E-Rate Information and Resources
What is E-Rate?
E-Rate is the common term for the Schools and Libraries Program administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company. The program, funded through contributions from telecommunications service providers to the Universal Service Fund, provides discounts to schools and libraries purchasing eligible internet access, telephone service, and internal connections.
Typically, E-Rate requires filling out 3 to 4 forms:
Form 470 describes your library's needs for Internet connections, telephone service, or networking between computers. Vendors can read your form online and submit bids to provide your library with these services.
Form 471 tells the Schools and Libraries Division what bids for services you accepted. It identifies the vendors who will be providing these services and how much these services will probably cost. The form requires calculating your e-rate discount based on the eligibility of students in your school district for free and reduced lunches.
- Form Instructions
Form 486 tells the Schools and Libraries Division that the services have been delivered and how much the services actually cost. This gives the Schools and Libraries Division permission to now pay the vendors.
Form 472 asks for reimbursement for the difference between the amount you paid and the cost of the services after the discount.
Check out the resources available to public library E-rate applicants via Kan-Ed's Kansas E-rate Services page.
Kan-ed Network Libraries: E-Rate Tips for Transitioning
If your public library is disconnecting from the Kan-ed Network, please read these Considerations and Suggestions for Establishing Services, Contracts & RFPs.
Download Chris Rippel's checklist-style E-Rate Folder Cover
This cover for file folders is easy to use:
- Get a file folder for each year of e-rate you want to keep.
- Make enough photocopies of the "E-Rate Folder Cover" for each of the folders.
- Staple a copy of the "E-Rate Folder Cover" on the inside or outside of the front cover of each file folder.
- As you progress through the e-rate process, put papers in the folder and fill out the cover sheet.
Another Table of Contents and Tab System for an E-Rate Binder
Writing a technology plan in support of your E-Rate application
Kansas Libraries applying for E-Rate funds are no longer required to have an approved technology plan on file with the State Library, unless applying for Priority 2 services (Internal Connections / Basic Maintenance). However, as public libraries become increasingly reliant on dependable effective technologies and communication methods in order to provide quality service, it's good practice to have a written plan that brings together in one place the resources available and the needs to be addressed.
For tips and help writing a technology plan without conforming to E-rate requirements, try out our Technology Planning Toolkit, developed in cooperation with Kansas Regional Library Systems.
If your E-rate application covers Priority 2 services and requires a plan, use the Toolkit in conjunction with E-rate's technology planning pages and resources.
Your plan must be written (not complete or State Library-approved) prior to filing Form 470, and approved prior to the start date for any services funded.
Send plans for State Library approval to:
State Library of Kansas
300 SW Tenth Avenue, Room 343N
Topeka KS 66612
Technology plans for E-Rate (MS Excel Format)
A list of Kansas public libraries currently covered by certified technology plans.Home Page of the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company
Kansas School District Statistics required for calculation of the discount rate for public libraries can be found at the Kansas State Board of Education's School Finance website ("free and reduced" categories on the left) - including the percentage calculation -- our thanks to the School Finance Team!
Public libraries receiving federal funds (E-rate, LSTA) are in most cases required to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
CIPA: A Brief FAQ on Public Library Compliance - Bob Bocher, Technology Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
CIPA information from the ALA - Information about the Children's Internet Protection Act from the American Library Association