The Schools and Libraries Corp. (SLC) and the Rural Health Care Corp. (RHCC) have merged with the Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) as of Jan. 1. One agency, instead of three, now administers all of the FCC’s universal service programs.

As a result of the merger, the SLC has become a division of USAC called the Schools and Libraries Division. The SLC’s board of directors is now a committee of USAC’s board. The committee oversees the budget of the Schools and Libraries Division and reports to the USAC board. Any action taken by the committee is subject to review by the USAC board at large.

According to the SLC, eRate applicants and vendors can expect the same or better service under the merged entity. Client service and support centers will continue their jobs uninterrupted, and SLC staff will remain in place. Contact information for the SLC will remain the same as well.

USAC was created in 1997 as a not-for-profit subsidiary of the National Exchange Carrier Association. It is governed by a board of directors that includes a broad representation of industry and non-industry interests, such as service providers, schools and libraries, health care providers, consumers, and state regulatory commissions.

USAC was responsible for overseeing the administration of the high cost and low income universal service programs, as well as the billing, collection, and disbursement of funds for all the universal service programs.

RHCC was a not-for-profit corporation responsible for administering the universal service program for nonprofit rural health care providers. It was created to ensure that rural health care providers pay no more than their urban counterparts pay for telecommunication services.