eRate consulting firm Funds for Learning LLC has created a web-based tool that schools and libraries can use at no cost to manage the extensive paperwork required by the eRate. The $2.25 billion-a-year federal program provides discounts on telecommunications services to eligible schools and libraries. The tool, called eRate Manager, helps eRate participants monitor the status of their funding requests and then generate the multitude of forms that must be submitted to the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Co.—the agency that administers the program—before eRate discounts can flow to applicants or their service providers. Besides keeping paperwork on track so deadlines aren’t missed, the eRate Manager provides a single place where applicants can store all the information about their approved funding commitments. It also includes several features that enable vendors to communicate more easily with their clients about the status of forms so they can be paid on a more timely basis.

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