Every year, schools and libraries have access to billions of dollars of funding through the FCC’s E-rate program. Unfortunately, many don’t take advantage, oftentimes because of confusion over who is eligible and what services are available. In this post I’ll break down the importance of E-rate, how it works, and the types of technologies it makes available that are crucial to education.
The importance of E-rate
For students in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of the internet and digital learning technologies. There is a growing dependence on these resources across the U.S., and they are often seen as critical for connecting students and teachers and preparing students for lifelong learning and jobs.
With E-rate, schools and libraries serving K-12 students can ensure that students have access to the most reliable and most useful technologies on the market. No one should fall behind because of lack of funding.
E-rate provides 20 to 90 percent discounts for telecommunications, telecommunications services, internet access, internal connections, and managed internal broadband services. Depending on the service selected, E-rate also covers basic maintenance, monthly charges, installation and activation charges, and other necessary costs.
Discounts are based on a school’s poverty level, and location is also taken into consideration with rural schools and libraries sometimes receiving higher discounts. The cap for funding year 2021 was $4.276 billion.
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