E-Rate Information for Public Libraries

E-Rate, otherwise known as Universal Service Rate Discounts for Schools and Libraries, came into existence with the passing of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. An expansion of the existing Universal Phone Service, E-Rate is intended to provide schools and libraries with affordable access to advanced telecommunications in the form of service discounts. Telecommunication Services, Internet Access and Internal Connections are all subject to E-Rate discounts. Computers, software and other unrelated services, however, do not qualify for service cost reductions under this program. E-Rate is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), under FCC direction. For more information, please visit the Schools & Library Division of USAC. Applying for E-Rate discounts can often be a complicated process, one of the first things you may want to do is review step by step directions on how to apply. To learn about how CIPA (the Children's Internet Protection Act) affects the E-Rate application process, please refer to our CIPA resource page.

When calculating and applying for your E-Rate discount, you will need several different pieces of information. The following are links to pages where this information will be found for your individual library and branches. For more information visit calculating your discount.

BENs and FSCS - includes School District data, urban/rural classifications, discount percentages, and Billed Entity Numbers for libraries in Washington State.
Discount Matrix - used to calculate your discount percentage, based on school district urban/rural classifications and lunch program eligibility numbers.
Student Lunch Program Eligibility Numbers - for the School District in which your Library and/or eligible branches are located. For more information on the School Lunch Program visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

E-Rate Resources

USAC (Universal Service Administrative Company)

USAC Home page - USAC, under FCC direction, administers the Universal Service Fund (the source of E-Rate discounts)
USAC Schools & Libraries Program - E-Rate discounts are provided under the framework of the Schools and Libraries Program
CIPA and E-Rate form 486 - FAQ covering CIPA compliance in the E-Rate application process
Schools & Libraries Reference Area - links to funding reports, forms, instructions, etc., organized alphabetically by topic

E-Rate Application Forms

SL Forms - USAC's table of links to all E-Rate Application and Service Provider Forms and Instructions, available in multiple formats
SPIN Contact Search - USAC search page for looking up Service Provider information, including SPIN numbers, names, etc.
Form 470 - Description of Services Requested (Online Application)
Form 470 - Description of Services Requested (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 470, Instructions - (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 471 - Services Ordered and Certification (Online Application)
Form 471 - Services Ordered and Certification (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 471, Instructions (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 479 - Certification of CIPA (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 479, Instructions (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 486 - Receipt of services ordered confirmation form (Online Application)
Form 486 - Receipt of services ordered confirmation form (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Form 486, Instructions - (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)

FCC (Federal Communications Commission)

FCC: Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries - Q&A page answering five FAQs
FCC E-Rate page - information page, with links to recent news, Universal Service Fund updates, related educational sites, etc.
Register for a FCC Registration Number - The FCC Registration Number (FCC RN) is a required identifying number assigned to E-rate Program participants by the FCC.
Universal Service for Schools and Library - FCC page with links to fact sheets, press releases, appeal and waiver decisions, etc.


E-Rate Central - large clearinghouse of E-Rate related resource links
WebJunction : Technology Planning - Resources on WebJunction dedicated to technology planning. A section dedicated to E-rate is also included.



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