On Monday, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that schools can begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant. A total of $50 million will be allocated through the federal to help provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.
Invitations to apply were sent to all Ohio public and non-public school entities on Aug. 10. Schools can apply for this grant opportunity at https://ohio-k12.help/broadbandohio-connectivity-grant/. Act quickly; the application period will close next Friday, Aug. 21. Grants will be reviewed and processed during the week of Aug. 24 and awardees will be notified the following week.
Based on feedback from various groups urging that the initial matching grant requirement would create a barrier for districts, it was subsequently removed from the program. Many school districts have already begun to make purchases for the upcoming school year and, as a result, purchases made since July 1 of this year are eligible for support from this program.
Each application is limited to a $250,000 request. If total eligible requests exceed $50 million, the final award amount will be prorated. So, to help schools make the best purchasing decisions, internet providers have begun to list their equipment and pricing information in one centralized location through a Request for Information. Visit procure.ohio.gov to review the RFI.
The Ohio Department of Education has an extensive FAQ listed on their website along with a list of eligible groups/expenses and ineligible expenses.