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School and Library Eligibility

Schools and libraries must meet statutory definitions to be eligible for Schools and Libraries (E-rate) program support.

Definition of a School

For purposes of universal service support, schools must meet the statutory definition of elementary and secondary schools found in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 U.S.C. Section 7801(18) and (38)):

  • An elementary school is a non-profit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school, that provides elementary education, as determined under state law.
  • A secondary school is a non-profit institutional day or residential school, including a public secondary charter school, that provides secondary education, as determined under state law, except that such term does not include any education beyond grade 12.

Schools operating as for-profit businesses or that have endowments exceeding $50 million are not eligible. In some cases, non-traditional facilities and students may be eligible. For more information regarding specific eligibility of Head Start, pre-kindergarten, juvenile justice, and adult education student populations and facilities, visit the Non-traditional Education page. An Educational Service Agency (ESA), which may operate owned or leased instructional facilities, may be eligible for E-rate program support if it provides elementary or secondary education as defined in state law.

Definition of a Library

Libraries must meet the statutory definition of library or library consortium found in the Library Services and Technology Act of 1996 (LSTA) (20 U.S.C. Section 9122) and must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under that Act.

The definition of a library includes:

  • A public library
  • A public elementary school or secondary school library
  • An academic library
  • A research library, one that makes publicly available library services and material suitable for scholarly research and not otherwise available to the public and is not an integral part of an institution of higher education
  • A private library, but only if the state in which such private library is located determines that the library should be considered a library for purposes of this definition

A library’s eligibility for support also depends on its funding as an independent entity. Only libraries whose budgets are completely separate from any schools, including but not limited to, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities shall be eligible to receive discounted services.

For example, an elementary school library is only eligible to receive discounted services if its budget is completely separate from the elementary school. If its budget is not completely separate from the elementary school, the elementary school library is not eligible for support independent from the school with which it is associated.