USAC announced on April 15th that the filing window for Erate would be extended due to some delays various applicants have experienced with the EPC portal system.
Here are the new deadlines:
- May 26, 2016 for schools and districts filing a 471
- April 28, 2016 for schools and districts filing a 470
- July 21, 2016 for libraries filing a 471
- June 23, 2016 for libraries filing a 470
The schools and libraries univeral service support program, also known as the Erate program, helps schools and libraries obtain funding for telecommunications and internal connections. Discounts and funding is provided based on the poverty level in the area in which the school or library is based. Discounts range from 20-90%.
You can maximize your opportunity with Erate in the following ways:
1. Don’t wait to appy! $3.9 billion dollars are available this year in Erate. Even though the deadline has been extended, there is quite a bit of work that goes into submitting a form 470 to apply for funding. You will need to understand what discount rate applies to your school and how much money you need to upgrade your network.
2. Understand what is Erate funded and what is not. The Federal Communications Commission has released an order on exactly what equipment is eligible for Erate funding. As you pull together your form 470 and decide what equipment should be included, we recommend that you read through the order so you include all equipment that is eligible.
3. Don’t go in blind. The program provides a discount up to $150 per student over a 5 year period so it makes sense to develop a 5 year technology plan so you can use these dollars wisely.