Thanks to the US E-rate program, 88% of school districts and 34.9 million US students are now connected to the Internet with high speed broadband and classroom Wi-Fi (2016 State of the States, 2nd Annual Report On K-12 Broadband Connectivity). That’s the good news. The bad news is that 3,700 schools still lack fiber-optic connections and 15,000 schools struggle with insufficient Wi-Fi.
By taking advantage of the E-rate program, schools have been able to upgrade existing broadband at little or no extra cost. The State of the States report found that many tripled their bandwidth while paying only 7% more than before; and many actually lowered their monthly Internet fees.
If your school has not yet participated in E-rate, it is not too late. As modernized in 2014, E-rate is a five-year program (2014-2019) open to all public and most non-profit K-12 schools in the country. It provides discounts of up to 90% to help schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. The reimbursement rate is based on need as measured by the percentage of students in the district eligible for the national school lunch program (NSLP).
Each year, E-rate undergoes some level of change, and this year with all of the upheavals in Washington, DC, it’s essential to understand what is and isn’t happening with the program. To learn more about E-rate, and to keep up to date with the changes, join our free webinar, Funding Your School Network: Maximizing E-rate Success in 2017. John Harrington, the CEO of Funds for Learning, will give an overview of the E-rate funding process for newcomers and will discuss the recent changes for the experts.
Learn More about Funding Your School Network: Maximizing E-rate Success in 2017 with John Harrington of Funds for Learning.