Digital Inclusion in the CARES Act

Digital Inclusion in the CARES Act

Federal Updates

The recently passed CARES Act has several provisions related to elements of digital inclusion. IEI will continue to review this legislation and any future federal legislation on access to broadband, devices, and digital literacy.  The CARES Act includes:

  • $50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services to address digital divide during COVID-19 – These additional funds will allow for the expansion of digital network access, purchasing Internet access devices, and providing technical support services to their communities.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded access to telehealth services for people with Medicare. Also, CMS will pay for more than 80 additional services when furnished via telehealth. 
  • Telehealth – $15 million for supplemental grants to existing grantees to expand telemedicine capacity.

In addition, the CARES Act includes funding for Emergency Education Relief grants that will provide:

  1. Emergency support to institutions of higher education serving students who have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus so those institutions can continue to provide educational services and support, and
  2. Support to any other institution of higher education, local educational agency, or education-related entity that the Governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services to students for authorized activities described in section 18003(d)(1) of this title or the Higher Education Act, the provision of child care and early childhood education, social and emotional support, and the protection of education-related jobs.

Some of these funds can be used to provide cash grants to students to prevent the disruption of their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including technology to participate in online learning.