E-Rate 2018 – Funding Opportunities for all Schools and Libraries

E-Rate is a program that provides discounts to assist schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.   With the adoption of the E-Rate Modernization Orders in 2014, the E-Rate program was realigned to focus on the expansion of subsidies for Wi-Fi networks as well as access to and support of broadband connectivity in schools and libraries. Many of my clients have leveraged this funding to roll out enterprise class Wi-Fi networks, refresh switching infrastructure, and implement next generation firewall devices.

However, the number of schools/districts that are not taking advantage of this opportunity surprises me. Before the E-Rate Modernization order, access to E-Rate Funding for technology infrastructure was based primarily on the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Only schools/districts with the highest percentage of eligible NSLP students ever received any funding.  Coupled with a tedious application process, many schools stopped pursuing E-Rate discounts because it was not worth the effort.

While NSLP is still a factor, all qualified entities are now eligible to receive at least a 20% discount on eligible  products and services  Under the current program, approximately $4 Billion remains available through the 2019 filing year. This matrix details the discount your institution may qualify for: http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/samples/Discount-Matrix.pdf

Other under-utilized opportunities within the current E-Rate program include funding for managed internal broadband services and discounts for purchasing fiber optic WANs. There is an excellent presentation from an organization called ‘Funds for Learning’ entitled 5 Must-Know Steps to Maximize E-rate 2018 Funding that is an excellent summary of the opportunities available to all schools and libraries and the steps involved to apply for and receive E-Rate coverage:

http://event.lvl3.on24.com/event/14/98/76/8/rt/1/documents/resourceList1506555544221/fflppteschoolnews_201709272.pdf

With decreasing revenues and ever increasing demands for technology in educational environments, E-Rate in its current iteration needs to be leveraged by every institution that qualifies for funding.  Peters & Associates has been supporting schools and libraries for over 35 years and can help your institution optimize its investment and use of technology. Contact me at Scott.roth@Peters.com to learn more!

By |2018-12-18T11:35:09-05:00October 25th, 2017|Advisory Services|Comments Off on E-Rate 2018 – Funding Opportunities for all Schools and Libraries

About the Author:

Scott is a client-focused IT professional responsible for managing client relationships and assisting with alignment of technology solutions and services. With 20 years in IT and a tenure of over 13 years with Peters & Associates, Scott’s experience and consultative approach has led to dozens of long term relationships; he is proud to be a trusted advisor to his clients. While Scott serves across multiple industries, he focuses much of his time on the Public Sector, including Education and Local Government. Scott is highly knowledgeable of the needs and challenges in this space, and is intimately familiar with special offerings from leading tech providers, such as Microsoft, specific to the Public Sector, as well as programs such as E-Rate.