The eRate provides discounts up to 90 percent off the cost of eligible telecommunications services and internet access for schools and libraries.

The Universal Service Administrative Co., which runs the federal eRate program, has announced the opening and closing dates of the eRate filing window for Funding Year 2012.

The window will open at noon Eastern time on Monday, Jan. 9, and close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, March 20. Schools and libraries will have 72 days in which to file applications for the 2012 eRate funding year. Feb. 21 is the last date on which schools can file a Form 470 requesting new services for the 2012 program year, because of the 28-day posting requirement for that form.

The eRate provides discounts of up to 90 percent off the cost of eligible telecommunications services, internet access, and the internal connections—such as wiring, routers, switches, and file servers—necessary to bring internet access into classrooms. Nearly $2.3 billion in discounts will be awarded during the 2012 funding year.

Applicants and service providers “should be mindful of the window’s closing date, as many schools will be on spring break during that time,” noted eRate consulting firm Funds for Learning. “Applicants and service providers should communicate any conflicts during March and make the appropriate adjustments in order to avoid missing the deadline.”

For more news and advice about the 2012 eRate funding year, see:

eRate applicants face important changes with this year’s program

How to make sense of the new eRate gift rules

Five tips for eRate success

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