E-Rate is the common term for the Schools and Libraries Program administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company. The program, funded through contributions from telecommunications service providers to the Universal Service Fund, provides discounts to schools and libraries purchasing eligible internet access, telephone service, and internal connections.
Typically, E-Rate requires filling out 3 to 4 forms:
- Form 470 describes your library's needs for Internet connections, telephone service, or networking between computers. Vendors can read your form online and submit bids to provide your library with these services.
- Form 471 tells the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) what bids for services you accepted. It identifies the vendors who will be providing these services and how much these services will probably cost. The form requires calculating your e-rate discount based on the eligibility of students in your school district for free and reduced lunches. View the form instructions for more information.
- Form 486 tells the Schools and Libraries Division that the services have been delivered and how much the services cost. This gives the Schools and Libraries Division permission to now pay the vendors.
- Form 472 asks for reimbursement for the difference between the amount you paid and the cost of the services after the discount.
E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC)
- New for Funding Year 2016 and beyond.
- One location for all program activities - applications, certify forms, submit requests, respond to PIA, ask questions.
- Libraries applying for E-Rate should have an EPC account.
- PINs are no longer needed to certify applications - the Account Administrator will certify forms in EPC.
- USAC sends an invitation email to the account administrator to log in to the portal.
- EPC Login at portal.usac.org OR on the USAC website.
- Kan-Ed's Kansas E-Rate Services page
- 2023 Spring E-Rate Webinar: PIA Review, Form 486, and Invoicing
How to find help
- Client Service Bureau (CSB) - 888-203-8100 for help with:
- Verifying accounts and account administrators
- Updating profile information
- Creating new users and updating existing users
- Linking organizations
- General questions and help
- USAC's Online Learning Library - many topics covered and webinar recordings, including:
- How to sign into the EPC
- Form 470 Video Series
- Form 471 - Starting your application
- Form 486 - Preparing to File
Keep Track of E-Rate Paperwork
There are specific requirements for the retention of E-Rate documents, and your files are subject to audit. The provisions can be found here.
- The SLD offers this Table of Contents and Tab System for an E-Rate Binder:
Home Page of the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company
Kansas Free and Reduced Data is published under Kansas K-12 Reports, which is accessible here: http://svapp15586.ksde.org/k12/k12.aspx
- To access District Level Data, click on the Organizations tab to access the data by USD #.
- Then on the left of any single-district page, click on USD ### Statistics.
- Under Attendance/Enrollment Reports, access Students Approved for Free or Reduced Price Lunches Headcount Enrollment, select the school year , and select the Type of Report--either District Total or By Schools to generate a comprehensive list of all schools in the district.
Public libraries receiving federal funds (E-Rate, LSTA) are in most cases required to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). View these helpful links for more information:
- CIPA Guidance for Libraries (SLD News Brief). Excellent resource.
- E-rate Central CIPA Primer & Checklist
- USAC Form 486 CIPA Compliance
- CIPA information from the ALA - American Library Association (ALA)
- CIPA FAQs for school libraries - ALA Washington Office
While not directly tied to Erate or other federal funds programs, all Kansas Public Libraries are required by law to comply with the Kansas Children's Internet Protection Act. For more information visit the KS-CIPA page.