On May 7, 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Universal Service Order implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Order, commonly referred to as "E-Rate" (Education Rate), ensures that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services. Up to $2.25 billion annually was authorized to provide eligible schools and libraries with E-Rate discounts.
In January 1999, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) - the overall administrator of Universal Service Fund collection and distribution - merged with the Schools and Libraries Corporation (SLC) and the Rural Health Care Corporation (RHCC). As a result of this merger, USAC created several divisions. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) is responsible for administering the E-Rate program for libraries and schools.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) strongly encourages all NYS schools (K-12) and public libraries to take full advantage of E-rate discounts on telecommunications, Internet access, and internal wiring services. To support our State’s applicants, NYSED is extending its E-rate technical assistance program with E-Rate Central, an organization that has been working on the E-rate program since its inception with Nassau County BOCES and other school districts and vendors. Here are several links of interest to applicants for E-Rate funding:
Avoid These Common E-Rate Application Mistakes
Submitted courtesy of the Education Super Highway (ESH), a non-profit working to upgrade the Internet connectivity in classrooms -
As you and your team work to submit your E-rate application, you can have a big impact on the accuracy of the information submitted. An initial review of the early applications has uncovered some common mistakes applicants are making. To avoid these mistakes, pay special attention to the following three issues to ensure that selections you make in your E-rate application accurately represents the services you are procuring.
1. Select the correct Purpose (in most cases “Internet” and “Transport” are itemized separately)
In most cases, you should itemize the costs for Internet connections separate from Transport connections. Only in situations where the provider offers a bundled service of both Internet connection and Transport circuits should you select "Transport and Internet.” Transport services (or WAN) are connections between buildings in a district, whereas Internet is the connection from the district to the Internet.
2. Select the correct Type of Service (in most cases it is “Digital Transmission Services”)
For Category 1 broadband, in most cases, you will select "Digital Transmission Services" and specify the type of connection the district is procuring for that service. "IA Only (no circuit)" should NOT be selected generically for Internet Access service. It is a unique situation where you are paying for Internet access at the provider’s point of presence separately from the physical connection to their building FROM that provider’s point of presence (note that “no circuit” is the operative term).
3. Select the correct response for WAN (“Yes” for Transport connections only)
WAN or "Wide Area Network" is a service that provides the connections between buildings in a district. Select Yes for the WAN if your district has a Transport connection.
Other ESH Resources:
- FAQ summarizing ways to avoid common mistakes
- Recorded webinars to walk through how to correctly complete an Item 21 funding request
- E-rate Form 471 Help section
Children's Internet Protection Act:
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law enacted by Congress in December 2000 to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. CIPA imposes certain types of requirements on any school or library that receives funding support for Internet access or internal connections from the “E-rate” program. A copy of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a copy of Order FCC 02-196 (Order of Library Certification) which was released in June 2002 as well as Syllabus of Decision, U.S. Supreme Court (June 23, 2003) and other important information about CIPA can be found on E-Rate Central website .
Current information and news are being distributed weekly via e-mail to E-rate coordinators throughout the State. New York State E-rate coordinators who are not on this distribution list can join by filling out following request at E-Rate Central website.
E-Rate Central will respond to specific E-rate questions submitted through http://www.e-ratecentral.com/contactUs/contactForm.asp.
E-Rate Web Site:
The New York State E-Rate web site is one of the top-rated Internet resources for E-rate information. News bulletins and weekly summaries are posted on the site on a current basis. Special instructions and tips are provided covering all phases of the E-rate application process. E-rate forms are available in several formats for off-line computer use. For E-Rate information on New York State schools, please visit the E-Rate website . For e-rate information on public libraries, please visit the New York State Public Library's web page on E-Rate for Public Libraries.
Technology Plan Approval:
Applicants submitting Form 486s must certify that they have approved technology plans, Schools that do not have approved plans should contact E-Rate Central at the e-mail address or telephone numbers listed below. Libraries should contact the State Library Division of Library development via phone (518-486-5250) or visit the New York State Library web page on E-Rate for Public Libraries.
Each Fall, E-Rate Central publishes a schedule of half-day E-rate workshops conducted throughout New York State. Click here for most recent detailed information. All E-Rate program recipients are encouraged to attend these free sessions to stay current with the latest E-Rate program information.
Approved NYS E-Rate Technology Plans:
The list of approved NYS E-Rate Plans ( : Beginning with the 2014-15 FY, NYSED-approved E-Rate technology plans are no longer required for purposes of eligibility for Priority 2 E-Rate funding applications.)
E-Rate Central designed a powerful and easy-to-use Web-based tool called “E-Rate Organizer”. This tool helps schools and libraries organize and analyze their specific E-rate information. This information is available free of charge, 24 hours a day.
The Federal Communications Commission supervises the administration of the E-Rate program. Its E-Rate page provides an overview of the program, and legislative intent.
Universal Service Administrative Company
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the E-Rate program. Click their website for latest funding news and forms.
Schools and Libraries Division of USAC
Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of Universal Service Company of America (USAC), with the latest news and regulation updates for schools and libraries.
New York State Library Links
The New York State Library lists and discusses resources and regulations concerning E-Rate funding in New York State.
Education and Library Network Coalition (EdLiNC) is a group of Education organizations that have an interest is furthering development of Education technology in schools.
Global SchoolNet Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to "harness the power of the Internet" to provide ongoing opportunities to support learners both in and outside of the school environment.
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is a professional association for district technology leaders providing them with management, community building and advocacy tools to help them succeed.
NYSED is committed to assisting all schools and libraries within New York State to take maximum advantage of the significant discounts offered by the E-rate program. Comments and suggestions on our E-rate technical assistance program are encouraged and should be addressed to the following contacts
For additional information, please contact:
Tel: (516) 832-2880