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E-Rate Assistance for Schools and Libraries

E-Rate is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. It is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services.

The Schools and Libraries Program supports connectivity - the conduit or pipeline for communications using telecommunications services and/or the Internet. Funding is requested under four categories of service: telecommunications services, Internet access, internal connections, and basic maintenance of internal connections. Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served and range from 20% to 90% of the costs of eligible services. Eligible schools, school districts and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.


Eligibility

Schools:

  • Must meet the statutory definition of an elementary or a secondary school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
  • Must not be operating as a for-profit business
  • Must not have an endowment exceeding $50 million

Libraries:

  • Must be eligible for assistance from a State library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act
  • Must not be operating as a for-profit business
  • Budget must be completely separate from any schools

Consortia:

  • Can include both eligible and ineligible entities
  • Only eligible entities can receive discounts
  • Consortia have record-keeping and administrative responsibilities

Head Start Facilities:

  • A stand-alone facility recognized by the state

Technology Planning

The Sixth Report and Order has outlined new technology plan requirements. Applicants are no longer required to have a technology plan for Priority 1 Services. Technology plans are required for applicants that apply for Priority 2 services only. In addition, the technology plan requirements have also changed. Below outline the four requirements that are required for E-rate technology plans.

  • The plan must establish clear goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve education or library services;
  • The plan must have a professional development strategy to ensure that staff knows how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services;
  • The plan must include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services; and
  • The plan must include an evaluation process that enables the school or library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities and they arise.

FCC rule states that technology plans need to be created prior to the submission of the form 470. USAC defines the creation date as "the date your plan contains the five required elements in sufficient detail to support the services requested on your Form 470". Applicants will need to ensure that the plan is created prior to completing the Form 470.

Applicants that have a technology plan that will expire in 2013 and will apply for Priority 2 services in the next funding year will need to submit a technology plan to CDE no later than April 30, 2014. E-rate Technology Planning Guide* has been created to assist with the development of the plan.

E-rate Technology Planning Guide

Applicants will need to email the plans to collins_d@cde.state.co.us for approval. Plan approvals will be provided by CDE and will certify compliance for one to three years.


E-rate Bid Sheet

Questions from Training Sessions

Sixth Report and Order

Sixth Report and Order Erratum

Procurement Code of Ethics and Guidelines


Additional Technical Assistance for Colorado Schools

USF is the Internet mailing list for Colorado E-Rate applicants, sponsored by the Colorado State Library and Colorado Department of Education.

To subscribe:
Send an e-mail message to:
lyris@web.cde.state.co.us
In the body of the message type: subscribe USF your name

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