Stitt launches Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Kevin Stitt on Aug. 12 announced that the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet initiative is available to Oklahoma families. Bridge the Gap is a new initiative that will connect up to 5,000 low income Oklahoma families with $1,500 grants to purchase materials for students ahead of the 2020-21 school year.
Bridge the Gap is expected to allocate $8 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund to provide Oklahoma families who fall below the federal poverty line with access to purchase technology, materials or supplies.
“As our students face disruptions caused by COVID-19, and more schools are turning to distance learning this new school year, we must ensure all students, no matter their financial situation, have the supplies necessary to access their schoolwork,” Stitt said. “Bridge the Gap puts the power in Oklahoma families’ hands to choose what materials are most necessary to make sure their students are academically successful. This could be buying new technology, accessing online curriculum, or buying books and supplies for learning at home. We’re proud to offer this program that provides parents with the flexibility they need in order to meet the needs of their individual student.”
Families must submit an application online. Families who meet the federal low-income level guidelines of less than $26,200 per year for a family of four will be given priority to receive a Bridge the Gap grant.
“Bridge the Gap’s easy and secure access to funds will be essential in providing Oklahoma students with an opportunity to eliminate financial barriers that may prevent a successful distance learning school year,” Justin Brown, secretary of Human Services and of Early Childhood Initiatives, said. “By having access to these funds, lower income students and families no longer have to worry about their child falling behind on their schoolwork due to a lack of access to technological and educational resources.”
Bridge the Gap is administered by Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, an education-focused organization. EKCO will award the grants to up to 5,000 Oklahoma families on a first-come, first-served basis. This effort is made possible through a partnership with ClassWallet, an online vendor that will connect Oklahoma families with more than 30 options for choosing education materials, supplies, technology and books.
The grant application is available at everykidcountsok.org/digital-wallet
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