E-Rate Program

The E-Rate program provides funding for eligible equipment and services for schools and libraries to keep students and library patrons connected to broadband.

  • Tribal Trainings: The E-Rate program offers supplemental support for applicants located on Tribal lands or serving Tribal patrons.
  • Tribal Definition: For data reporting purposes, any eligible E-Rate applicant may self-identify as a Tribal school or library in their EPC entity profile if the majority of students or library patrons served are Tribal members; the school or library is located partially or entirely on Tribal land; or is a school operated by or receiving funding from the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE); or is a school or library operated by a Tribal Nation.
  • Eligible State/Tribal Funding: For Tribal schools and libraries, E-Rate will match funding from states, Tribal governments, or other federal agencies. In all cases, E-Rate matching funds will only be approved if the special construction project will provide high-speed broadband connections that meet the FCC’s connectivity targets adopted in the E-Rate Modernization Order and may not be applied to any other cost.

Special Announcements

  • Funding Year 2023 Filing Window: The E-Rate 2023 Filing Window will open January 18, 2023 at noon ET and close March 28, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. To learn more and start the application process, Tribal schools and libraries can visit the E-Rate Applicant Process. 
  • USAC is hosting the Tribal Teleconference: E-Rate FCC Form 470 (Competitive Bidding) and FCC Form 471 (Applying for Discounts) on February 7, 2023 at 4 p.m. ET. Register to learn more.
  • Planning to apply for E-Rate funding? The first step is identifying your school or library’s IT needs. USAC hosted a webinar with Gigabit Libraries and Beyond to help you identify those needs.
  • Tribal Libraries Pilot Program: To help Tribal libraries that are new to the E-Rate program, the new Tribal Libraries Pilot Program will provide one-on-one assistance in all aspects of preparing, applying, and receiving E-Rate support during the upcoming funding year. This includes sharing information about program rules and requirements, providing training on how to use the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC), and walking through the competitive bidding and application processes. The pilot will also support participants during the invoicing and other post-commitment processes, including the service confirmation and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) certification or service substitution requests. Visit the Tribal Libraries Pilot Program page to learn more about the pilot and how to apply.
  • Tribal Library Eligibility: The FCC adopted a Report and Order (Tribal Library Order) at its January 27, 2022, open meeting that amends the FCC’s rules by updating the definition of a library, and clarifying that Tribal libraries are eligible for support through the E-Rate program. The Tribal Library Order adds “Tribal library” to the definition of a “library” in the E-Rate rules. It also amends the rules to recognize that Tribal libraries are eligible for support from state library administrative agencies under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018. In the Tribal Library Order, the FCC explains that Tribal Councils can designate a library as a Tribal library (for example, through a Tribal Resolution), and Tribal libraries should be able to demonstrate that they have three basic characteristics of a library:
    • Regularly scheduled hours
    • Staff
    • Materials available for library users
  • The FCC also directs USAC, together with FCC staff, to develop targeted outreach efforts to increase awareness of the program among Tribal libraries and adopt new metrics to gauge the participation of Tribal libraries in the E-Rate program.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

  • Q1. Can a Tribal Council submit a letter instead of a Tribal resolution?
    • Answer: Any Tribal library that is eligible for LSTA funding under the Museum and Library Services Act of 2018 and has not been validated by the E-Rate program should be prepared to demonstrate its eligibility by providing:
      • Documentation from an authorizing Tribal government entity (such as a charter or ordinance or letter from the Tribal Council), as well as documentation that shows that the applicant has characteristics of a library, including regular hours, staff, and materials, OR<
      • A signed letter from a state library agency.
  • Q2. Should Tribal libraries seeking eligibility under a Tribal resolution or letter wait until the Tribal Library Order takes effect on March 16 to certify the FCC Form 470 or create profiles?
    • Answer: There is no need to wait until March 16. Tribal libraries should start the process as soon as possible.

See E-Rate Tribal Training Schedule and Resources