Based on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the E-Rate program to provide schools and libraries affordable access to advanced telecommunications services. This program provides discounts ranging from 20 to 90 percent on telecommunications services, internet access, internal connections, and basic maintenance of internal connections to eligible schools and libraries subject to a $2.25 billion annual cap.

To receive E-Rate discounts, schools and libraries must competitively bid all eligible services on the Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) website and, after a minimum of 28 days, select the most cost-effective proposal. Schools and libraries then apply for E-Rate discounts. If approved, schools and libraries receive discounts through direct discounted bills or the reimbursement process.

E-Rate Discount Calculation

Your school can receive an E-Rate discount of 20 to 90 percent depending on its location (in an urban or rural area) and the economic needs of your students. The level of economic needs is determined by the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This information (location and economic needs) can be used to determine the school’s discount by using the E-Rate Discount Matrix (PDF).

To calculate your school’s E-Rate discount, you must determine the percentage of students by school who are eligible for the NSLP. Eligibility criteria is based on whether or not a student's family falls within the income eligibility guidelines of NSLP. Eligibility is not based on a student's participation in NSLP.

Additional information and requirements for the E-Rate program are available at the following links:

Getting Started with E-Rate (outside source)
E-Rate Central (outside source)
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) CIPA Filtering Requirements (outside source)

E-Rate Federal Communications Commission Links

The following Federal Communication Commission (FCC) resources may be helpful:

FCC E-Rate Website (outside source)
FCC Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Guidance
(outside source)
FCC Orders and Appeals (outside source)

E-Rate Universal Service Administrative Company Schools and Libraries Program Links

The following Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Schools and Libraries Program resources may be helpful:

Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) (outside source)
E-Rate Discount Matrix (PDF)
Acronyms Used in E-Rate (PDF)