Full access to telecommunications and information resources makes possible the rich teaching and learning that take place in schools and libraries. For these institutions to provide the high level of service necessary for their students and patrons to participate fully in American society, the costs can be great. Telecommunications and Internet access, the hardware needed for assembling local networks, and maintenance of systems and machines can stretch budgets that are already under stress. The Universal Service Schools and Libraries Program, commonly known as the E-rate Program, helps schools and libraries obtain telecommunications and Internet access at affordable rates.
Eligible participants include public and most non-profit K-12 schools as well as all public and many private libraries. All program participants must carry out a competitive bidding process to select the most cost-effective companies to provide the goods and/or services requested. Funding may be requested under five categories of service: Telecommunications, Telecommunications Services, Internet Access, Internal Connections, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. An eligible services list for funding year 2015 has been released. Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served and range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services. An Urban/Rural Status lookup tool is available to search for an applicant's urban or rural status.
Since 1998, Kansas schools and libraries have received more than $88 million in E-rate discounts while all eligible schools and libraries nationwide have received more than $14.6 billion. For official E-rate guidance, visit the Universal Service Company's Schools and Library Division (SLD) website.
The Kansas State Department of Education is happy to assist you with any questions you may have and contracts with BTU Consultants for a hotline for E-rate questions 1-866-372-8302 or you may call the Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program at USAC 1-888-203-8100.
12/22/2014 – Second E-rate Modernization Order Released
On December 19, the FCC issued the Second E-rate Modernization Report and Order (Order) and Order on Reconsideration. Building on the E-rate Modernization Order adopted by the FCC in July, the improvements to the program adopted in this Order seek to close the high-speed connectivity gap between rural schools and libraries and their urban and suburban counterparts, and provide sufficient and certain funding for high-speed connectivity to and within all eligible schools and libraries. The FCC takes these actions to ensure the continued success of the E-rate program as it transitions from supporting legacy services to focusing on meeting the high-speed broadband connectivity needs of schools and libraries consistent with the recently adopted program goals and long-term connectivity targets.
12/11/2014 – FCC Continues E-rate Program Reboot to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Digital Learning
Today the FCC adopted an Order aimed at closing the connectivity gap by making more funding available for libraries and schools to purchase broadband connectivity capable of delivering gigabit service over the next five years. The Order also provides schools and libraries additional flexibility and options for purchasing broadband services to enable schools and libraries to meet their Internet capacity needs in the most cost-effective way possible. For more information, please see the FCC Press Release .
08/12/2014 – Highlights of the E-rate Modernization Order
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the E-rate Modernization Order on July 11, 2014. The Order takes major steps to modernize and streamline the E-rate program and focuses on expanding funding for Wi-Fi networks in eligible elementary and secondary schools and libraries across America. A Special Edition News Brief highlights the order.