What is E-Rate?
In this video, our Director of Technology Thomas Kinsinger explains the ins and outs of the FCC’s Schools and Libraries Fund, better known as E-Rate.
Visit our E-Rate Resource Center to learn more, or contact us today to get help with this season’s funding program.
Hi, I’m Thomas Kinsinger with E-N Computers and I’m very excited to be able to talk about schools and libraries and how they can potentially be saving a significant amount of money for Internet service and Wi-Fi service in their organizations.
In 1997, the federal government, through the FCC, established a program called E-Rates.
And E-Rates is managed by the Universal Services Administrative Co., and it’s an organization that’s been designated to manage a $4 billion fund for E-Rates.
(0:35) Who is Eligible for E-Rate?
And the answer is: schools and libraries are eligible for E-Rate funding.
So schools could be public schools, it could be private schools, charter nonprofit schools are eligible for this funding.
And libraries can be public libraries, can be private libraries, academic or research based libraries are all eligible for this funding.
(1:00) What Does E-Rate Funding Cover?
They call it Category 1 and they call it Category 2 funding.
So Category 1 funding is funding that is for your connectivity outside of your building.
So this is your Internet service coming into the building and this could be your fiber connection, your wireless connection.
It could be the Internet service provider that you’re paying a monthly fee to.
You could cover those fees with E-Rate funding.
The second funding is Category 2 funding and that is internal connectivity.
So this would be your firewalls.
It can also include things like the network rack; it can include the UPS that are powering these devices.
Can all be covered with category 2 E-Rate funding.
But maybe, more importantly than that, is that oftentimes there’s a project that’s associated with getting that equipment in place or running new cables in the building.
So the labor that’s being done to put those devices and systems and and networks in place can be covered with E-Rate funding.
(2:05) How Does E-Rate Funding Work?
So the funding is available in a five year cycle.
You can get that funding in a lump sum, or you can spread that out over the course of five years.
So what does this look like? Let’s say you have a project and you’re doing a $100,000 network upgrade in your facility. This funding is going to be covered anywhere from 20 to 85%.
There’s a matrix that’s been developed to help you see where you fall and where you measure up.
And it’s based on how many students there are who are in the National School Lunch Program.
That’s what’s going to be the deciding factor for how much funding you’re going to receive.
So if it’s a $100,000 project and you are eligible for 85%, you are going to receive $85,000 in E-Rate funding.
You’ll be responsible for $15,000 of that project or upgrade that you are doing.
If you don’t have $15,000 available, you’re not going to be able to do the project, because you have to have a part of that, that you’re covering yourself.
(3:11) What are the Benefits of E-Rate?
So if you’re an organization that’s not taking advantage of this, this is a huge opportunity for you, and there’s many good reasons to consider this.
First and foremost, it would give you the ability to have some quality equipment on your network that’s going to really take you through the next five years.
You could also visit our Learning Center and find some checklists and some documentation that will help guide you through that E-Rate process and what that looks like for your organization.
I hope this has been informative and helpful and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
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