SIIA today released an updated guide to the E-rate program in partnership with Funds For Learning. The guide will help companies navigate the complex E-rate program during a time when technology use in schools is evolving rapidly, and E-rate demand is outpacing available funding nearly two to one.
Using E-rate funds, libraries and public and private schools receive a 20-90 percent discount for telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections technology. Between 1998 and 2010, over $59 billion in E-rate funding has been requested.
The SIIA E-rate Guide will help software and technology companies – and their education customers – manage changes to this ever-evolving program. The Guide provides background information on E-rate rules and eligible services opportunities for software publishers, as well as an analysis of both the current E-rate market and how E-rate funds affect school technology purchases.
Since its inception in 1998, the E-rate program has helped close the digital divide, especially for students in high-poverty and rural communities.. However, while demand for E-rate funds has increased by 108 percent from $2.36 billion in 1998 to $4.65 billion in 2011, the available funding has remained nearly the same at $2.25 billion plus inflation starting in 2010.
Now, more than ever, it is vital for software and technology companies to understand the nuances of the E-rate program. SIIA remains focused on helping schools and libraries access needed technologies through the E-rate, and will continue to work with education, government, and industry leaders to support the stability and growth of the E-rate program.
GUIDE: SIIA’s “Guide to the E-rate” is available in SIIA’s eStore for free to SIIA members and for a fee to other software and technology companies. The Executive Summary is available for free to everyone. Visit http://www.siia.net/estore/.
WEBINAR: SIIA, in partnership with SellingtoSchools.com, will host a free webinar on April 26, 3-4 p.m. EST, providing all software and technology companies with an update on the E-rate program and an overview of the SIIA Guide. Visit http://siia.net/events/.
Mark Schneiderman is Senior Director of Education Policy at SIIA.