Updates to the E-Rate eligibility list and budgets have been released for the upcoming calendar year. If you are a school district or library looking to capitalize on federal funding to reach your technology goals for this year, E-Rate can be crucial funding. There are some important changes worth noting in the latest update. First, individual school budgets have been transferred to a district-wide budget. This means your district will be able to allocate the funding leveraged equipment toward any school site. This additional flexibility will come as a relief to many school systems.
Another important note from the new budget is that any Category 2 funds that are not spent by year-end will NOT carry over to 2021. This means that all spending from the funding year 2015-2019 will count against the 2020 budget but carry over will be issued regardless of what year you are into the cycle. All Category 2 budgets will be reset in 2021 at which point they all become fixed for the next 5 year period. This means you have until the end of the calendar year 2020 to use all of your E-Rate funding or it will be lost.
Increases in funding are another bright point of the updated plan. The funding floor has been increased to $25,000. This will allow applicants with 10 or fewer sites to select the greater of the floor number or student population when calculating district budgets. The per-student budget allocation will be $167 for schools and $4.50 per square foot in libraries.
Integrating these federally allocated funds for technology in schools and libraries is crucial to your district’s success. Even if you have exhausted funding available, make sure you are current on the discounts available to you using the discount matrix. The 471 window opens on January 23rd so time is short. The process for application and reimbursement can be tedious if you are not working with a qualified expert like OSI Technology.
For more information about the application process and how to recover your funds visit our E-Rate resource page.
For more than 20 years OSI Technology has been helping educators navigate the E-Rate system. Learn more about solutions that best serve your individual schools’ needs, how to maximize budget/discounts, and steer through the application process with one of our expert advisors. Schedule a consultation today using our online contact form or calls us at 800-677-1778. Click here for the full E-Rate Rules text from the FCC.