What is E-Rate?
E-Rate is the Universal Service Schools and Libraries Program, a federal program to help schools and libraries enable digital learning. The program makes discounts and funding available for high-speed broadband, Wi-Fi and other communications technologies and services. It’s funded through the Universal Service Fund- a fee that all Americans pay on telecommunications services.
How does the E-Rate application process work?
Once you decide what you’d like to do with your E-Rate funds, file Form 470 to begin the bidding process for your proposed project. Vendors then have 28 days to bid on it. Once you choose a bid, file Form 471. After a review period, you will receive a Funding Commitment Decision Letter, after which your chosen vendor or service provider can start deploying services. The process takes 4-8 months from the time you file Form 471.
What kind 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.”