E-Rate Information for Merit's MembersOn May 7, 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Universal Service Fund Order implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The law and subsequent Order's intent was to facilitate affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services for eligible schools and libraries. The program, known as Education Rate or Erate makes up to $2.25 billion annually available to provide discounts on eligible services to schools and libraries.
The not-for-profit Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is responsible for administering the Fund under the direction of the FCC. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of USAC administers the day-to-day operations of the E-Rate program.
Program OverviewEligible non-profit schools and libraries may receive discounts ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent on eligible telecommunication services, depending on economic need and location (urban or rural). The level of discount is based upon the percentage of students eligible for participation in the National School Lunch Program or other federally approved alternative mechanisms contained in the Improving America’s Schools Act. Libraries use the discount percentage of the school district in which they are located.
Eligible services include:
- Traditional telecommunications services: a full range of commercially available telecommunications services including basic telephone service, long distance telephone service, voice over IP (VoIP) telephone service, leased data circuits, ISDN lines, and video services.
- Internet access: dial-in and/or direct connections, voice over IP (VoIP) telephone service, web-hosting and e-mail (training and content is not included).
- Internal connections: communications wiring, routers, switches, hubs, PBXs, network servers, uninterruptible power supply systems, some networking software, voice over IP service, and wireless LANs, as well as maintenance of these connections.
- Training: user training related to eligible services.
|E-Rate Discount Program Information|
|Eligible Merit Network Services for E-Rate|
|E-Rate Form 471, Block 5, Item 21: Service Description: Dedicated Internet Access|