Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Illinois State Library


Overview

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.

Library Eligibility

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

Form 471: Services Ordered and Certification Form

Form 486: Confirm Receipt of Services Form

Form 472: Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form

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.

Discount Levels

Applicants use the discount matrix below to determine the correct discount level for an individual school or library outlet.

Income Category One
Schools and Libraries
Category Two
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 Resources

Additional Resources for Illinois Schools and Libraries

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.

Application Window
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.

Questions?

ECF Information for Libraries:
https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/
https://www.ala.org/advocacy/ECF

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.