E-Rate: How School Districts Can Benefit

Did you know funding opportunities are available for school districts seeking to bridge the technology gap and meet the needs of digital learning in the 21st century? Also known as E-Rate, it is one of the nation’s largest programs supporting technology development in education today.

What is E-Rate?
E-Rate is a federal program administered under the Universal Administrative Company (USAC) under direction of the FCC. It is designed to provide underserved libraries and schools in rural and urban areas with access to affordable high-speed broadband internet and WiFi. Through E-Rate, school districts and libraries lacking the financial resources or a strong tax base have the opportunity to purchase new networking hardware and IT services at a discount.

Who is eligible?
Eligibility is determined by several criteria. For instance, a qualifying school district may receive a 20 to 90 percent discount based on the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, and whether a school district classifies as rural or urban.

What is the E-Rate application process?
Prospective applicants submit a 470 form for competitive bids on their project. A 28-day waiting period then begins for resellers and contractors to provide bids to the application. Once an applicant chooses a bid, they then submit a 471 form to notify the FCC of the bid choice and acceptance of funding. Other steps follow, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll focus only on the initial application process and 470/471 forms.

How does Tripp Lite participate in E-Rate?
Tripp Lite offers a full selection of E-Rate eligible products, including UPS systems, PDUs, network switches, server racks and network cables. Learn more about the E-Rate program, its application process and Tripp Lite’s E-Rate product selection.

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