E-Rate FAQ

How much of discount can my school get? 

E-Rate discounts range from 20% to 85% of eligible project costs. Discounts are district wide, and an applicant’s discount rate is determined by the percentage of students that qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Why should I apply now? 

There is at least $6 billion in available funds for fiscal year 2019. Even if you’ve already used some E-Rate funds, many schools still have budget remaining since the E-Rate budget was previously expanded. All unused, previously allocated funds will be forfeited. When it comes to E-Rate, “use it or lose it.

Does a portion of my funding need to be spent on managed services? 

No. The E-Rate program is technology neutral. The FCC doesn’t show preference for one type of technology over another. Applicants can request funds that best suit their needs and environment. The E-Rate program is voluntary for K-12 Schools in the U.S.

Can school districts pool funding allocation and distribute where they choose?

Each individual school has a Category 2 budget. Districts may not average their costs across multiple schools. Non-Instructional Facilities (NIF) do not have a C2 budget, eligible services must be deducted from sites they serve. Category 2 pre-discount budgets will be auto calculated and tracked on the new 471 application. 

Does my school have to purchase Wi-Fi with E-Rate?

All components on the Eligible Service List can be requested in any combination. While high-speed Wi-Fi classroom connectivity has been the driving factor, many Internal Connections components are critical to deployments. If a school district has recently deployed Wi-Fi, they may have needs for cabling, POE or other eligible components. 

Can schools with full participation in free lunch qualify for E-Rate?

CEP (community eligibility program) schools can participate. Alternative discount methods are available. Program offered by NSLP, direct certification into program, no forms to fill out. CEP sites will be auto calculated on the 471 application. Schools that don’t participate in National School Lunch Program are also eligible. USAC has guidance for Alternative Discount Methods.