’s a massive amount of funding that can be used for remote learning, and it can be disbursed and put to use immediately.  I strongly urge the nation’s governors, state education agencies, and local school districts to take this opportunity to help keep America’s students connected during this pandemic.  I appreciate Secretary DeVos’s commitment to remote learning, and we look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that school districts know about this opportunity and how it can help students, especially those whose families could not otherwise afford remote learning tools.  At the same time, the FCC will continue to work with Congress on dedicated funds to support home-based connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.”


U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos added, “During this unprecedented time, many students are distance learners and many teachers are distance educators for the very first time.  That’s why we’ve prioritized getting the extraordinarily flexible emergency education funding in the CARES Act to state and local leaders as quickly as possible.  This funding really empowers them to do the right thing for students and teachers to ensure they have the tools they need for learning to continue.  In many cases, that means access to laptops, tablets and connectivity to the internet.  I appreciate Chairman Pai’s leadership on this issue and for working with us to ensure students can continue to learn.” 


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  For more information on Chairman Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Initiative, visit


The Department of Education continues to update 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:, and



Media Relations: (202) 418-0500 / ASL: (844) 432-2275 / TTY: (888) 835-5322 / Twitter: @FCC /


This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action.  Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.  See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

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