E-rate spending reveals schools’ tech evolution

Schooling has changed in many ways in the last two years, but while remote learning, mask policies and increased federal spending in education have gotten lots of attention, another trend has gone nearly unnoticed.

But thanks to the availability of detailed E-rate data, this sea change is now being recognized. E-rate is the federal government program that provides discounts of up to 90 percent for schools and libraries to bring high-speed internet into their building(s) and create internal networks for online access. For years, E-rate applicants have leveraged E-rate to bring fast internet service into their organizations, cobbling together funds and seeking out providers. But today, a new trend is emerging—more funds are being requested to improve internal networks, allowing the flood of devices now used in schools and libraries to effectively get online.

E-rate funding requested in Category One, which includes data transmission services and internet access, has declined for five straight years, largely a function of increasing marketplace competition and decreasing per-megabit prices.  But funding requests for Category Two services have soared in the same time period. Category Two funds can be spent on wireless access points, network switches, data cabling and other resources essential for on-campus connections.…Read More

Why e-learning requires Wi-Fi optimization

Schools are officially in the age of technological learning. There are 1:1 programs, hybrid classrooms, free online learning platforms, eLearning applications and assessments, video collaborations, and the expectation of more to come with developments in augmented and virtual reality technologies.

While useful, these technologies can come with challenges. This includes:

  • A need for reliable internet connectivity,
  • Ongoing maintenance, and
  • Ongoing optimization

The good news is that schools have access to free funds that will address all of these challenges thanks to the E-rate program. Here’s how to use it to best support student and teacher success.…Read More

The Everlasting Importance of E-Rate


On this episode of Getting There: Innovations in Education, sponsored by Adobe Sign:

  • The 2021 E-rate Trends Report emphasizes the popularity of this essential program plus resources for districts to leverage
  • District leaders discuss how automating forms processing can be done securely
  • Zoom Education Marketing Lead Johann Zimmern on what’s next for online synchronous learning

…Read More

7 reasons E-rate funding is critical for schools and libraries

Reliable high-speed internet access isn’t a “nice to have” – it’s absolutely essential for teaching and learning. Without reliable connectivity, students and teachers lose access to the digital tools and resources that make learning engaging and relevant.

In its annual E-rate Trends Survey, E-rate compliance services firm Funds For Learning takes a look at the federal E-rate funding landscape and analyzes how the funding stream supports learning in schools and libraries.

“This year’s Trends Report indicates that the E-rate program is solid and steady,” said John Harrington, CEO of Funds For Learning. “While connectivity needs continue to evolve, the Trends Report tells a very important story about E-rate as a vital resource for schools and libraries. The past two school years have showed us that school communities depend upon broadband access and network security.”…Read More

3 reasons E-rate funding remains critical for school internet access

The federal E-rate program remains a vital and trusted funding source to bring “mission-critical” internet access to schools and libraries, according to an annual report tracking trends and developments related to the federal funding stream.

The 2021 E-rate Trends Report, from E-rate compliance services firm Funds For Learning, arrives as school systems work through COVID-related impacts, including the Homework Gap and on- and off-campus broadband needs.

Responses from a record-breaking 2,164 applicants indicate that E-rate remains essential, and network security is now an urgent concern.…Read More

Funding Year 2021 E-rate Application Window is Now Open

Funds For Learning announces that the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) opened the E-rate  filing window on January 15, 2021, and will accept applications until March 25, 2021. The 24th year of the E-rate program enters a new phase of regulations intended to increase equity and streamline the application process.

“Applicants from across the United States will begin submitting forms to ensure the  95 percent of K-12 students who are supported by the E-rate program stay connected,” said John Harrington, CEO at Funds For Learning. “With funding requests increasing over the past three years, it’s clear that the E-rate program plays a crucial role in helping schools and libraries secure much needed funds for essential broadband services.”

Funding Year (FY) 2021 marks the first year that  Category 2 rules finalized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take effect, including:…Read More

Here’s a must-do for E-rate applicants

Calling all E-rate coordinators–there is one important step you can take now to ensure a smooth process when the E-rate filing window opens in 2019.

The FY2019 application filing window for the E-rate Program doesn’t open until January, but schools and libraries must ensure their data in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) is current.

The FY2019 Administrative Window opened on October 1, 2018 and is anticipated to close in early January 2019.…Read More

3 tips for jumpstarting your district’s connectivity discussion

This year’s E-rate cycle may be over, but in order to be well prepared for the next one, now is the time to start the connectivity conversation with your school district. In today’s classrooms, high-speed internet is no longer an option; it has become a necessity.

Digital learning helps students grasp concepts more fully, and not having access to the wealth of information found in online videos, apps, and curriculum puts these students at an immediate disadvantage to their connected peers. As schools increasingly turn to digital learning, all classrooms must have reliable, fast internet connections in order to prepare students sufficiently for future challenges like college and the job market.

While dramatic progress has been made in closing the connectivity gap in our public schools, there are still 6.5 million K-12 students who lack access to high-speed classroom internet, leaving them unprepared or underprepared for the world’s digital expectations.…Read More

This E-rate trick can help schools combat net neutrality repeal

With concerns about school internet access buzzing in the wake of the FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality, anxiety over school internet access might transfer to the federal E-rate program–but there’s no need to worry, according to E-rate experts.

When the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality, education stakeholders worried the move would be a step backwards for digital equity inside classrooms. Some worried that even in classrooms with digital equity, net neutrality’s repeal would leave students in low-income neighborhoods at a disadvantage and widen the homework gap.

While net neutrality’s impact on the marketplace and internet access has yet to be determined, there are things schools can do to protect themselves if they’re worried about throttling or blocking–concerns brought up during the net neutrality debate, said John Harrington, CEO of E-rate consulting firm Funds For Learning.…Read More