Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Illinois State Library
E-rate is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Funding may be requested under two categories of service: Category One services include Data Transmission Services, Internet Access, and Voice Services. Category Two services include Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. Discounts for support depend on the category of service requested, the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the appropriate school district. Discounts range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.
- Libraries must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act [20 U.S.C. Chapter 72, Subchapter II].
- Libraries must have budgets completely separate from any schools (including, but not limited to, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities).
- Libraries cannot operate as for-profit businesses.
Process & Timeline
Application Filing Window: These dates differ each year. Please refer to USAC’s website for updates.
Form 470: Description of Services Requested and Certification Form
- Conduct an open bidding process and select most cost-effective service provider.
- Form 470 must be posted at least 28 days before filing Form 471.
Form 471: Services Ordered and Certification Form
- Form 471 needs to be submitted and certified by 10:59 pm Central Time on the day that the filing window closes.
- Application is reviewed by USAC.
Form 486: Confirm Receipt of Services Form
- Form 486 needs to be submitted and certified within 120 days after the date of USAC’s Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) OR 120 days after the service start date, whichever is later.
Form 472: Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form
- Invoice for discounts (Form 472 OR Form 474).
- The BEAR form needs to be submitted within 120 days after the date on the form 486 Notification Letter OR 120 days after the last date to receive service, whichever is later.
Time Line: The funding year runs from July 1 to June 30 for recurring services and July 1 to September 30 for non-recurring services.
Appeals: Must be submitted and postmarked no later than 60 days after the date of USAC’s decision letter.
Applicants use the discount matrix below to determine the correct discount level for an individual school or library outlet.
Schools and Libraries
Schools and Libraries
|The discount level is measured by % of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).||Discount Level:||Discount Level:|
|Urban Discount||Rural Discount||Urban Discount||Rural Discount|
|Less than 1%||20%||25%||20%||25%|
|1% to 19%||40%||50%||40%||50%|
|20% to 34%||50%||60%||50%||60%|
|35% to 49%||60%||70%||60%||70%|
|50% to 74%||80%||80%||80%||80%|
|75% to 100%||90%||90%||85%||85%|
- E-rate (USAC Schools and Libraries Program)
- Glossary of terms
- E-rate Central
- E-rate Productivity Center (EPC)
- Eligible Services List
- Internet Safety / Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Requirements
- Training and Outreach
- Weekly News Brief Subscribe to receive E-rate program tips, deadline reminders, etc.
Additional Resources for Illinois Schools and Libraries
- Illinois Free and Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility Data Eligibility data provided by ISBE. Contact your school district for the most recent data.
Illinois Procurement Bulletin: Master Contracts
Schools and libraries may use the Statewide Master Contracts listed below to purchase items for E-Rate Category 2, or use the information provided in them as a reference when completing Form FCC 470. To begin the process of seeking funding for eligible services under the E-rate program, applicants must initiate the required competitive bidding process by filing FCC Form 470 online with USAC.
Emergency Connectivity Fund
As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). The ECF Program includes $7.17 billion appropriated by Congress to provide funding to eligible schools and libraries for the purchase of equipment, Wi-Fi hotspots, routers, broadband connections and other eligible equipment and services for use outside library and school grounds by students, school staff, and library patrons who otherwise would not have access to internet.
Who is eligible?
Schools, libraries and consortia of schools and libraries that are eligible for discounts under the E-rate program will also qualify for support through the ECF Program. Since this program will also be administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the application process will be similar to that of E-rate.
Libraries and schools will be able to apply for funding for the purchase of eligible equipment and services made between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. The second application window will open on September 28, 2021 and will remain open until October 13, 2021.
If you have any questions about E-rate or ECF, please contact your library system E-rate consultant or call the State Library at 217–785–0363.