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Tips on Getting the Most Out of the Federal E-Rate 2.0 Program

The playing field between schools with a thriving technology and telecommunications infrastructure and those schools who struggle to provide access to their students looks to be leveled by the federal E-Rate 2.0 plan, however getting the most out of the program may take some planning.

“Schools and districts have the opportunity to take advantage of increased funding available through E-Rate — a federal program intended to ensure that K–12 schools and libraries, particularly those in low-income or rural areas, have affordable access to telecommunications and Internet services,” reports Wylie Wong, a regular contributor for EdTechMagazine.

In order to help schools looking to get the most out of the federal program Wong outlines a few ways for administrators to get ahead. One of the most important ways is by educating yourself about the program and recent changes to them.

“Changes to the program in 2014 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) increased funding from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion,” reports Wong.

“Schools and districts looking to take advantage of this increase should consider some best practices and tips when applying for E-Rate funding.”

Wong suggests that familiarizing yourself with the E-Rate Modernization Orders.

“There is no better way to understand the full scope and reasoning behind the FCC’s changes than to read the Modernization Orders, which are available on the website of the Universal Service Administrative Company, which manages the E-Rate program” says Mel Blackwell, vice president of USAC’s Schools and Libraries Division, according to Wong’s highlights.

Along with familiarizing yourself with the basics of each system, Wong urges administrators to “start early and avoid waiting until the last minute, plan for several years in the future and to use USAC’s free educational resources.”

In order for all schools to have a leveled playing field and giving all students the same technological tools towards a better future, administrators would find it beneficial to familiarize themselves with the FCC’s E-Rate 2.0 program.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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