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). It provides discounts to help most U.S. schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and bandwidth. It is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services.
- E-Rate discounts are based on the the school’s participation in the National School Lunch Program and it’s urban or rural status.
- The program provides eligible K-12 institutions with up to 90% discounts on approved telecommunications, and up to 85% discounts on internal connections, basic maintenance of internal connections and managed internal broadband services.
Schools: All elementary and secondary schools, as defined within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, are covered. Private schools are eligible as long as they are not a for-profit business and do not have an endowment exceeding $50 million. Individual schools, school districts, and consortia are eligible applicants.
Libraries: Public libraries, as defined in the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), are also eligible. This includes individual library branches, facilities, systems, and consortia.
What Services are Available?
Telecommunication Services: Schools and libraries have maximum flexibility to choose among different types of commercially available telecommunication services for both voice and data. Examples include: regular telephone lines for teachers to receive phone calls in the classroom; high-bandwidth telecommunication services; satellite delivery for distance learning; and coaxial cable.
Internet Access: Services for accessing the Internet are eligible for discounts. Content, such as a paid subscription services, is not covered.
Internal Connections — Bringing the Technology into the Learning Environment: Basic installation and maintenance of a network are eligible for discounts. Examples of eligible technologies necessary for establishing a network include: routers; hubs; wireless local area networks; and software needed for operation.
Acquiring a SPIN:
All service providers must file an FCC Form 498 to request a Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN). Once a SPIN is obtained, service providers can update and review information online.
Let SYNNEX Help You Get the Most from the E-Rate Program
To support your E-Rate mission, SYNNEX GOVSolv provides a complete set of tools that allows you to efficiently compete and fulfill your customers’ needs. From basic training for folks new to E-Rate, to advanced engineering and configuration support, network assessments and capture management, our team stands ready for the E-Rate season.
- Eligible Services List – See Appendix B & C
A variety of options are available for financing, depending on the situation and the market. For more information, contact your sales rep or email@example.com.
- Seasonal Fed/SLED 45
- Terms extended to 45 days
- SLED Advantage
- Blind Lockbox
- Up to $500,000 in incremental credit
- Pays in seven days of receipt of payment
- USAC Letter of Agency Template
- Forms & Instructions
E-Rate Frequently Asked Questions
How do we get started with the E-Rate Program?
- First read about the program on this website. You will need to file an application for a Service Provider Identification Number, or SPIN. Once you are familiar with the program rules and have your SPIN, you can proceed to search Form 470s in your area and start bidding!
Are there any special qualifications or certifications to acquire a SPIN?
- No, the administrative company that manages the day-to-day operations needs certain company information in order to transact business with you. Beyond the SPIN, some OEMs may require an orientation session before releasing special pricing.
Are there special pricing programs for E-Rate?
- Yes. Check with your preferred OEM or your SYNNEX sales rep. Some OEMs require training/certification in order to use those programs. Click here for a list of our GOVSolv vendors.
Where can I find opportunities, bids, and Form 470s?
- The Universal Service Administrative Company site (www.usac.org/sl)has a search tool, or you can use our Digital Navigator. If you do not have access to the Navigator, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.[link to Nav description]
- Once you receive your SPIN you should receive access to the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) from USAC. If you do not have access call their Client Services Bureau at 1-888-203-8100.
Will the E-Rate program be affected by Congressional budget battles or sequestrations?
- No, the E-Rate program is an off-budget item. It is funded by a user fee charged to your phone bill.
What is the annual budget for E-Rate?
- Currently the annual budget is set at $3.9 billion and is indexed to inflation.
- Unused funds from previous years can be rolled into the current year.
We haven’t used our SPIN for a while, do we need to get a new one?
- Not necessarily. Contact the program administrators at
- You may only need to update your information via the online tool
Does the E-Rate Program have a website?
- Yes. It’s www.usac.org/sl.
What products and services qualify for the E-Rate Program?
- Please reference our eligible-services list [link] for a detailed explanation. The intent of the program is to assist K-12 schools and public libraries to attain telecommunications and broadband services.
Where can I get training on the E-Rate Program?
- There are numerous outlets to learn about the E-Rate Program. SYNNEX GOVSolv each year produces several webinars devoted to E-Rate as well as sessions at our conferences and events. If you would like an individualized training session, contact us at email@example.com.Plus, we have designed this site to help you understand the program and supply you with periodic updates. Additionally, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which manages the day-to-day operations of E-Rate, conducts free workshops each year (you are responsible for transportation and lodging). Those dates have not been released for 2016.