The E-rate provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Four service categories are funded: Telecommunications Services, Internet Access, Internal Connections Other than Basic Maintenance, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. Discounts range from 20% to 90% of the costs of eligible services, depending on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served. Eligible schools, school districts and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.
Please visit the Eligible Services List to see descriptions of the eligible products and services. E-Rate does not cover desktop computers, learning software, professional development, or electrical infrastructure improvements to school buildings.
E-Rate-Links and Additional Information (8/13/14)
- E-rate Staff Paper and School/Library fiber connectivity maps released (8/12/14)
- Online Application
- Beginners Guides and USAC Web Tour
- Application process
- Eligible Services List
- Calculating your discount
- Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
E-Rate applicants must follow the Children's Internet Protection Act if the application covers Internet access and/or internal connections. Discounts for telecommunications services (provided by a telecommunications carrier) do not require CIPA compliance.
Approved Technology Integration Plans are required of any entity applying for Priority 2 E-rate Funding.
A TIP must be written – including all required elements – at the time the FCC Form 470 is filed. Currently approved plans that cover at least part of the upcoming funding year and support the services that will be requested on the FCC Form 471 meet this requirement.
The TIP approval date must precede the start of services (usually July 1) of the applicable funding year or the filing of a Form 486.
- E-rate Applicants are responsible for completing the TIP, attaching the appropriate assurances page (see the TIP Guide) and ensuring it is retained in accordance with USAC rules posted online at http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/default.aspx.
- Follow the posted deadlines in relation to USAC forms, deadlines, and compliance guidelines available online at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/deadlines/default.aspx.
- The TIP must list and support the services being sought via the Form 470 and include the required USAC elements. The plan does not require approval prior to filing a USAC Form 470. Approval of the completed three-year plan is required before services begin (usually July 1) or before filing the USAC Form 486.
USAC requires an evaluation process that enables the school or library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities as they arise (annual review).
- Documentation of the annual review of the plan in compliance with established policies and procedures as specified online at www.usac.org must be kept throughout the life of the plan.
Additionally, LEAs holding a previously approved TIP must memorialize/document monitoring compliance in respect to the schedule written into the approved plan of all plan sections. USAC recommends that applicants capture the annual review date electronically.
- Minor changes during an annual review to an approved TIP do not necessitate access to the e-plan TIP template. A locally developed Technology Integration Plan addendum will suffice to document or explain minor changes to contact information, assessment tools or data information within an approved plan. Documentation for the addendum can be as simple as an e-mail to from technology team to the superintendent stating that the review has occurred and the changes found in the addendum needed to be made.
- Mid-Course Corrections: LEAs should file mid-course correction only if the TIP must be revised because of a major change to services that will be ordered on the Form 470 that are beyond the scope of the existing plan. Mid-course corrections should be submitted before the Form 470 is filed.
LEAs discovering a need to make a mid-course correction should contact their LTC director for assistance with writing the necessary changes and James Walsh at ISBE at 217-782-0354 or email@example.com to request to have the applicable TIP template unlocked in order to make changes.
Once changes are complete, the plan must be electronically resubmitted for approval. Changes must be approved before the start of services or filing the 486. For more information please refer to USAC's website.
See the ISBE Tech Plan page for additional TIP information.
- Spring to Early Fall (annually) for applicants holding a plan, which will not expire on June 30 of the following fiscal year: the applicant should begin the process of collecting data and establishing a stakeholder’s initiative for crafting/writing a new or revised TIP. (See the reference to the TIP above.)
- Funding Year Start Date July 1 (annually) for eligible services previously selected and bid for according to established policies and procedures as specified online at www.usac.org.
- File Initial Annual Form 470: Description of Services Requested and Certification Form (Form 470). This form must be posted at least 28 days before filing Form 471, the Services Ordered and Certification Form. This form is generally available late spring until early fall each calendar year. Refer to official USAC guidance for specific dates, as well as compliance rules and measures.
- File Description of Services Requested and Certification Form 471 within the prescribed window. Watch USAC’s website for specific window open and close dates.
- File the Receipt of Service Confirmation Form (Form 486). USAC specifies a 120 requirement on their website at www.usac.org.
- File the Billing Entity Applicant Reimbursement Form (Form 472) and Service Provider Invoice Form (Form 474). This must also be received or postmarked no later than 120 days after the date of the Form 486 Notification Letter or 120 days after the last date to receive service, whichever is later.
For questions related to E-rate, please contact Jamey Baiter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-782-0354.