E-Rate: Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers an E-Rate program designed to make telecommunications and information services more affordable for public K-12 schools, private non-profit schools, public libraries, school libraries, non-instructional facilities, and selected non-traditional educational facilities. Specific eligibility is determined by the FCC.
The FCC, Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), and USF work together to provide the assistance to schools and libraries. USAC manages the program with funding from the Universal Service Fund (USF) (fcc.gov/general/universal-service-fund).
The E-Rate program provides discounts to eligible schools, libraries, and selected educational facilities ranging from 20 to 90 percent on qualifying telecommunications services and Internet access as well as certain connectivity management/maintenance costs.
If demand for E-Rate money is greater than the available funds, funding is allocated first to the highest poverty schools and libraries, then the next-highest poverty applicants, and so on.
Who is Eligible?
- Public Elementary and Secondary Schools including Charter Schools serving grades K-12
- Private Nonprofit Elementary and Secondary Schools serving grades K-12
- Public Libraries
- Public Elementary and Secondary Libraries
- Research and Academic Libraries
- Private Libraries (as determined by state definitions)
- Non-instructional Facilities
- Non-traditional Elementary and Secondary Education (Head Start, Pre-K)
- Educational Service Agencies
- School Residential Facilities
Category One Services
Data Transmission and/or Internet Access
Ethernet Over Copper
Ethernet over Fiber
Category Two Services
Internal Connections & Managed Internal Broadband
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The FCC’s E-Rate program makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries. With funding from the Universal Service Fund, E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.