Introducing the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund (also known as E-Rate) Elizabeth Hope Louviere Course EDLD 5352 EA1210
When the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed into law, for the first time schools and libraries became eligible for Universal Service support. The goal of the Act is to ensure that schools and libraries have affordable access to advanced telecommunications. On May 7, 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a unanimous ruling for implementing Universal Service.
What is “E-Rate”? E-Rate is the discount that schools and libraries receive for the acquisitions of telecom-munication services. Schools and libraries that are eligible can receive discounts of 20-90% on telecommunication services, Internet access and internal connections necessary for implementing technology into the classroom.
Who’s Eligible? Schools: All elementary and secondary schools defined within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. May include private school if they are not operated as a for-profit business and do not have an endowment exceeding $50 million. Libraries: Public libraries as defined in the Library Services and Technology Act. This includes individual library branches, library facilities, library systems and library consortia.
What Services are Available? Telecommunication: Schools and libraries are given flexibility to choose services for both voice and data. Examples: pagers for security officials, regular telephone lines for teachers to receive phone calls in the classroom. Internet Access: Services for accessing the Internet are eligible for discounts. Examples: E-mail and access to the World Wide Web. Internal Connections: Basic installation and maintenance of a network are eligible for discounts. Examples: Routers, hubs, network file servers.
Discount Values How much money is available in discounts? Up to $2.25 billion per year will be available from the Universal Service Fund. What are the discounts? Discounts range from 20 to 90 percent and based on economic disadvantage and geographic location. How are the discounts determined? The level is determined for schools and libraries based upon eligibility in the federal free and reduced lunch program. Libraries will use school lunch eligibility percentage from their local school districts.
How and Where to Apply Plan for technology, conduct needs assessments, seek advice from experts, budget for implementation, collect information on eligibility for the federal free and reduced priced lunch program in the schools and check with the State Education Agency. Once the implementation information is gathered, submit the completed application to the Fund Administrator who will be responsible for collecting and posting request for services.
More questions? For further information go to: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/funding/