E-rate is a federal program that lets public schools and libraries apply for discounts on eligible internet services to help increase broadband connectivity. The program is managed by the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). All applications are submitted online via the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).
UPDATES for Funding Year 2023
The Funding Year (FY) 2023 Form 471 application filing window will open January 18 at 12:00 noon and close on March 28 at 11:59 PM.
Form 470 Application Changes
When requesting eligible services and/or equipment for the upcoming funding year, the drop down menu options have changed for both Categories 1 and 2. Consult the Form 470 Services Guiding Statements Reference Table (FY22-24) to determine the correct menu items to select in the form.
Category Two (C2) Budgets
The new five-year C2 budget cycle began with FY2021. The budgets are fixed for the five-year cycle (adjusted for inflation once, before the cycle starts) and apply at the library system level instead of individual budgets for each library location. Use the new Category Two Budget tool to track your five-year budget.
Basic Steps to Apply
- Submit Form 470 describing the eligible services you want; you may not choose a provider until the form has been online and available for a minimum of 28 days (Summer-Fall)
- Submit Form 471 about your chosen provider and the costs of services; you must submit this form before the deadline set by USAC (Winter--USAC will announce the opening and closing dates which usually occur Jan-Mar)
- You will get a Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) after filing your Form 471
- Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) reviews all applications and contacts applicants if they have any clarifying questions
- Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) are mailed beginning in late spring and continually throughout the year as applications are reviewed
- Submit Form 486 after receiving your FCDL stating that you are receiving services and are CIPA compliant (File within 120 days of receiving your FCDL)
- Submit Form 472 if you are paying the service provider in full and want to receive the discounted amount as a reimbursement; you will receive payment directly to your bank account and you must have completed Form 498
- If you pay the service provider the discounted amount they will submit Form 474 to get reimbursed by USAC
For questions, contact Lynda Reynolds, Consultant for Public Library Management and Interim State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, at firstname.lastname@example.org.