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What Is E-Rate?

By Alexandra Gunther in · End Users · February 22, 2017
In this series, we lay out some fundamentals about E-rate 2017. Still have questions? Tweet @Aerohive with your question and we'll do our best to answer. If you have questions about the 2017 deadlines, please see this post for detailed answers. First we cover the basics: What is E-rate?
E-rate provides eligible K-12 public schools and libraries 20% to 90% discounts on approved telecommunications, internet access, and internal connections costs. 
E-rate discounts are based on the number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program. 
Discount information
Schools: individual school discounts up to total pre-discount budget amount of $150 per student, over 5 years. 
Libraries: individual library discounts up to total pre-discount budget amount of $2.30 per square foot, over 5 years. 
Minimum: minimum pre-discount budget, or floor, for either school or library is $9,200 (with eligibility to request pre-discount support up to at least $9,200, over 5 years. 
What is E-rate? 
  • E-rate is a federal program of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), administered by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).
  • E-rate provides eligible K-12 public schools and libraries discounts of 20% to 90% on approved telecommunications, internet access, and internal connections costs. 
  • E-rate discounts are based on the number of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program. 
How do the discounts work?
  • Schools: Individual school discounts are up to total pre-discount budget amount of $150 per student, over 5 years. 
  • Libraries: Individual library discounts are up to total pre-discount budget amount of $2.30 per square foot, over 5 years. 
  • Minimum: The minimum pre-discount budget (or floor) for either schools or libraries is $9,200 (with eligibility to request pre-discount support up to at least $9,200, over 5 years.) 
What is E-rate 2.0 (2016-2017)?
  • E-rate is an FCC program originally designed to help fund purchase of telecommunications services and technology in disadvantaged K-12 schools. When it was launched, the idea was to create competition among providers, thereby giving schools the opportunity to enter the age of interactive, individualized digital learning.
  • The program is going into its 19th year of existence. 
  • It is funded by Cell, Cable, Broadband, & Internet bills.
  • In late 2014, and in keeping with the goal to create digitally connected environments in education, the FCC expanded the entire E-rate program to narrow the focus to just two categories.
What is covered by E-rate 2.0
  • Category 1-Broadband & Internet Access
  • Category 2-Wi-Fi Infrastructure  
Next time we'll answer frequently asked questions.
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All posts in this series:

What Is E-Rate?

E-rate 2017 Is Officially Underway

Alexandra Gunther is a Product Marketing Manager at Aerohive Networks, where she helps define market strategy and vision for the cloud and WLAN products. She is a CWNA with a comprehensive background in wireless technology, including capacity and management planning, RF design, network implementation, and general industry knowledge.