Last Updated on March 11, 2023 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
This article explores the different computer grants available for schools that cannot afford to fund their own. Since we live in the age of a pandemic, we all need access to a computer for education. You can also look at our article about free laptops for students if you’re a college student in need of a computer. The Covid-19 pandemic forced teachers and students to adopt a new way of teaching and learning after it led to the closure of schools and other educational institutions worldwide.
Unfortunately, the transition from a traditional classroom setup to remote learning was made more challenging for some students. The reason is their lack of access to technology, raising the question of whether these students would fall behind.
If you or your child have been disadvantaged in a similar way by the pandemic, then you’ve come to the right place.
Below, you will find a list of federal agencies, private organizations, and grant programs. They can help you or your school get access to computers and other technology for educational purposes.
Computer Grants For schools
Secondhand Computers For Schools
Federal agencies and private foundations distribute preowned computers and related equipment to schools and educational non-profit organizations.
These computers are usually received from technology donors who have a surplus of electronic devices or who are looking to recycle electronic equipment that they no longer use.
Computers For Learning (CFL)
CFL is a federal program that aims to give every child in America access to modern computer technology in the classroom. It came about as a result of the implementation of Executive Order 12999.
The Educational Technology: Ensuring Opportunity for all Children in the Next Century.
The Order sees to it that any excess federal computer equipment that can be used for educational purposes is donated to schools and educational non-profit organizations in need.
Only schools and non-profit organizations based in the U.S. or one of the following locations can apply for donations from CFL. This includes the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
They must also be one of the following to qualify:
- A public, private, or parochial K-12 school
- A daycare centre with a state-approved preschool curriculum
- An accredited non-profit organization operating primarily for educational purposes
Digitunity is an initiative of the National Cristina Foundation. They are partnered with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. For over 30 years, it has facilitated the donation of secondhand computers and laptops from businesses and individuals to communities in need.
Its mission is to ensure that everyone has equal access to technology and to eliminate the digital divide. To qualify as a recipient of technology donations from Digitunity, applicant organizations must be engaged in education or employment for individuals who are:
- At-risk or marginalized
- Economically disadvantaged
- Experiencing homelessness or housing instability
- Justice Involved
- Older adults
Digitunity does not donate directly to individuals. Rather, it pairs technology donors with qualified organizations that redistribute the technology to individuals.
Computer Recycling Center (CRC)
The CRC provides individuals and businesses with a safe way to discard their electronic devices that are no longer in working condition. It also promotes sustainable practices by encouraging people to recycle their unwanted electronics. This means these parts can be refurbished and reused.
The CRC’s recycling program benefits schools and non-profit organizations. The reason is that it distributes the electronic equipment it receives from donors to communities in need.
Other Educational Technology And Computer Grants For Schools
These grants are awarded to schools and other educational institutions. Especially, when they do not have the means to equip their teachers and students with the technology required for digital learning.
Thus, the funds from these programs are for purchasing electronic devices, such as computers, laptops, and tablets. They are also used for acquiring other services that support digital learning. These can include installing an internet connection where there was none.
CARES Act Grant Programs
In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act came into effect. The Act provided funding to the U.S. Department of Education to support schools and institutes of higher education during the pandemic.
Four grant programs were in the CARES Act:
- Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grants, including Education Stabilization Fund-Rethink K-12 Education Models Grants and Education Stabilization Fund-Reimagining Workforce Preparation Grants
- Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund
- Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
Schools and other institutes of higher education can use CARES Act funding in a variety of ways. For example: purchasing educational technology for students for remote learning.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) grants are available to K-12 schools, post-secondary education institutions, and educational non-profit organizations.
These grants are aimed at supporting STEM learning in schools and encouraging the nation’s youth to develop their skills in science, technology, engineering, and maths.
The funds are for buying computers and other equipment that facilitate STEM learning. Teachers of STEM subjects and students interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields can apply for these grants.
The U.S. Department of Education has designed 12 programs to help K-12 schools and other higher education institutions to maximize their broadband connectivity.
These programs provide students with access to various broadband services. Services like mobile hotspot devices and data plans, as well as access to electronic devices (for example, tablets and computers).
E-rate is a program for schools and libraries that do not have access to the internet. It provides them with a range of products and services that helps them to get access to information and resources.
This program and the list of eligible services change every year to fund only products and services used for educational purposes.
To be considered as an applicant for the E-rate program, schools and libraries must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Schools must meet the statutory definition of what constitutes an “elementary” and “secondary” school. These set out in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
- Libraries must meet the statutory definition of a “library” or “library consortium”. These are stipulated in the Library Services and Technology Act of 1996
Catapult Technology Grants For Schools
The Innovative Technology Education Fund (ITEF) offers the annual Catapult Grant to teachers who want to implement digital learning in their classrooms but lack the technological infrastructure.
Thus, this grant is for equipping classrooms with basic technology. These techs are used to introduce students to a new, innovative way of teaching and learning. Therefore, encouraging them to become creative problem-solvers.
Only schools with qualifying zip codes in a particular service area are eligible for this grant. Applicant schools must also demonstrate a desire to begin using innovative teaching and learning methods with the help of technology and have a need for the basic technological infrastructure to implement it.
Conclusion About Computer And Technology Grants For Schools
The demand for computers, laptops, and tablets in schools has increased exponentially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many low- to moderate-income American households cannot afford these electronic devices, which were generally regarded as luxuries until recent years.
In response to the fact that these devices are becoming more and more essential for education and employment in our modern society, the U.S. government has developed a range of programs to assist those who do not have access to technology.
In addition, there are several federal agencies and private foundations that supply schools and various non-profit organizations with refurbished computers that they receive from technology donors in an effort to close the digital divide.
Please note that while you may not be able to get direct help from one of these computer recycling agencies or grant programs, you can recommend them to your school or non-profit organization.
This way, you’ll be helping other teachers, parents, and students in your community who may find themselves in the same boat.