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Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Which schools and libraries are eligible to receive discounts?
To be eligible for universal service discounts, a school must meet the statutory definition of an elementary or secondary school found in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, must not operate as a for-profit business, and must not have an endowment exceeding $50 million. Both public and non-public schools that meet these criteria will be eligible to receive discounts on eligible services.
A library must operate as a not-for-profit business and must be eligible for assistance from a state library administrative agency under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). A library's eligibility for universal service discounts funding will depend on its funding as an independent entity. "Independent" means that the budget of the library must be completely separate from that of any institution of learning.
Question: Will eligible schools and libraries applying for discount funding be allowed to aggregate their demand for services with others?
Yes. Eligible schools and libraries may aggregate their demand with others to create a consortium with sufficient demand to attract competitors and negotiate lower rates. Entities not eligible for universal service discounts will benefit from lower pre-discount prices from such aggregation, their participation in the consortia with eligible entities will not change the ineligible entity’s status.
Question: What should I know about service providers that are willing to assume administrative responsibilities for my application and is listed as one of the service providers on the application?
This situation subjects the entity to additional rules, which translates into additional risks that may result in denial of funding. There are limitations as to the involvement a service provider may have with the Form 470 and Form 471 on behalf of entities. These service providers while performing certain administrative roles may compromise competitive bidding requirements of the program.
Question: Someone contacted us regarding E-Rate and asked about the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. We indicated that demographic was a minority of our enrollment but we still wanted to apply for funding. The service provider immediately loss interest, can we apply?
Certainly. You were probably about to be victimized by a service provider. Some service providers have made extreme attempts to engage high discount eligible schools. These service providers then prepare applications, which include extreme markups for their services. The school’s representative is then given the application for their signature, relieving the preparing service provider of liability. You may report any such incidents to EES and we will initiate an investigation by SLD. BE CAREFUL.