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Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund (E-Rate)

Process  |  Technology Plans  |  Endorsement/Certification Form  |  Discount Levels  |  Quick Links


E-Rate is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and provides discounts to assist most schools and libraries in the United States to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Funding is requested under four categories of service: telecommunications services, Internet access, internal connections, and basic maintenance of internal connections. It is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services.

Library Eligibility


Technology Plans

The application process for Schools and Libraries begins with a technology assessment and a technology plan.* A technology plan designed to improve education or library services should cover the entire funding year (July 1 to June 30) but not more than three years. The plan must contain the following five elements:

Goals and realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology

A professional development strategy

An assessment of telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services needed

Budget resources, including sufficient budget to acquire and support the non-discount elements of the plan: the hardware, software, professional development, and other services that will be needed to implement the strategy.

Ongoing evaluation process

*Applicants that seek E-Rate support for only basic telephone service do not need a technology plan.


A USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver must endorse the technology plan before discounted services can begin. In Illinois, plans are reviewed and certified by Regional Library System staff prior to review and certification by the Illinois State Library. Libraries should send technology plans to the Illinois State Library with a completed Certification Form.

Discount Levels

Applicants use the discount matrix to determine the correct discount level for an individual school or library outlet.

Measured by % of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program Discount Discount
If the % of students in your school that qualifies for the National School Lunch Program is... ...and you are in an URBAN area, your discount will be... ...and you are in an RURAL area, your discount will be...
Less than 1% 20% 20%
1% to 19% 40% 40%
20% to 34% 50% 50%
35% to 49% 60% 60%
50% to 74% 80% 80%
75% to 100% 90% 90%

Quick Links


If you have any questions about technology plans and E-rate, please contact your library system E-rate consultant or call the State Library at 217-782-0974.