E-rate, created by the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996, helps ensure that K–12 schools and libraries, particularly those in low-income or rural areas, have affordable access to telecommunications and Internet services. The program provides annual subsidies or “discounts” of 20 percent to 90 percent on eligible services and technology equipment.
For example, if a school district qualifies for a 90 percent discount, the E-rate program pays 90 percent of the cost, while the district pays the remaining 10 percent. The discount rates are determined by the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunches through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Public K–12 schools and districts and most nonprofit schools are eligible for E-rate funding. Rural schools are typically eligible for higher discount rates than urban schools.
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Category 1 and Category 2 are replacing the terms Priority 1 and Priority 2. Fundamentally, the definitions are the same but with the difference of corresponding operating budgets are now independent from one another. Category 1 is still internet, phone, and transport services. Category 2 is still internal network connections. Under Priority 1 and 2, there was only one budget used. Once all the Priority 1 applications were completed, USAC shifted to the Priority 2 applications and funded them until all the money was distributed. Under the new Category 1 and 2, the budgets are independent and are not reliant with one another. Thus, more monies will be available to districts across the country for internal connections.
The bus barn type buildings are considered to be a Non Instructional Facility (NIF). These are likely in a central area and supports multiple schools in the district. These will need a separate Billed Entity Number (BEN) for these buildings and cannot be used as part of the C2 budget.
If each school has administrative support staff for each school located within the building, then yes, each school would need their own BEN. If the same administration support staff supported all schools in the building, then only one BEN will be needed.
In this case, if there is an office within the school building, the area for the psychologist would not need to be separate and have its own BEN.
Yes, refurbished equipment is eligible for e-rate reimbursement. However, be mindful that the equipment is refurbished and NOT end of life. EOL equipment is not eligible and licenses, upgrades, and other services may not be available to purchase for EOL equipment.
Each school would need to file a Form 471 for each remaining year in the 5 year window. This tracks the student counts as the numbers may increase or decrease. If they increase, a school would be entitled to an increased budget amount according to the new student count. This would be beneficial.
If the school has money left in the budget, and they have not spent it 100% of it yet, USAC could potentially request for that calculated amount back. If the school has spent all of the budget, USAC will likely not ask for the money back.
No. If there is an ineligible service combined with with an eligible service, USAC will deny both lines regardless.
No. Both the vendor and applicant must sign and date the contract immediately after awarding even though services don't begin until July 1. If signature and date are later, USAC will deny services.
Yes and No. In Idaho, there are laws that require certain processes and requirements for a RFP. Not all procurement processes will require a RFP. Review Idaho purchasing laws (Idaho Code §67-2803 and Idaho Code §67-2806) for verification on which is required and the corresponding process. It is recommended that all purchasing processes are accompanied with a RFP when a contractual arrangement is proposed.
A school district must divide the total number of students in the district eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) by the total number of students in the district. The district must then use the E-rate Program discount matrix to convert that resulting single percentage figure into an E-rate Program discount rate. If a majority (i.e., more than 50 percent) of the schools in a district are classified as "rural," the district is eligible for a rural discount. The online FCC Form 471 will guide you through this process and will do the calculations and lookups for you.
The following items are no longer eligible:
Components of telephone service, i.e.:
custom calling services
direct inward dialing
900/976 call blocking
inside wire maintenance plans
voicemail (whether offered as part of phone service or separately)
Under the new FCC E-rate Modernization Order in November 2014, the technology plan requirement was removed and no longer a requirement as part of filing for internal connection funding.