Governor Steve Bullock today announced $8.7 million in federal grants will be distributed to education entities across the state to ramp up remote learning opportunities, technology infrastructure, and workforce training opportunities.
“Our teachers and professors across the state have remained committed to providing Montana students with a high quality education during these challenging times and this funding will provide schools and educators with the resources they need to continue doing so this fall,” Governor Bullock said. “Emergency grants will immediately address needs for students who may have fallen behind, upgrade critical technology infrastructure, and ensure students have access to remote learning opportunities.”
The U.S. Department of Education created the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and gave governors the authority to distribute the funds to local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other education related entities with emergency assistance to respond to COVID-19. Montana’s allocation from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund is $8,764,495. This funding is separate from the $1.25 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The Montana University System received $6.5 million in funding that will be used for the One-Two-Free program to offer free dual enrollment courses to high school students, fund technology upgrades, and offer workforce training.
The Montana Digital Academy received $230,000 to expand enrollment opportunities for students, extend remote proctoring services for credit recovery students, identify and address mathematics gains and barriers to prepare students for the fall, and provide EdReady Montana support for the ACT test.
Several colleges received funding for remote learning and technology upgrades. Carroll College received $500,000, Rocky Mountain College received $60,000, and the University of Providence received $30,000.
The Montana State Library received $500,000 to expand its mobile hotspot and mobile device lending programs.
Grants were evaluated based on need and criteria considered included if entities experienced revenues declines, if they already received other forms of assistance, and if funds would assist in ensuring students have equitable access to learning.
K-12 schools in Montana have already been allocated $41 million through the federal Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund. The remaining $944,495 will be reserved until the fall to address other potential issues that arise.