What is E-rate?
The Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, commonly known as "E-Rate," is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. It is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services.
The amount of the reimbursement/discount is based off the district's free and reduced figures and range from 20% to 90% of the costs of eligible services. Eligible schools, school districts and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium. The Duluth Public schools is not part of a consortium.
Applicants must provide additional resources including end-user equipment (e.g., computers, telephones, etc.), software, professional development, and the other elements that are necessary to utilize the connectivity funded by the E-Rate Program.
By maintaining eligiblity for this program the Duluth Public School District is able to recover roughly half of what is spent on telecommunication expenses and use the funding to support additonal improvements district wide.