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What is E-Rate?
The E-Rate Program

E-Rate is a telecommunications discount program for schools and libraries paid for by the Universal Service Fund.

This fund is collected by telecommunication providers on behalf of the federal government in the form of the "Universal Service" fee that appears on most Internet and telephone bills.

The Universal Service Fund is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission

E-Rate Funding

E-Rate is designed to assist schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access.

E-Rate funding supports connectivity - the conduit or pipeline for communications using telecommunications services and/or the Internet. As of Funding Year 2015, the focus of E-Rate support is to enable high-speed broadband connectivity.

Funding is available for eligible products and services in two categories:

  • Category One
    • Data Transmission Services and Internet Access
    • Voice Services
  • Category Two
    • Internal Connections
    • Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections
    • Managed Internal Broadband Services

LEARN MORE Learn more about Category One and Category Two Services


Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty as measured by the percentage of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program and the urban or rural location of the population served. The higher the poverty level, the higher the discounts.

For Category One, discounts range from 20% to 90% of the costs of eligible services.

For Category Two, discounts range from 20% to 85% of the costs of eligible services.

Eligible schools, school districts, and libraries may apply to receive E-Rate funding on eligible services.

LEARN MORE Learn more about calculating discounts

E-Rate Overview

See the PDF file below for an overview of the E-Rate process including information on forms that must be filed and important deadlines to consider.

Guide File Type Size
E-Rate Overview PDF 1.79 MB