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Funds For Learning Commends FCC Approval of Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program

New Initiative to Provide $200 Million in Funding for Enhanced Cybersecurity Measures in Educational Institutions

On June 6, 2024, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve the Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program. This three-year initiative aims to bolster the cybersecurity defenses of school and library broadband networks by providing up to $200 million in Universal Service Fund support. The program will fund advanced firewalls, endpoint protection, identity authentication, and monitoring systems, ensuring these critical institutions can better protect themselves against cyber threats.

In response Funds For Learning issued the following statement from CEO John Harrington: 

“This is a landmark moment for schools and libraries across the nation. The cybersecurity threats facing our educational institutions are significant. This pilot program represents a crucial step in providing the resources necessary to safeguard sensitive information and maintain secure, reliable access to digital learning tools.”

Cybersecurity in education is not just about protecting data; it’s about safeguarding our children’s future and ensuring a safe, uninterrupted learning environment for all. We commend the FCC for acknowledging the urgency of these issues and taking initial steps to address the cybersecurity concerns of E-rate applicants. 

Funds For Learning is dedicated to supporting the Commission’s commitment to enhancing the efficacy of the E-rate program, ensuring that our nation’s K-12 schools and public libraries have the robust protections needed against rising cyber threats.”

In Funds For Learning’s annual E-rate Applicant Survey, over the past six years, more than 95% of respondents believe cybersecurity products and services should be eligible for E-rate support. In the 2023 survey, over 100 applicants shared their individual opinions about the need for cybersecurity.

Additional details on the Cybersecurity Pilot Program include:

  • Funding Allocation: The program will allocate funds based on a per-student and per-library location budget, with school budgets set at $13.60 per student and library budgets at $15,000 per location.
  • Application Process: Participants will be selected through an application process modeled after the current E-rate system, ensuring a streamlined and familiar procedure for applicants.
  • Eligibility: Funds will be available for four general categories of technology, including advanced and next-generation firewalls, endpoint protection, identity protection and authentication, and monitoring, detection, and response.
  • Total Demand: It is estimated that the program’s demand could reach $823.4 million, highlighting educational institutions’ significant need for enhanced cybersecurity measures.

Funds For Learning will host a webinar on June 12th to discuss the application process, eligibility criteria and how to maximize the benefits of the Cyber Security Pilot Program. 

  • Date: June 12, 2024
  • Time: [11:00] AM Eastern Time

The Funds For Learning team is saving time for a handful of interviews over the next few days. To coordinate an interview, please contact madison.lee@finnpartners.com. For more information on the Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program, visit https://www.fundsforlearning.com/cybersecurity-pilot/.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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