How to Get E-rate Funding for School Telecommunications Services

How to Get E-rate Funding for School Phone and Internet Systems

Schools can receive help with paying for phone and internet service via a federally funded program through 2019. Accessing this program is not difficult, but the governing organization does have a specific format and process that needs to be used to attain E-rate funding for schools. Learning more about the Federal E-rate program and how it works can help you save money on some of the most critical components of education today – telephone and internet service—and ensure you have an affordable way to serve the needs of your students and community.

How to Apply for E-rate for Schools

Step 1: Request Bids

Using the FCC Form 470, your organization will request bids from vendors for the specific services you need. E-rate eligible phone service and internet services are both covered by this program.

Step 2: Review the Bids

Review the bids you receive from vendors to determine which one suits your needs best. Once you have chosen a bid, you can submit this information and apply for E-rate funding. This needs to be done during the filing period, which is open for about two months each year.

Step 3: Receive Services

Once your application is approved, your chosen vendor can provide Category 1 E-rate Services to your organization, including:

Internet and Data

Step 4: Pay Your Provider

You have two options for payment when it comes to your Federal E-rate program. You can either request discounted billing and pay your vendor directly or pay your full bill and receive reimbursement from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The method you choose will depend on your organization’s needs and your vendor’s requirements.

E-rate Funding FAQs

What schools can apply for the Federal E-Rate program?

Anyone can apply, but the program is designed to offer discounts to poverty stricken areas in rural and urban communities.

How much can we save using E-rate funding for schools?

The discount you receive will range from 20 percent to 90 percent, depending on your specific organization, location, and details.

Is phone eligible for Category 1 E-rate?

Yes, phone service is included in the E-rate eligible services list and covered under this program.

Yes, phone service is included in the E-rate eligible services list and covered under this program.

Does this program expire?

You need to apply for E-rate services each year to be covered. In addition to the annual requirement, the program is currently only funded through 2019, so it is essential that you act quickly if you wish to be covered for the next school year.

Do I need a school phone system to participate?

If you wish to participate in the program, visit USAC to learn more about which products and services are covered, including conventional or automated phone systems and internet equipment.

Learn More About E-rate

If you are interested in E-rate for schools or category 1 E-rate services, but not sure where to start, we can help. Contact us to learn more about this funding program and to find out how to make the most of it for your school.