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Our Position & Actions On E-Rate Program


NEA on the E-Rate Program: Allow Payments to Continue to Schools and Libraries



NEA supports legislation that would exempt the E-Rate program from arcane accounting rules that threaten to block payments to schools and libraries. 

  • Since its creation in 1996, the E-Rate has had overwhelming success in connecting our nation's schools and classrooms to the Internet. The program continues to be a vital source of assistance in maintaining connectivity and enhancing learning.
  • Prior to the program's inception, only 3 percent of the nation's classrooms were connected to the Internet. Today, 92 percent of classrooms are connected. The Universal Service Administration Corporation (USAC), the entity that administers the E-Rate, estimates that 82 percent of public schools and 61 percent of public libraries receive E-Rate funds.
  • Despite the program's remarkable success, schools and libraries still have considerable technology gaps and a continuing need for E-Rate assistance. Each year, applications for E-Rate funds far exceed the amount available for disbursement.
  • For the 2004 funding year alone, the Federal Communications Commission received more than 39,000 applications totaling $4.3 billion in requests to help pay for telecommunications services and Internet services -- $2 billion more than available funding.
  • The E-Rate program has provided schools with $10.3 billion since its creation and annually provides $2.25 billion, making it the fourth-largest source of federal funding to schools -- behind Title I, IDEA, and Teacher Quality state grants.
  • In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission began subjecting the E-Rate program to accounting rules that effectively stopped the flow of funds to schools and libraries. At the end of 2004, 2005 and 2006, Congress passed one-year exemptions from these rules for the E-Rate program.

 

Read more about NEA positions on technology and education.

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