- Schools and libraries in 30 states left millions of dollars in unclaimed E-Rate funds on the table, with West Coast states failing to collect more than a quarter of available funds, or $133 million.
- Overall, $245 million in E-Rate grant money was left unclaimed in the federal program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission, with fees charged to telecommunications companies.
- Ed Tech reports nine Midwestern states left nearly $40 million, or 11% of the money they could have claimed in 2014, and 10 East Coast states left $73.4 million, or about 23% of their allotment.
The E-Rate program was created in 1996 as a way for the federal government to help every citizen have access to telecommunications services, internal connections, and the internet. Through the program, schools and libraries can tap into funding to support their own infrastructure projects. In 2014, the program was modernized with additional money being set aside for wi-fi access in schools and libraries.
Administrators can apply for the E-Rate funding to get new access points for networks, improve firewall services, get more backups, do basic maintenance, pay for phone services, and pay for internet services. Virtually every school in the country has costs that could be covered with E-Rate dollars. It doesn’t make sense to leave them on the table.