Before You Begin
First review the description of the Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) program and the application process flow chart. These documents provide an overview of the program and the sequence of activities your potential customers (referred to as “applicants” in the E-Rate program) must complete to receive funding. You can also look up unfamiliar acronyms and terms.
Understand Eligible Services
Consider the products and services you provide. Many commercially available internet access and data transmission services are eligible for discounts, as is certain equipment that allows access to these services. In Funding Year 2024, Wi-Fi on school buses will be eligible for discounts. The Eligible Services Overview provides a general understanding of eligible products and services. You should also review the Eligible Services List (ESL) for the appropriate funding year because the entries in this list, and their eligibility, can change from year to year. Some products and services can be partially or conditionally eligible for discounts and the ineligible portion will need to be cost-allocated.
A service provider may have signed contracts with state agencies that applicants use to purchase eligible services. Be sure to check with the appropriate state agencies to see what applicants must do to apply for eligible services through a state master contract.
* Starting in Funding Year 2019, Voice services are no longer eligible for discounts.
Know Your Customer’s Eligibility
To be eligible for discounts, which range from 20 – 90 percent of the actual cost of the eligible equipment and services, applicants must meet the program definition of a school or a library. Discounts are based on the category of service requested(i.e., Category one or Category two), the level of poverty, and the urban/rural status of the population served. Eligible schools and libraries can also form consortia, such as state networks or regional library service systems. The consortium leader may or may not be eligible for discounts. Certain school and library buildings may also be eligible for discounts, such as non-instructional facilities (NIFs). Based on state law, other, non-traditional elementary and secondary educational entities (i.e., juvenile justice entities, adult education, pre-kindergarten, Head Start, etc.), and Educational Service Agencies (ESAs) may also be eligible for discounts.
E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC)
Your company must have an account in EPC to file program forms, receive notifications, and conduct other program activities. You must have an account administrator, who manages your account and grants rights to other users. If you do not have an account in EPC or need assistance, call our Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100.
Once you have reviewed the information above and you are interested in participating in the E-Rate program, your next step is to file an FCC Form 498 to obtain a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN). This number is also known as the service provider’s 498 ID.