E-Rate Discount Programs for Schools and Libraries

The E-Rate program, formally known as the Universal Services Program for Schools and Libraries, is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission to help schools and libraries take advantage of advanced communications services. Administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the E-Rate program provides discounts up to 90% for eligible data and voice services, with the greatest discounts for schools and libraries in higher poverty and rural areas.

E-Rate Eligible Services

  • Data Networking and Internet Access – Includes high-speed, fiber-based Internet services and other wide area networking (WAN) services.
  • Internal Connections (also known as Category 2) – Includes purchases, installation and management of Local Area Networks (including wireless LAN), wiring and equipment.
  • Basic Maintenance – For eligible internal connections equipment.

Suggestions for a Successful E-Rate Season

Consolidated Communications’ Education Solutions team offers these helpful tips for E-Rate season:

  • Be Prepared: Schools must post a Form 470 at least 28 days before selecting a qualified vendor and signing contracts.
  • Be Thorough: To ensure you’re getting all the information you need, review proposals from all providers before you make a final selection. Also, respond carefully and promptly to all inquiries.
  • Understand the Changing E-Rate Landscape: Voice services are no longer eligible for E-Rate discounts. If you need to address your voice communications needs, now is a good time to consider cost-effective voice over IP (VoIP) services that can also help with business continuity planning and overall productivity.
  • Plan for Current and Future Needs: As you think about your E-Rate Request for Proposals, make sure to consider both current and future technology requirements.