E-rate is a federal program of the Federal Communications Commission administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company. The E-Rate program provides substantial discounts on telecommunications, and Internet and technology products and services for schools and libraries to ensure that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services. It ensures that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services.
Public schools, nonprofit private schools, school districts and libraries are eligible to apply individually or as part of a consortium. Funding depends on the poverty level (free/reduced lunch population) and the urban/rural status of the population served. Funds range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.
Since funding is based on how a school plans to use technology -- not on its enrollment -- amounts of funding can be substantial, even for small schools, when implementing major infrastructure projects such as cabling and network equipment for a new facility. E-Rate funding totals about $2.3 billion annually, nationwide.
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