E-Rate Discounts

E-Rate Discounts

Cornerstone is eligible to participate as a vendor for the E-rate program and has worked with other schools and libraries to maximize these federal dollars. Let us assist you in accessing and utilizing available funds to improve your school and/or library.

Officially known as Universal Service Funding for Schools and Libraries, the E-Rate program was created as part of the U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 to connect schools and libraries to the Internet. E-Rate program policies are designed to promote competition between service providers and help institutions connect to the Internet cost-effectively. The program is funded with approximately $2.25 billion dollars annually from the Universal Service Fund.

E-Rate discounts can range from 20 to 90 percent on eligible services. Applicants calculate their discount rate based on the number of students eligible for participation in the National School Lunch Program (the "free and reduced" lunch program administered by the USDA.) The discount rate is meant to represent an accurate picture to the relative poverty level of a certain geographic area. It also takes into consideration whether the applicant is located in a rural or urban area.
The types of products and services eligible for E-Rate discounts fall into four broad categories:

  • Telecommunications Services
  • Internet Access
  • Internal Connections (networking infrastructure products)
  • Basic Maintenance

In order for your school or library to be eligible for the program it must be either:

  • an elementary or secondary school as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001(20 U.S.C. $ 7801(1 8) and (38)
  • A library or library consortium as defined by the 1996 Library Services and Technology Act (Pub. L. No. 10-208) (LSTA)

Eligible schools or libraries also need to meet these criteria:

  • Must not operate on a for-profit basis
  • Must not have an endowment greater than $50 million
  • May be a public or private institution, a day or residential school, or a public charter school (including a religious school)