E-rate Funding

Expanding access to affordable IT services for schools and libraries

What’s E-Rate?

The Schools and Libraries of the Universal Service Fund offers $4.3 billion in funding annually to K-12 schools and public libraries in the United States. There are resources available to your institution to obtain affordable broadband and networking solutions to support digital-learning classrooms with online videos, cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, and online testing.

This means there is money out there to assist you with building a trusted, secure network for your educational institution. Zivaro wants to help.

Who Can Participate

    • Must meet No Child Left Behind Act of 2021
    • Elementary schools – non profit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school, that provides elementary education as determined by state law
    • Secondary schools – non profit institutional day or residential school, including a public secondary charter school, that provides secondary education, as determined under state law, except that does term doesn’t include any education past the 12th grade.

    • Libraries have untapped funds available. For example in the state of Colorado only 40 out of 62 libraries have applied for funding. That means that $12,749,957.13 out of $14,791,554 is still available for funding.
    • Must meet the requirements of a library or library consortium found in the 1996 Library Services & Technology Act.
    • Must be eligible for assistance from the state library administration agency under the act above

Two Categories of Eligible Services & Equipment

According to the FCC, this category consists of the services that provide broadband to eligible locations, including data links that connect multiple points, services used to connect eligible locations to the internet and services that provide basic conduit access to the internet. The highest discount level for Category One services is 90%

Eligible equipment includes wireless access points and controller systems, routers and switches, and caching technology. The highest discount level for Category Two services is 85%. Schools can apply for Category Two funding for purchases of up to $167 (before the discount) per student over a five-year period.

How to Apply Successfully

The process for applying for E-rate funding is a multi-step process. As long as you meet the deadlines and keep good documentation you’ll be in good shape. The process requires juggling several years of funding simultaneously. For example, a library could answer questions from the current application while it processes reimbursements from a previous year and makes plans for next year’s application.

To be considered for funding, schools and libraries must submit their requests within the timeframe specified by the Schools and Libraries of the Universal Service Administration (USAC), which manages E-rate for the FCC.

Also, here are 6 steps in the application process to pay close attention to:

File Form 470 to start the competitive bid process.
You must describe the specific services and technologies you seek.

Honor the 28-day waiting period.
After filling out the Form 470 you must wait before reviewing bids for services from a vendor or provider.

Submit sign contracts
After vendors and service providers are chosen, they must submit signed contracts before submitting Form 471. This form requires documentation detailing costs of services.

Respond immediately during the application process
USAC reviews E-rate applications through a process called Program Integrity Assurance. If questions arise or there are issues or missing documentation your funding could be delayed if this isn’t addressed in a timely manner.

Review of funding decision
Upon approval organizations will receive a funding commitment decision letter. Applicants must respond in 15 days. If the project is approved, organizations must file Form 486 before USAC will make payments.

Send an invoice to USAC.
You have two ways to send invoices. 1) Organizations can pay the service provider and then get reimbursed or, 2) the service provider handles the reimbursement process.

Step 1

File Form 470 to start the competitive bid process.
You must describe the specific services and technologies you seek.

Step 2

Honor the 28-day waiting period.
After filling out the Form 470 you must wait before reviewing bids for services from a vendor or provider.

Step 3

Submit sign contracts
After vendors and service providers are chosen, they must submit signed contracts before submitting Form 471. This form requires documentation detailing costs of services.

Step 4

Respond immediately during the application process
USAC reviews E-rate applications through a process called Program Integrity Assurance. If questions arise or there are issues or missing documentation your funding could be delayed if this isn’t addressed in a timely manner.

Step 5

Review of funding decision
Upon approval organizations will receive a funding commitment decision letter. Applicants must respond in 15 days. If the project is approved, organizations must file Form 486 before USAC will make payments.

Step 6

Send an invoice to USAC.
You have two ways to send invoices. 1) Organizations can pay the service provider and then get reimbursed or, 2) the service provider handles the reimbursement process.

Tips to success

File Form 470 as early as possible. Those who file early compete against fewer schools and will allow for some wiggle room if you need to make changes along the process.

Decide what you want funding for not just for immediate needs but two to three years into the future. Applicants often make requests one year to 18 months in advance of when they purchase equipment and services.

How can Zivaro help?

We’re glad you asked! We’ve been supporting education for 15 years, and we’re ready to support you!

Zivaro is an authorized E-rate Service provider with SPIN # 143023385 with over a decade of E-rate experience. As an eligible Service Provider under the Schools and Libraries Program, we focus on assisting your organization with the internet and networking initiatives that will propel your technology plans forward.

We are well-positioned to help you take advantage of your Category 1 and Category 2 E-rate funding, and help you:

Modernize your infrastructure so you stay up to date and relevant

Provide a safe, secure network keeping you away from hidden threats and attacks

Offer personalized cloud services that are funable and scalable

 

Create remote communications for greater productivity and connected learning opportunities

Determine a best-use strategy to better manage costs and promote future growth

 

Join our other network partners

Educational Institutions can’t afford to miss out on funds. You deserve every dollar:

“In 2021 for Colorado there was $158,440,904.12 available to use for erate. Of that, $13,807,200.08 was used in 2021.”

That’s a huge loss, money down the drain. You may be missing out on funding that provides you cost per student.

We’re here to help

Let’s discuss the different ways we create the blueprint to increase the digital productivity of your institution and take advantage of available funding for your school or library. We deliver customized, cost-effective IT solutions to help educators increase student and faculty experience. And, we can help walk you through the E-rate process.


Let’s talk about how we can assist you.