Funding for Schools and Libraries
How it works
The Federal Communications Commission (FFC) rules that all services that are eligible to recieve discounts under the School and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism (otherwise known as the E-Rate program or E-Rate) are listed in the below Eligible Service List.
The E-Rate program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Eligible schools and libraries may seek E-Rate support for eligible Category Two internal connections, basic maintenance, and managed internal broadband services.
Public or private schools (K-12), libraries, and groups of schools and libraries (e.g., consortia, districts, systems) can apply for discounts on eligible services.
Internet access, telecommunications services, and related equipment are eligible for discounts.
Eligible Category 2 Equipment and services for 2024
Eligible Broadband Internal Connections
Antennas, connectors, and related components used for internal broadband connections.
Firewall services and firewall components separate from basic firewall protection provided as a standard component of a vendor’s Internet access service.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)/Battery Backup.
Access points used in a local area network (LAN) or wireless local area network (WLAN) environment (such as wireless access points).
Wireless controller systems.
Software supporting the components on this list used to distribute high-speed broadband throughout school buildings and libraries (applicants should request software in the same category as the associated service being obtained or installed).
Eligible Managed Internal Broadband Services
Services provided by a third party for the operation, management, and monitoring of eligible broadband internal connections are eligible managed internal broadband services (e.g., managed Wi-Fi).
E-Rate support is limited to eligible expenses or portions of expenses that directly support and are necessary for the broadband connectivity within schools and libraries. Eligible expenses include the management and operation of the LAN/WLAN, including installation, activation, and initial configuration of eligible components and on-site training on the use of eligible equipment.
In some eligible managed internal broadband services models, the third-party manager owns and installs the equipment and school and library applicants lease the equipment as part of the managed services contract. In other cases, the school or library may own the equipment, but have a third party manage the equipment for it.
Basic Maintenance of Eligible Broadband Internal Connections
Repair and upkeep of eligible hardware.
Wire and cable maintenance.
Basic technical support including online and telephone-based technical support.
Software upgrades and patches including bug fixes and security patches.
Competitive Bidding once Form 470 is submitted.
Selecting a Service Provider - Form 471
Discounts are applied by your entity..
Application Reviewed by USAC/FCC.
Pay for discounted services,
Pay for services and invoice USAC for reimbursement.
Looking to Maximize your
For two decades, E-Rate funds have made technology more affordable for schools and libraries across the U.S. In that time, many have discovered how to make the most of the E-Rate dollars available to them. Here are our top tips for E-Rate success.
The E-Rate program is now stronger!
Starting in 2021, at least $8B in funding will be available and the five-year budget cycle will be reset.
Kow the updated budget calculation for your school or library.
For schools/districts: (Enrollment)x$176=total pre-discount budget $ available. $4.50 per square foot for all libraries (both rural and urban). The per-site funding "floor" will be increased from $9,200 per site to $25,000.
Assess recourses, and decide who will manage your application.
55% of schools and libraries say the application process is getting easier and faster.
Create a tech vision for your school or library.
Engage your stakeholders, take a step back, and consider the bigger picture.
Assess needs and prioritize.
98% of applicants say their Wi-Fi network is critical to fulfilling their mission.
79% of applicants will need to upgrade their Wi-Fi within 3 years.
Plan & Design your network to align with your vision, goals, and priorities.
See where you are today and what's needed by viewing our Network Readiness Checklist.
Use a competitive bidding process.
Days of open bidding after application is submitted.
Cost is the highest-weighted factor.
Know the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC), and mind your deadlines.
55% of applications agreed that it took less time to prepare the file applications last year.
Identify matching and other funding sources.
95% of applications report that E-Rate funds are not sufficient to meet their needs.
Manage the process year-round.
Manage deadlines and document work to stay ahead of the game and keep E-Rate funds flowing.
Deadlines for the FY24-25 fiscal year.
The form 470 window opened in July and will officially close in June 2024, but all 470 forms have to be submitted with enough time to file form 471.
Form 471's window opens in January 2024 and closes in March 2024.
If funded, the applicant has until September 30th 2025 to complete the project.