The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Schools and Libraries program, also known as the E-Rate program, makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries in America.
Congress mandated in 1996 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) use the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) to provide discounted eligible telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries.
Public libraries and library systems are eligible to receive discounts as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for libraries.
Eligible schools and libraries may receive discounts on telecommunications, telecommunications services, and Internet access, as well as internal connections, managed internal broadband services and basic maintenance of internal connections.
Discounts range from 20 to 90 percent and are based on the poverty level of the schools. Rural schools and libraries may also receive a higher discount. Recipients must pay some portion of the service costs.
How to Apply
Before filing any applications, you must start with the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC). EPC is the main portal where all E-Rate forms and applications are filed. Before you can begin to file for E-Rate, you must register in the EPC system.
- 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
The South Carolina State Library created the The Technology Plan template to establish guidelines in developing a comprehensive technology planning document for your library. The guidelines indicate particular information that must be included in the plan in order for certification.
Current recommendations are for the Technology Plan to cover a two (2) year period. However, depending on how technology is used in your library, your plan can cover a shorter or longer period, but not to exceed three (3) years.
All South Carolina public libraries must have a current technology plan on file with the South Carolina State Library. As members of the South Carolina Library Network, South Carolina public libraries are listed in the filing for E-Rate discounts for internet access and some telecommunications. Therefore, all libraries must have a technology plan that meets SLD-USAC requirements.
The window for filing E-Rate forms 470 and 471 usually opens in early November and closes in January. The Technology Plan should be submitted to the South Carolina State Library for certification no later than March 15.
Please email a copy of your completed plan, including the certification/signature page to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once your plan is approved by the South Carolina State Library, you will receive via email a signed copy of the confirmation page for your record of receipt.
Questions regarding the submission process, please contact Hannah Majewski at (803) 734-1589 or email@example.com.
- NCES and FSCS Codes
- Discount Matrix for Libraries
- Eligible Services List
- Eligible Products Database (Most useful for Internal Connections applications)
- FCC Orders about Schools and Libraries
- USAC Schools & Libraries Website
- Free and Reduced Meal Eligibility Data
- E-Rate Central
E-Rate Central provides e-rate consulting, compliance, and forms processing services for e-rate applicants.
- South Carolina E-Rate State Information
Data and resources for South Carolina E-Rate funding
- Children's Internet Protection Act
Full text of Public Law 106-554. Go to Title XVII.