Taking Advantage of Annual Boosts to School IT Funding (E-Rate)
Taking Advantage of Annual Boosts to School IT Funding (E-Rate)
By DOF
February 17, 2023
The E-Rate program, also known as the Schools and Libraries Program, is a government-funded program in the United States that provides discounts on internet access and telecommunications services for eligible schools and libraries. The program was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1996 as part of the Telecommunications Act. It is designed to help schools and libraries obtain affordable access to modern information technology services, with the goal of enhancing educational opportunities and promoting digital literacy.

To apply for and receive E-Rate funding, eligible schools and libraries in the United States must follow these general steps:

  1. Obtain a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
  2. Create an account and fill out the necessary forms on the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) website, which is managed by USAC.
  3. Determine the school or library’s category of service and funding priorities, such as broadband internet access or internal connections.
  4. Submit a competitive bidding process (such as a Request for Proposal or Request for Quote) to select a qualified service provider that meets the program requirements.
  5. Complete and submit the E-Rate application form, including the relevant funding requests and documentation.
  6. Wait for USAC to review the application and issue a funding decision.
  7. If approved, work with the selected service provider to implement the approved services and file any necessary compliance forms and reports.

Note that the E-Rate program has specific rules and deadlines, and schools and libraries are responsible for complying with program requirements and regulations. It’s recommended to consult the USAC website or seek assistance from an E-Rate consultant or service provider for additional guidance.