E-Rate: Overcoming the Hurdle
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E-Rate: Overcoming the Hurdle Presented by the WebJunction communities of Arizona, Kansas, and New Mexico NMLA/MPLA 2007 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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E-Rate: Overcoming the Hurdle Presented by the WebJunction communities of Arizona, Kansas, and New Mexico NMLA/MPLA 2007 Conference 16 March 2007. Agenda. Overview of the E-Rate program. Understanding the E-Rate calendar. Reasons for E-Rate funding denial. E-Rate resources.

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E-Rate: Overcoming the HurdlePresented by the WebJunction communities of Arizona, Kansas, and New MexicoNMLA/MPLA 2007 Conference16 March 2007

Agenda l.jpg

  • Overview of the E-Rate program.

  • Understanding the E-Rate calendar.

  • Reasons for E-Rate funding denial.

  • E-Rate resources.

  • E-Rate success stories from the field.

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All About the Numbers…

Most of the statistics in this presentation come from:

Public Libraries and the Internet 2006,

Florida State University:


An ongoing study funded by the American Library Association and

the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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E-Rate Overview

The Universal Service Fund (USF or E-Rate) program:

  • Funded by interstate telecommunications usage charges.

  • Designed to partially fund telecommunications services and infrastructure used for educational purposes in schools and libraries.

  • If you pay a phone bill, you’re paying into the program. Look for the Federal USF or Universal Service charge (next slide).

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The BIG Picture

  • Program is capped at a total payout of $2.25billion per year.

  • Between 4% and 5% of the total funds are disbursed to public libraries.

  • The majority of the E-Rate funds go to schools.

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How Can E-Rate Funds Be Used?

  • Telecommunications services

  • Internet access

  • Internal connections

  • Basic maintenance of internal connections

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Why Apply?

  • Get help paying for:

    • Internet access / wireless / computer training labs

    • Tech support staff

  • Get help providing Internet services for:

    • Low income families who can't afford internet access

    • Children who need resources for their home-work

    • Seniors

    • Travelers

    • Small businesses

    • Job seekers

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More Reasons for Not Applying…

  • Resource issues

    • No time to do it, no trained staff, no resources

    • Tried, had problems, gave up

    • Applied, encumbered but did not claim

  • Training issues

    • Requires a level of expertise to develop confidence especially to apply for all elements

    • Apply only for telephones as doing more involves doing a tech plan in the format required by USAC

  • Vendor issues

    • Do not have enough vendors to get competitive rates or services

    • Some vendors do not understand or are unwilling to do the reimbursements

    • Bills bundled into one big county/city bill

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Understanding the E-Rate Calendar

  • Funding year: July 1 through the following June 30.

  • Understanding the calendar can be one of the most challenging parts of the program 

  • The application process occurs prior to the start of the funding year.

  • If you are apply for more than telephone service, you need a draft of a Technology Plan before the start of the process.

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E-Rate Funding Denial

Unfortunately, the E-Rate program is administratively complex. ; )

In addition, the program has been subject to waste, fraud and abuse.

This means that the Schools & Libraries Division (SLD) is vigilant about reviewing and (sometimes) challenging funding applications.

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Reasons for Denial

  • Ineligible products and services

  • Contracts not signed or not in place

  • Unauthorized consortium members

  • Insufficient documentation

  • Insufficient support resources

  • Form 470 not filed

  • Competitive bidding violations

  • 28-Day Rule violations

  • Invalid telecom provider

  • Form 470 not certified or certified late

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E-Rate Success Stories

Arizona: Aggressive training + Resources and Tools total reimbursements for 2004-05 of $57.5 million or #9 in total reimbursements for the country.

  • In Pinal County, we have mostly rural libraries, with 6 libraries in very remote areas. With the help of e-rate funding, I have been able to get T1 lines to every library in our county. The high cost would be out of our range without the discounts provided by e-rate. The real benefit is to the residents in remote areas, since the public access workstations in the libraries are often the only available internet connection. Denise Keller, Pinal County

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E-Rate Success Stories


E-Rate is invaluable for a small library like us because it enables our library

to shift about $500.00 of our budget to books, programs or technology that

we could not do if we were paying full rates for telephone service and internet.

Kim Priest, Mary Cotton Public Library, Sabetha

Because of E-rate funding we were able to increase our internet speed and

offer our patrons this valuable service of free high speed Internet. Many of

our patrons do not have a computer or cannot afford the faster internet


Jean Schlegel, Ness City Public Library

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Looking for Help?

Visit our presentation handout online at:


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Malavika Muralidharan

Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records

[email protected]

Jeff Hall


[email protected]

Cindi Hickey

Kansas State Library

[email protected]