E-rate Application Process
While the E-rate program has served to fulfill the promise of technology in K-12 education, the process of filing for discounts can sometimes be daunting. That's why Gabbart Communication has invested its time and expertise to help you through this process. The following information is provided by Gabbart Communication to help schools and districts take advantage of E-rate funding to improve communication, collaboration, accountability and performance in their school or district. If you would like further information, please contact us directly and we will be happy to help.
In 1934, Congress established a policy that "a rapid, efficient, nation-wide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges" would be "available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States." In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress expanded this principle to specifically include an obligation for telecommunications providers to make available discounted services to the nation's schools and libraries. This initiative became known as the E-rate (or Education Rate) program, and is currently administered by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Their website, with additional E-rate information, may be found at http://www.usac.org/sl.
The following entities are eligible for E-rate discounts: elementary and secondary public schools, non-profit elementary and secondary parochial and private schools (with endowments under $50 million), public libraries, and many private non-profit libraries accessible to the public.
The following matrix shows how schools and libraries can benefit from the E-rate program:
|Measured by % of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program||Discount||Discount|
|If the % of students in a school that qualifies for the National School Lunch Program is...||... and the school is located in an URBAN area, the discount will be...||... and the school is located in a RURAL area, the discount will be...|
|Less than 1%||20%||25%|
|1% to 19%||40%||50%|
|20% to 34%||50%||60%|
|35% to 49%||60%||70%|
|50% to 74%||80%||80%|
|75% to 100%||90%||90%|
GABBART COMMUNICATIONS'S E-RATE ELIGIBILITY
All eligible products and services under the E-rate program fall into one of three categories: Telecommunications, Internet Access, and Internal Connections. Both the Telecommunications and Internet Access categories are considered Priority One services and are fully funded every year. Since Gabbart Communication's offers "Web Hosting" services, we qualify for discounts under the Priority One "Internet Access" category. Because Gabbart Communication also includes components that are not considered eligible under the E-rate program, only a percentage of our services may be submitted for E-rate funding. The features chosen by your school or district determine this percentage.
APPLYING FOR E-RATE DISCOUNTS FOR "EMAIL SERVICE"
In order to receive E-rate funds, applicants must file three separate forms annually with the SLD in the following sequence:
STEP 1: File a Form 470 (Roughly July through November)
The first step in applying for E-rate funds is to submit a Form 470 which describes the services your school or district is interested in purchasing.
If you wish to receive a proposal from Scholastic Communication or from other vendors providing similar services, simply check Box 9 (Internet Access) and enter "Email Service" along with the total number of users and school sites you wish to cover.
After filing a Form 470, you must then wait 28 days from the date it is posted before movi ng on to Step 2. This 28-day waiting period allows vendors to bid on the services you've requested. During this time, you are obligated to consider any and all proposals that you may receive from vendors. Note, however, that even though you may have applied for a certain service, you are not required to follow through with it in Step 2.
STEP 2: File a Form 471 (Roughly November through early-February)
At least 28 days after submitting your Form 470, you may sign a contract with the vendor you have chosen. Note: Your contract should contain a contingency clause that nullifies the agreement should E-rate funding not come through for whatever reason. Once a contract has been signed, you must then file a Form 471 which details all of the services you've chosen to implement and names all of the vendors that will be performing the work. If you were to select Scholastic Communication for "Web Hosting Service," your Form 471 Block 5 would have our SPIN number (143027725) entered in #13, and our corporate name (Scholastic Communications) entered in #14.
STEP 3: File a Form 486 (July and Beyond)
Once the SLD has reviewed your Form 471 and funds have been allocated for that program year, you will then receive a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) specifying which components of your application have been funded and which have been denied. If your funding request has been approved, you may then begin to implement your services. Once service has begun, you must then file a Form 486, which informs the SLD that disbursement of funds can begin.
GETTING HELP WITH E-RATE
From the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD): The SLD's Client Service Bureau is available to answer questions about the E-rate program as well as the application process. Their toll-free number is 1-888-203-8100 and their toll free fax question line is 1-888-276- 8736. You may also obtain documents using the SLD's toll-free fax on demand service at 1-800-959-0733. For all the up-to-date information on the E-rate and to file applications online, visit the SLD's website at: www.usac.org/sl. For all the up-to-date information on the E-rate and to file applications online, visit the SLD's website at: www.usac.org/sl.